It’s about that time. Training camp is in the air and both fans and players are getting anxious. Especially those around the Kansas City area who are hoping that this young team can take the next step to stardom.
You will be hard pressed to find a team with more individual talent than the Kansas City Chiefs in the upcoming season, they boast players like Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, and Derrick Johnson.
All of those players will be considered top 10 players at their positions and for Charles and Houston they will make arguments to be the best.
To flip the coin, you will also be hard pressed to find a team with more question marks than the Chiefs coming into this season, for as much talent as they have, they have just as many question marks.
Here are three positional battles that all fans should keep an eye on throughout training camp due to their importance and different options at the position.
Backup quarterback: The options here go as following, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray, and Aaron Murray.
The backup quarterback position has been firmly in Chase Daniel’s hands, but that might be subject to change in this training camp. The Chiefs have a few different options at the backup spot: keep Daniel, who when given the opportunity has looked like a very suitable backup, or move on to their young guns.
The Chiefs are in between a rock and a hard place with their decision here: keep four quarterbacks on the roster or cut one of them. Alex Smith is the only guy guaranteed his spot right now.
Chase Daniel: Daniel when called upon has looked very suitable and is a strong backup for any team to have. His problem is mother time, with two promising youngsters behind him time and age are not his friend, this may lead to him being the odd man out.
Tyler Bray: The mystery man. Bray came in as about raw as they come, extremely immature and not NFL ready, but his arm says differently. Bray can sling the ball like Stafford or Cutler and has solid mobility. This guy has all of the NFL tools you need physically, its mentally where Bray is behind.
If Bray can continue to mature and develop, you just might be looking at the future of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chiefs will not be letting this guy get away anytime soon, barring any off the field trouble that is.
Aaron Murray: Murray is coming off of a torn ACL, but the reports out of Chiefs camp are that they are extremely pleased with how he has looked physically. Murray has been wearing a knee brace but the reports so far are that he has looked comfortable in it and has not had any setbacks.
Murray will come in as the 4th QB right away and the one with the biggest uphill battle, Smith is the forgone starter, Daniel has solidified himself has a good backup, and Bray has all the promise in the world.
Look for Murray to compete hard and 1 of 3 things to happen.
1. Andy Reid will feel comfortable keeping 4 quarterbacks on the roster like the Patriots did some time ago
2. Murray plays well, but gets designated to the practice squad for the year making it Smith, Daniel, and Bray.
3. Murray having age and promise on his side shows enough for the Chiefs to release Daniel, making it a two-way fight between Murray and Bray for the backup spot.
Tight End: The Chiefs have gone through quite the carousel of tight end’s ever since the great Tony G left. This isn’t to say they haven’t had guys come in and play well, it’s just they have always seemed to get hurt as quickly as they came in.
The two guys that will be competing for the job look to be Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce.
Fasano is a solid number one guy but nothing spectacular. You know what you are going to get from him and he is going to deliver it. Turning 30 also does him no favors, much like Chase Daniel, the clock is not on his side as he has a younger guy creeping up behind him.
Travis Kelce gives Chiefs fans and especially Alex Smith tons to be excited for. Kelce can flat out play, built at 6-5 and 260, the guy is a monster. He can block, he can run, and he can catch, what can’t he do is the question.
Stay healthy- that is the answer. Last season Kelce tore up his knee and missed the entire season. If Kelce can get healthy and get on the field to develop chemistry with Smith do not be surprised to the two develop a lesser Peyton Manning to Julius Thomas connection.
Kicker: Yes that is correct, kicker. There have been numerous reports out of Chiefs camp that Cairo Santos has been impressing quite a bit so far. Ryan Succop has competition suddenly from the UDA from Tulane.
No one quite saw this coming from Santos but Succop has been a bit inconsistent from long range throughout his career. Succop has had a nice career so far with the Chiefs and looks to continue it, but the no name from Tulane has something to say about that.
If Santos continues to impress coaches with his big leg look for things to get hot headed into the preseason and possibly for the two to even split some time in the preseason. Adding a big leg to the special teams could provide a few more points here and there throughout the season, and in a game of inches like football is, maybe Santos can come in and make that 55-yard kick that Succop can’t.