17 Days to St. Joe: Surprise Cuts?

Chiefs fans around the country have just started their countdown to training camp, but surprise releases have already begun. And with only 53 roster spots available, more are soon to come. But who will be the biggest surprise cut coming out of camp? There may be more than one.

The Chiefs begun trimming the fat when they opted to relinquish their rights to long time fan favorite Kolby Smith. The former fifth round pick has been hampered with injuries the past two seasons, but seemed poised for a comeback when he showed up healthy to OTAs and mini-camp.

Despite Smith's health, the Chiefs have a solid 1-2 punch in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, plus a young crop of promising backs (Jackie Battle and Kestahn Moore). This ultimately led to Smith's departure from Kansas City to Denver.

But of the Chiefs currently holding roster spots heading into training camp, two starters stick out as possible candidates for release.

After being acquired as a bonus in the Matt Cassel trade, Mike Vrabel has been an overall disappointment. Vrabel is a former Pro Bowler, but is entering his 14th season in the NFL and has begun showing signs of aging.

Vrabel's expertise probably kept him a job last season as the Chiefs knew little about their young crop of linebackers. But Andy Studebaker and Pierre Walters showcased their skills late last season while filling in for the injured Vrabel. And adding fifth round pass rush specialist Cameron Sheffield in the draft only makes it tougher to make a case for Vrabel finding a spot on the 53 man roster.

A slow start or injury to either Studebaker or Walters could encourage the Chiefs to retain Vrabel. But even then, I see the Chiefs scouring free agency to fill the gap.

Another candidate for release that will surprise some would be DT Ron Edwards.

Over the past two seasons, the Chiefs have hinted at wanting an improvement in the middle of the D-line, while flirting with high-dollar free-agents like Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson. In not pulling the trigger on either, the Chiefs are showing confidence in some of their young talent.

Through OTAs the Chiefs have mixed it up quit a bit, giving newly acquired Shaun Smith, Derek Lokey, and Edwards reps with the first-team defense. The Chiefs are also high on second year player Dion Gales and URFA Garrett Brown, both of whom will get a long hard look at camp.

For months, rumors have been swirling that the Chiefs are toying with the idea of moving Dorsey inside the line or even using him with a high-bred form of the 4-3 mixed into the 3-4, but so far it has yet to happen. Either way, new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will have some talented bodies to play with.

The Chiefs will wait and see how these young players react once they hit the field, so don't expect any major cuts until after the first week. However, if the Chiefs want to find out if these young guys can play, they won't find out with them riding the pine. If either Vrabel or Edwards are starting come the September 13th opener, it will be a very bad sign that this rebuilding process is not going as planned.

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\r\nThe Chiefs begun trimming the fat when they opted to relinquish their rights to long time fan favorite Kolby Smith. The former fifth round pick has been hampered with injuries the past two seasons, but seemed poised for a comeback when he showed up healthy to OTAs and mini-camp.\r\n\r\n

Despite Smith's health, the Chiefs have a solid 1-2 punch in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, plus a young crop of promising backs (Jackie Battle and Kestahn Moore). This ultimately led to Smith's departure from Kansas City to Denver.\r\n\r\n

But of the Chiefs currently holding roster spots heading into training camp, two starters stick out as possible candidates for release. \r\n\r\n

After being acquired as a bonus in the Matt Cassel trade, Mike Vrabel has been an overall disappointment. Vrabel is a former Pro Bowler, but is entering his 14th season in the NFL and has begun showing signs of aging.\r\n\r\n

Vrabel's expertise probably kept him a job last season as the Chiefs knew little about their young crop of linebackers. But Andy Studebaker and Pierre Walters showcased their skills late last season while filling in for the injured Vrabel. And adding fifth round pass rush specialist Cameron Sheffield in the draft only makes it tougher to make a case for Vrabel finding a spot on the 53 man roster. \r\n\r\n

A slow start or injury to either Studebaker or Walters could encourage the Chiefs to retain Vrabel. But even then, I see the Chiefs scouring free agency to fill the gap. \r\n\r\n

Another candidate for release that will surprise some would be DT Ron Edwards. \r\n\r\n

Over the past two seasons, the Chiefs have hinted at wanting an improvement in the middle of the D-line, while flirting with high-dollar free-agents like Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson. In not pulling the trigger on either, the Chiefs are showing confidence in some of their young talent. \r\n\r\n

Through OTAs the Chiefs have mixed it up quit a bit, giving newly acquired Shaun Smith, Derek Lokey, and Edwards reps with the first-team defense. The Chiefs are also high on second year player Dion Gales and URFA Garrett Brown, both of whom will get a long hard look at camp. \r\n\r\n

For months, rumors have been swirling that the Chiefs are toying with the idea of moving Dorsey inside the line or even using him with a high-bred form of the 4-3 mixed into the 3-4, but so far it has yet to happen. Either way, new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will have some talented bodies to play with.\r\n\r\n

The Chiefs will wait and see how these young players react once they hit the field, so don't expect any major cuts until after the first week. However, if the Chiefs want to find out if these young guys can play, they won't find out with them riding the pine. If either Vrabel or Edwards are starting come the September 13th opener, it will be a very bad sign that this rebuilding process is not going as planned. \r\n","mobileBody":" The Chiefs begun trimming the fat when they opted to relinquish their rights to long time fan favorite Kolby Smith. The former fifth round pick has been hampered with injuries the past two seasons, but seemed poised for a comeback when he showed up healthy to OTAs and mini-camp. Despite Smith's health, the Chiefs have a solid 1-2 punch in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, plus a young crop of promising backs (Jackie Battle and Kestahn Moore). This ultimately led to Smith's departure from Kansas City to Denver. But of the Chiefs currently holding roster spots heading into training camp, two starters stick out as possible candidates for release. After being acquired as a bonus in the Matt Cassel trade, Mike Vrabel has been an overall disappointment. Vrabel is a former Pro Bowler, but is entering his 14th season in the NFL and has begun showing signs of aging. Vrabel's expertise probably kept him a job last season as the Chiefs knew little about their young crop of linebackers. But Andy Studebaker and Pierre Walters showcased their skills late last season while filling in for the injured Vrabel. And adding fifth round pass rush specialist Cameron Sheffield in the draft only makes it tougher to make a case for Vrabel finding a spot on the 53 man roster. A slow start or injury to either Studebaker or Walters could encourage the Chiefs to retain Vrabel. But even then, I see the Chiefs scouring free agency to fill the gap. Another candidate for release that will surprise some would be DT Ron Edwards. Over the past two seasons, the Chiefs have hinted at wanting an improvement in the middle of the D-line, while flirting with high-dollar free-agents like Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson. In not pulling the trigger on either, the Chiefs are showing confidence in some of their young talent. Through OTAs the Chiefs have mixed it up quit a bit, giving newly acquired Shaun Smith, Derek Lokey, and Edwards reps with the first-team defense. The Chiefs are also high on second year player Dion Gales and URFA Garrett Brown, both of whom will get a long hard look at camp. For months, rumors have been swirling that the Chiefs are toying with the idea of moving Dorsey inside the line or even using him with a high-bred form of the 4-3 mixed into the 3-4, but so far it has yet to happen. Either way, new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will have some talented bodies to play with. The Chiefs will wait and see how these young players react once they hit the field, so don't expect any major cuts until after the first week. However, if the Chiefs want to find out if these young guys can play, they won't find out with them riding the pine. If either Vrabel or Edwards are starting come the September 13th opener, it will be a very bad sign that this rebuilding process is not going as planned. 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