Get To Know The Chiefs
2. Position battles are a pretty big deal right now. Give us some battles to watch out for during the game.
They Chiefs actually have a pretty solid group of starters. It looked like Jovan Belcher and Brandon Siler would battle at MLB but Siler tore his achilles and landed on IR this week. Jared Gaither was supposed to battle Barry Richardson at RT but he hasn’t really gotten on the field yet due to injury.
The only battles I see are at WR and LB. Andy Studebaker will likely start the season opposite Tamba Hali at OLB but if Justin Houston keeps getting sacks and strips it is going to be hard to keep him off the field.
At WR, Baldwin’s injury is giving some of the backup WR’s a shot at the #2 receiving spot. Jerheme Urban has it right now but he hasn’t done much in the preseason. Verran Tucker, an undrafed WR out of Cal looks impressive in his second year with the team. Tonight’s game is especially critical for him. If Tucker has another big game, he could start the season opposite Dwayne Bowe.
3. I have always been a Matt Cassel fan, but where exactly is he in his career right now? Would you consider him one of the better QBs in the league, or is he more of a middle-of-the-pack guy?
I think he is middle of the pack right now. In some areas, like taking care of the football, he is above average. He is efficient and usually makes the right decisions. What he lacks is the ability to deal with pressure and handle the league’s tougher defenses. He also still has spotty accuracy on his deep passes. This is the season for Cassel to take the next step. He is tough player who probably works as hard as any QB in the league. Now he needs to learn to start dealing with the league’s elite defenses. With games against the Jets and Steelers this season, he’ll get his shot.
4. What are some of the major storylines from Chiefs camp? I think I saw a report about Jon Baldwin and Thomas Jones getting in a fight, so is that a big deal? Are there any other juicy pieces of news going on in KC?
Not really. The fight is the big news. It really sucks because it is going to set Baldwin back even farther than the lockout already did. Obviously it is troubling to have teammates going at it. Hopefully he can get back and make an impact.
The big news is really whether or not the team can repeat as AFC West champions. The team has a tough schedule this year so it will be fun to watch and see if this team can step up and handle it.
5. This one is more for me, but I have a bit of a family connection to LB Andy Studebaker (or more precisely, his wife) so I was just looking for an update on him. How has he looked so far in camp and what will his role be on the team?
Studebaker has a ridiculous motor and the reports on him coming out of camp have all been positive. He has spent two years learning from Mike Vrabel and the Chiefs have eased him into a starting role. I love the kid but I wonder about his playmaking ability. Can he get to the QB on a consistent basis? How is he in coverage?
I wonder if he will be able to hold off Justin Houston. Houston is probably more athletic but he lacks experience. The Chiefs will probably use the rookie as a sub-pass rusher this season. If Studebaker can blossom into a start this season he should be alright. If not, I could see him getting moved into more of a reserve roll to make way for Houston.
That being said, the Chiefs use a lot of different personnel groups. There is no reason to believe that both Studebaker and Houston can’t make an impact for years to come.