Fox Sports puts up a story that chews on the three pressing issues that are certain to take center stage at River Falls.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Give the article a click to read their reasoning, but it argues that the three wrinkles the Chiefs plan to iron out involve:
1. Settling the QB dispute. 2. Grooming a backup RB in the event LJ falls (or, at this point, is traded). 3. Settle who's playing strong safety once and for all -- Greg Wesley or Bernard Pollard.
I don't think any serious Chiefs fan doubts Issue #1. #2 is also key but I don't think it's one of the major issues pressing this team. But issue #3 is transparently silly.
Clearly this is a team transitioning towards youth, and the QB position seems to be at the forefront of that struggle. Can promising youth win the opportunity to develop over a tested, experienced vet? Every single word that Herm has said this offseason suggests that it should, but let's watch "Hard Knocks" to find out.
As far as RB is concerned, however, the only real questions looming are on the FB side of the backfield rather than the RB side. There might be a slight question as to whether Kolby Smith can challenge Michael Bennett for change-of-pace back duties, and there's certainly the issue of whether NFL Europe MVP Derrick Ross can make the squad after an impotent showing for the Chiefs in 2006.
But FB is certainly the more pressing question. Does Kris Wilson's versatility continue to establish him as the front-runner for the position? Does Boomer Grigsby's transfer to the position enable him to make the team? Might Kolby Smith prove to be the second coming of Kimble Anders? Can either Chris Harris or Greg Hanoian, both of them true FBs rather than converts from other positions, knock any of these guys out of the stable?
All questions, all looming, all uncertain. All of them more interesting than the nuts and bolts conversations the Chiefs will have about their RB situation -- unless, of course, LJ is traded...
The third question, well, there's really not much smoke coming out of that chimney. Every ounce of buzz that's come from Arrowhead Stadium suggests that Page & Pollard will be the team's starting safeties come September. Greg Wesley, a six-year Chiefs vet, has simply never played up to his physical abilities and has been involved in more trade rumors this offseason than any Chief this side of Trent Green.
What questions do legitimately loom, outside of the FB struggle and the epic QB showdown?
Can the OL be decided soon enough and gel fast enough? There's only slight suspense about who will start on this year's offensive line. McIntosh has a firm grip on LT, Waters on LG, Wiegmann on C, and Welbourn at RG. RT is all that's floating in the air at the moment, and all signs point to Chris Terry clamping it down over Will Svitek and Kevin Sampson. The question that follows then... can this unit gel fast enough? Offensive line relies on chemistry more than any unit on the field, and the injuries and rotations at RT last year hobbled them. Hopefully this squad can get settled and stay healthy.
Who will start at defensive tackle? The biggest free-for-all is in the spots lining up between Jared Allen and Tamba Hali on the defensive line. There are five or six guys legitimately vying for two starting spots. Can either incumbent from last year's squad, Reed or Edwards, be unseated? Is Alphonso Boone the real deal, or was he a backup in Chicago for a reason? Will Tank or Turk make a serious run for a starting position? Does Jimmy Wilkerson have a shot? I made my predictions in my depth chart post, but River Falls should finally sort them out.
How will the young unprovens at WR pan out? Outside of Eddie Kennison, this squad is greener than Kermit the Frog. Samie Parker's got a couple years in him, sure, but he'll struggle to make the team. The other vet, Rod Gardner, shouldn't even be a factor. Instead, we've got 2007 1st rounder Dwayne Bowe, 2006 6th rounder Jeff Webb, 2006 UDFA Chris Hannon, and 2007 UDFAs Ean Randolph and Brad Eckwerekwu. They're all promising young athletes, but only Webb has game-time experience.
River Falls will once again drop its fair share of surprises, but there are almost no sure things at all with the above situations.