Finally, footballs are about to fly at Arrowhead once more. Many of the NFL’s 32 teams have already begun their slate of organized team activities (OTAs) for 2010, but on Monday the Chiefs will join the party with their first practice session of the off-season.
Kansas City is currently scheduled to hit the field for 14 OTAs over the next month, highlighted by a three-day mini-camp June 11th-13th. The five practices scheduled over mini-camp weekend will bring Kansas City’s off-season practice count to a total of 21 sessions. The final day of OTAs is slated for Tuesday, June 14th.
Short and sweet, there are a lot of positional battles about to be had. This year’s set of OTAs are only a precursor to what promises to be a very competitive training camp. Here are 10 things that I’m going to be keeping my eye on during OTAs…
1) 15 Defensive Backs – Everyone seems to want to focus their efforts on what the addition of
Right now, the only player who is seemingly planted in his role from a year ago is
2) The Tight Ends – If there was ever a position group that had true “open competition” from top to bottom, this would be it. Four players currently make up the tight end roster, with the oldest being just 26 years old (
Pope’s large frame can help tackles solidify the edge,
Not so fast.
McCluster and Urban are very different players, who could both conceivably man the third wide receiver position as game situations dictate. Kansas City was missing a true possession receiver last year and that’s one of the reasons you’d have to believe Urban was targeted this off-season. I’d go as far as saying that it’s risky to pigeon hole Urban into any reserve role at this time. It’s time to sit back and see what position (or positions) this guy runs after.
4) Dex – It’s no secret that second round pick Dexter McCluster will be all over the field in OTAs. He practiced with both the running backs and wide receivers during rookie camp and fielded both kickoffs and punts as well. He’ll likely continue to do those types of things in OTAs, but the thing I’m keying on is whether he seems to favor (or look more comfortable) at one particular position more than another.
5) Washington – Refer to OTA watching point #1 when it comes to
Washington’s head coach mentioned him a few weeks back as a guy who has been impressive in his progress this off-season. What does that mean for the former Ohio State cornerback who was drafted as a cornerback, but also practiced at safety during the final weeks of 2009?
6) Local Boy – Nope, not
7) Run and Hit – Todd Haley likes guys who can run and hit. Essentially, that’s what helped secure roster spots for rookie free agent linebackers
For Walters, the next step could be as simple as finding his way into defensive sub-packages as well as on each of the coverage units, while Belcher and Studebaker would love to push for more extensive roles after their 2009 performances as reserve players. The next step for each of these players begins on Monday.
8) Putt & The Nose – At some point, it’s likely that
After the departure of Tank Tyler last season, Edwards worked overtime; he was typically a 15-25 snap player in 2008. Veteran
At first glance, Kansas City may not have the depth at end to move Dorsey towards the interior for significant snaps, but his name has come up on more than one occasion over the past nine months regarding his ability to play multiple positions along the defensive front. I’m just keeping my eye out to see if he takes any reps inside (in any capacity) this spring.
9) D.J. – The Chiefs made the decision to hold on to
10) Gilberry to OLB? – Here’s one that hasn’t been addressed in any way, shape or form by the Chiefs coaching staff or front office, but it’s certainly been a talking point amongst fans on kcchiefs.com this past winter.
It’s easy to see why fan interest would peak involving Gilberry’s primary position. On one hand, Gilberry is often viewed as undersized for a defensive end. His 6’2, 268-pound frame certainly fits in with the outside linebacking crew, but on the other hand he was a key contributor off the bench at defensive end and led all Chiefs defensive linemen in sacks a year ago.
Do the Chiefs have enough depth at defensive end to try Gilberry at outside linebacker? Is it all a pipe dream? Should the drafting of
We’ll probably find out this spring.