May 24, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel watches drills during organized team activities at the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
The Kansas City Chiefs open mandatory minicamp today which continues through Thursday. We'll be hearing from Romeo Crennel and various Chiefs players every day during minicamp.
I rounded up a few of the things I'm looking forward to this week.
Perfect attendance is possible
If not likely. The only notable player who could be missing this week is Dwayne Bowe but he's not under contract so this isn't mandatory for him. The Chiefs have had near perfect attendance throughout the offseason program and they'll likely be perfect again this week.
Which QB is running the second team?
Your options are Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi. They've been splitting reps throughout the offseason with Romeo Crennel at one point indicating Quinn was ahead of Stanzi. It's still early in the year for position battles and, even though this is just the backup, it's an important competition. Matt Cassel is good for one missed game a year and the Chiefs probably can't afford to drop a game due to the quarterback getting hurt.
The Chiefs should want Stanzi to win this battle because he's the younger who still has the potential factor. But ultimately I think Quinn will win out and become the primary backup. That's my official guess as of right now.
The annual Dexter McCluster position question
He was back to receiver for most of the offseason although there's a thought he could be playing multiple positions this season. McCluster may move all over the place so perhaps this doesn't matter but I do want to see where he takes the majority of his snaps in minicamp.
Checking in on Jonathan Baldwin's progress
Baldwin is among a handful of players who should be helped the most by this offseason. He missed the 2011 offseason due to the NFL lockout so this is his first true offseason, as it is for the rest of the second-year players.
Baldwin has had a solid offseason, according to reports out of One Arrowhead Drive. Keeping that momentum and ending on a positive note before a six-week break is important.
Does Ryan Lilja still have it?
One of the most intriguing position battles is Lilja and rookie Jeff Allen. Considering past history, Lilja should make the team and start for the Chiefs this year. But there's always the possibility that he's cut because Allen is ready to play now. Doing that would eliminate some of the depth on the interior offensive line but it's not out of the question.
The battle at inside linebacker
The Chiefs have three of their four linebacker spots set with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston on the outside and Derrick Johnson on the inside. The other inside linebacker spot has belonged to Jovan Belcher the last two seasons but he'll see competition this year in the form of Brandon Siler, among others.
This question won't be answered during this week's mandatory minicamp because of injuries but it's one we should start focusing on. I'd still predict Belcher is the starter but that's mostly because we have no idea what Siler can do at this point.
The first offseason and the second offseason
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli made a good point on 810 WHB's The Program the other day. This is the first offseason for the second year players who were drafted during the NFL lockout last year. That's important but what's also important (and forgotten) is that this also affects the 2010 draft class. They missed the all-important second year of development when the lockout knocked out their offseason. Not only is it important for the 2011 and 2012 rookies, both of whom are in the middle of their first offseason program, but also for the 2010 draft class who hasn't seen an offseason program in two years.
Which undrafted players can stick?
Every year the Chiefs will sign anywhere from 10 to 20 undrafted free agents and every year one or two of those guys will make the team. We haven't seen enough of these UDFAs to make a determination on which ones have a shot at sticking -- training camp is the best time for that -- but during mandatory minicamp we want to keep an eye on where the UDFAs are getting their reps.