Dontari Poe Has 'A Ways To Go', Chiefs Coach Says

July 27, 2012; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Donatari Poe (92) leaves the field after training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

I've been noticing something lately. The difference between what the Kansas City Chiefs said about first round draft pick Dontari Poe last April and what they're saying now. Maybe April's words were the result of the excitement of draft week but now it's as if, before he even plays a game, the Chiefs are trying to reel in the expectations for him.

Here's an exchange between 610 Sports' Jay Binkley and Crennel yesterday:

Binkley: Has Dontari Poe met your expectations thus far going into camp?

Crennel: "My rookie expectations, yes."

Binkley: What does he need to work on the most?

Crennel: "A lot. He needs to work on technique; he needs to work on understanding the system. He needs to get the calls correct all the time. He's got a ways to go."

He hasn't even played a game yet so this isn't freak-out time or anything like that. I know the first reaction in the comments will be "He hasn't even played a game yet!" Just curious about the development of the Chiefs first round pick.

So it this a motivation thing, hoping Poe reads this in the media? Or is this legit, Poe really does need a lot more time?

I never would've figured Poe to be a three-down player in his rookie year if the Chiefs hadn't said on draft day that Poe is a three-down player. We know defensive tackles take longer to develop. That's a point I made on draft day, hours after the pick was made. I had trouble reconciling some of what Crennel said back then to what kind of player Poe was. I also wondered how often the Chiefs would have any nose tackle on the field.

So the idea that Poe may take a while isn't a new one -- but Crennel is starting to, as Adam Teicher put it today, "downplay expectations" for the Chiefs rookie.

The KC Star's Kent Babb shared some thoughts about this very topic on Twitter last night, and says he plans to write about it in the future. Very interesting stuff.

Yesterday on 610 Sports, I was talking with Danny Parkins who figured Poe would see a lot of playing time on Friday night at Arrowhead for the preseason opener. I didn't see it that way. I said the Chiefs will probably bring him along slowly, perhaps playing him for only a couple of series' against the Arizona Cardinals.

About 36 hours away from seeing the Chiefs take the field...

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