Despite the wild and wonderful early opinions of Chiefs’ fans in online fan forums, it is still far too early in the offseason to start naming (most) names and where they will end up. It’s interesting to see some of the names that these fans throw about even though we haven’t seen the NFL combine or the beginning of the cuts that will happen this offseason. We don’t even have 32 head coaches in the NFL.
I will go as far as to guarantee you a few things in this piece. I am so sure of some of these things that if they do not come true I will do the following: (A) post a picture of me (B) wearing a “dunce hat” (C) with an “I love the Broncos” sign on it and (D) put this picture on my own website for one week so everyone knows the truth.
We will get to the guarantees shortly, but first there is some brief speculation for me to offer to those who care. What can we determine about the Chiefs this spring and summer?
The general feeling is that the Chiefs will shop for defensive players this offseason. I agree with this based not on the fact that the Chiefs defense has been abysmal (despite the progress against the running game), but rather because of who the people doing the shopping are. Carl Peterson and Herman Edwards are going to be looking for some way to get some fire into the defense.
For those of you who don’t know why this would be, please allow me to lay it out for you. Carl Peterson had the opportunity to hire the man behind the offensive magic of the Dicky V. era as the new Chiefs head coach. Al Saunders had been the obvious pick for the position for years. However, this offensive magic did not translate into Super Bowl magic (or even playoff magic for that matter, which must come before Super Bowl magic). Herman Edwards, a known “defensive” coach, was hired instead of Saunders. Through this move and the fact that Carl Peterson has just about said it out loud, we can decipher the fact that if the Chiefs make any major waves in the offseason, it will be on the defensive side.
The next bit of speculation is that the focus of defensive modification will be on the front four. I agree with the fans who take this position. I have been an Eric Hicks fan from the last time Gunther Cunningham was here until now, but I think his time as a starting lineman is coming to an end. I hesitate to call Ryan Sims a bust, but friends – it’s been four long years. You can say that he was showing flashes in the season opener this year, but I think many people were blinded by a few people’s enthusiasm. How much did he partake in that first game, the game in which he was about to “break out”? He didn’t even get in a full series. I’ve seen Junior Siavii put in a single-series effort as impressive as the series these Sims fans are talking about. Jared Allen is the only member of the line that is a sure-shot as a starter in 2006.
The starting offense will go relatively untouched. There will be some movement in the two’s and three’s in the depth chart as the Chiefs pick up some young, trainable talent, but the only major change from last year will be the already announced change at running back. I even expect, though I don’t guarantee, that Sammie Parker and Fast Eddie will be the two starting wideouts this year with some challengers for the slot position.
Now we get to the exciting part – the guarantees. I have taken a look at several people’s speculation and will now tell you what is possible, what is not possible, and what is absolutely absurd. I guarantee the following:
1) Sam Madison will not rejoin former teammate Patrick Surtain in the Chiefs defensive backfield. Even if some of you don’t like Eric Warfield, for personal or football reasons, he is the number two cornerback. Gunther had him placed in the depth chart as the Chiefs number one cornerback just two seasons ago. Warfield played well this season despite the fact he lost the battle now and then, and because of this we will not see anyone that is not already on the team at the number two spot (barring injury, of course).
2) Following in the same vein, Ty Law will not be in Red and Gold unless he signs a contract within 200k of the vet minimum. I can not rule out the possibility that Law could follow through and find his way back to Herman Edwards. I just don’t think it will happen if he won’t accept a contract near the vet minimum.
3) The Chiefs will not draft a cornerback on the first day of the draft. I’ve read comments from several fans thinking that the Chiefs will automatically go for corner depth in this draft. This concept is also popular with some of the mock draft “pros”. It just won’t happen.
4) Greg Wesley will be in a Chiefs uniform next year. It seems to be the general consensus that he will be a cap casualty or that he is not fast enough to play free safety. I am not blinded by his three interception game. I was impressed with his play all season long.
5) Kendrell Bell will be back next season. Bell, Mitchell, and Johnson will be the starting linebackers in ’06. In fact, Bell will emerge as a great player for the Chiefs. I know many of you are moaning and waiting patiently now for my dunce-cap video, but I will have the last laugh.
6) The Chiefs will not sign Brandon Lloyd. I’ve had enough of this rumor. He is a restricted free agent. The Chiefs will not give up a future draft choice for a mediocre receiver.
There you have it folks, my speculations and my guarantees. This is the best I can do with the little knowledge we have gathered this offseason. I’ll be back for more punishment as the offseason progresses. And don’t look forward to the dunce hat – it’s not going to happen.