From the FanPosts. No one loves talking roster battles as much as stagdsp. -Joel
Here we sit, halfway through the preseason games, with obviously mixed results from those games.
We're all trying to decipher whether we can REALLY tell much about where this Kansas City Chiefs team is based on a couple preseason games and some training camp reports.
From where I sit, there are about six roster spots up for grabs, with about 17 players in the running for those spots. I also believe we can get a general consensus on the rising/falling stock of some players and groups below...
The position battles are:
- No. 1 FB: Bannon vs Eachus vs Just using a TE (O'Connell?)
- No. 6 WR: Terrance Copper vs Josh Bellamy
- No. 4/5 DE: Amon Gordon vs Ropati Pitoitua vs Brandon Bair vs Jerome Long
- No. 9 LB: Leon Williams vs Gabe Miller vs Edgar Jones vs Caleb Campbell
- No. 10 DB: Donald Washington vs Jacques Reeves
- No. 8 OL: David Mims vs carrying seven offensive linemen
- No. 3 NT: Jerrell Powe or nobody
From what I've seen in the offseason and preseason, here is my Chiefs stock report:
Rising: Matt Cassel
As BJ Kissel has pointed out on about 40 occasions, Cassel's preseason numbers are the best in the AFC West so far. I think the "eye test" is even more telling, as Cassel appears to have full command of the offense, changing plays, and executing. This is HUGE for the Chiefs this year, and could lead to great things if he can carry this performance over to the regular season.
Falling: The dream of the Stanzi City Chiefs
I'm not ready to write him off completely, but he sure hasn't taken the proverbial "bull by the horns". He's "winning" the 3rd string job right now, and it's not really that close. Quinn has looked solid, but not spectacular... in short, he looks like a backup QB. Stanzi is looking like a rookie who was properly valued in the 5th round.
Rising: First team offensive line
There have been a couple of lapses... but not many. This appears to be a group of talented young linemen that are working well together, and opening up good running lanes. Pass protection has been above average as well. A lot to be excited about here, especially the play of Rodney Hudson.
Falling: The second and third team offensive line
After the Arizona game, I would have given this group a "Rising"... but they really didn't give Stanzi much of a chance on Saturday in St Louis. I was unimpressed by Mims, Luke Patterson, Rob Bruggeman, Donald Stephenson and company. Jeff Allen was the best of the group, but overall it wasn't pretty for Stanzi or Shaun Draughn.
This leads to a reasonable concern about the depth of the offensive line going into the season. Does KC feel comfortable carrying only Allen and Stephenson on the active roster? Or, do they keep Mims? Does that even help? Certainly some questions left to be answered this preseason.
Falling: Shane Bannon (and maybe the fullback position)
I've said it before, the Chiefs REALLY want Bannon to step up, make the roster, and be the starting fullback. Finally, against St. Louis, I got to watch him on the field, and I really focused on what he was doing. Before I lost interest, I saw him have the opportunity to make five blocks.
One pass block: Cassel got sacked by his guy.
Four run blocks: Bannon didn't do anything better than get in the way. Maybe I was biased, but I really wanted to see a fullback blow someone up... I didn't see it. I'm now wondering if they carry a fullback at all (Romeo already said they didn't HAVE to) or if a guy like Jake O'Connell makes the roster and fills in at fullback as needed... or do they finally grab a starting-caliber fullback in roster cuts?
Both players have shown they can get into the offensive backfield... and both have concurrently shown why that's not always a good thing. Poe had at least two quarterback pressures against Arizona that turned into big gains when the play went right by him. Powe had at least two tackles for loss that he nearly made, which turned into big gains on the ground when the running back went right through the hole he vacated. I think both have shown enough promise, athletic ability and improvement to keep three nose tackles on the roster, and it really will be better depth than this team has had in YEARS... but both have a ways to go before doing it "Romeo's way" like Anthony Toribio is doing.
Falling: Pass defense
I think this team is fully capable of pass coverage with the best of them, and they are on their way to being a great pass rushing team BUT, with injuries to Kendrick Lewis, Brandon Flowers and Cameron Sheffield, Hali's unfortunate suspension AND Matt Ryan/Julio Jones/Roddy White/Tony Gonzalez coming to town... I'm officially worried about the defense in Week 1. Even with the healthy first and secnod team out there, they have shown some issues in coverage. Eric Berry, Javier Arenas, Jovan Belcher, Reeves and others have struggled at times, especially when the quarterback gets the ball out quick and the pass rush isn't there.
Rising: KC's Running Offense.
The Delorean is set to 2010, and the flux capacitor appears to be operational. Charles and Peyton Hillis are likely to BOTH have 1,000 yard seasons. Cyrus Gray and Draughn have played their way onto the roster and represent the one of (if not THE) deepest and most talented backfields in the league. Throw in the occasional Dexter McCluster rush (which I believe will happen) and the return of the well-executed screen play... and this team is going to be dangerous on the ground. Not to mention the upgrades in run blocking with Eric Winston, Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki. Anything less than leading the NFL in rushing would be a surprise for me at this point.