Throughout the on-field portion of the Chiefs 2010 off-season program, Todd Haley mixed and matched various personnel groupings for first-team duties on both sides of the football. Some of 2010’s most anticipated position battles fit into the mix/match category. Inside linebacker, for example, was one of them.
To begin OTAs, Haley placed incumbent starters at inside linebacker, Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays, with the first team defense. Mid-way through OTAs, Jovan Belcher and Derrick Johnson served as the first-team linebacking tandem. From there, the four players rotated their way through first and second-team reps on a short-term basis that never lasted more than a few consecutive practices ,locked into one spot.
“This time of year the depth chart stuff is really not something I get caught up and we’re not caught up in it as a coaching staff – we’re moving guys around for a lot of different reasons,” Haley said when asked about the constant motion of the depth chart mid-way through OTAs.
He’d go on to say something similar on at least five more occasions.
While the Chiefs have yet to release any formal depth chart for training camp, and Haley has added that spring personnel groupings are largely based around trial-and-error, we can still take some things away from the OTA depth displayed this off-season. In some positions there was constant movement, while in other positions
Since the Chiefs OTAs were closed to the public, many of you only heard about the position groups that saw the most shifting. But what about the roster as a whole? How was the rotation handled at each of the 22 first-team positions? Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of how things broke down involving the rotation of first-team players.
Solid Footing – Little to no movement involving the first- team personnel
Left Tackle – Branden Albert held down the first-team duties here with very little rotation mixed in.
Left Guard – Pro Bowler Brian Waters commanded his familiar post throughout OTAs.
Right Guard – The Chiefs hope that UFA addition Ryan Lilja can stabilize an unstable position from a year ago. His presence with the first-team was unwavering during spring/summer practices.
Right Tackle – Every once in a while Barry Richardson or another Chief would get a quick look, but Ryan O’Callaghan held down first-team snaps far more than the majority of the time.
Wide Receivers – It doesn’t matter who you label “number one” or “number two,” the Chiefs just made sure that Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers were consistently running with the first team.
Quarterback – Matt Cassel took every first-team rep this off-season.
Defensive End s – A pair of top-five draft picks, Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey, saw very little rotation involving their first-team duties.
Outside Linebackers – In 2009, starters Tamba Hali and Mike Vrabel played nearly every defensive snap when healthy. In 2010’s OTAs, that trend continued.
Right Cornerback – Brandon Carr held down the fort and Haley had good things to say about it.
Tremors - When the first-team pieces move, it’s noteworthy
Tight End – Leonard Pope ended the 2009 season as the starter at the position and held on to that role for the majority of OTAs, but rookie Tony Moeaki came on late and saw first-team reps when he arrived.
Nose Tackle – Ron Edwards occupied the role of “big man in the middle” for most of the off-season, but it’s clear that personnel groupings at this position will be one to watch at training camp.
Earthquake – Take note, the pieces are moving early and often with the first-team
Fullback – Tim Castille and Mike Cox are dueling for the full-time gig and each is getting plenty of opportunity to show their stuff.
Center – Rudy Niswanger and Casey Wiegmann went back-and-forth sharing the first-team duties throughout OTAs.
Safeties – Though rookie Eric Berry didn’t receive much rotation out of first-team repetitions once he was embedded with the group, he did start OTAs repping with the reserves. Outside of Berry, Reshard Langford, Jon McGraw, DaJuan Morgan and Kendrick Lewis all saw first-team repetitions as well. What happens if Jarrad Page ends up getting added to the mix? Don’t forget that Donald Washington is making the transition to the back line as well.
Inside Linebackers – The four players mentioned earlier (Williams, Johnson, Mays and Belcher) are in a game of musical chairs. The competition should be a fun one to watch in St. Joseph (which, by the way, you’ll be able to see for yourself…FOR FREE!).
Incomplete - Not much movement on first-team, but not much of a sample size either
Running Back – First-team duties were held exclusively by unrestricted free agent signee Thomas Jones, but returning starter Jamaal Charles didn’t participate in any of the off-season practice sessions due as he continues to rehab a shoulder that nagged him last season.
Left Cornerback – With the exception of a few defensive series, versatile DB Maurice Leggett held down the first-team job. Of course, the projected starter at the position (Brandon Flowers) missed all of OTAs.