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Chiefs at Chargers
Sunday, January 1st
W - 37 to 27

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Noise At Last!

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After so many weeks of relative silence, things have sure gotten interesting at One Arrowhead Drive all of a sudden. In a period of three days, the Chiefs went on a free agent signing and college draft binge that cleared up many questions about where this team is headed. Prior to the draft, I felt that the team needed to address weaknesses at Quarterback, Running Back, Defensive Line (especially Tackle), Linebacker, Place Kicker, and overall Special Teams play in order to remain competitive. Let's take a look at how the team did:

At QB, the Chiefs replaced an old fogy backup (Warren Moon) with a slightly younger old fogy backup (Bubby Brister). They replaced an adequate starter (Elvis Grbac) with a potentially better-than-adequate starter (Trent Green). Todd Collins did such a good job holding on to the clipboard last year that the team is ready to let him do it again this year. Overall, the Chiefs probably upgraded themselves but Green remaining healthy is the key.

Signing Priest Holmes was a nice move but questions remain at RB. Other than Holmes, the only proven veteran is FB Tony Richardson. Mike Cloud has not shown that he can contribute. Dante Hall is too small to be anything other than a kick returner. Frank Moreau may develop into an effective goal line and short yardage specialist if he can hang on to the ball. The other roster candidates are a mixed bag, although fifth round draft pick Derrick Blaylock may end up being a good third down back. I expect that the team will try to add some veteran help after the June 1 round of cuts. Right now, it's a toss-up as to whether the team has improved itself at this position.

Competition will be fierce for jobs along the Defensive Line since there are 16 players contending for jobs. Three defensive line players were drafted to provide depth, but all of them will need time to develop. Hopefully, at least a couple of the newcomers will demonstrate the ability to stop the run. If not, it's going to be another long season. This is another wait-and-see position.

Little, if anything, has been done thus far to upgrade the situation at Linebacker. Marvcus Patton, Donnie Edwards, and Mike Maslowski are fine (although Patton is starting to slow down), but depth is a real concern. I cannot believe that the team would be satisfied to go to training camp with the players currently on board, so expect another veteran or two to be signed after June 1st.

I also cannot believe that the Chiefs are totally comfortable with Todd Peterson as the place kicker. He is not known for his ability to bang in the 50 yarders. He doesn't have the leg strength to reach the end zone with his kick-offs. His FG accuracy last season left a lot to be desired. The team needs to bring in a lot more competition for the job than just free agent rookie Lawrence Tynes.

Over all, the Special teams have been upgraded with the addition of P Dan Stryzinski and WR-KR Tony Horne. Recent roster additions WR Chris Thomas and FB Jermaine Williams have the reputation of being good kick coverage guys. If the team can keep Horne away from controlled substances and if they can find a reliable kick-off specialist, expect this area to be a strength.

If nothing else, this should be one of the more interesting training camps in Chiefs history.

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