10 Early Winners and Losers of the Kansas City Chiefs' Offseason

Farzin VousoughianContributor IIIJune 17, 2012

10 Early Winners and Losers of the Kansas City Chiefs' Offseason

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    This has been an interesting offseason for the Kansas City Chiefs. Chiefs fans can't help but be excited for some of the offseason acquisitions from free agency and the draft.

    Some players have made some big impressions while others lost a little bit of value and look to revamp in training camp.

    Which 10 members from the Chiefs are early winners and losers so far in the offseason? Check out the slideshow and let me know what you think.

Loser No. 1: G Jeff Allen

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    Second-round offensive guard Jeff Allen missed a little bit of time this offseason with the Chiefs.

    Allen observed part of OTAs while wearing a walking boot. The good part for Allen is that he seems to be Kansas City's top backup at offensive guard. If starting guards Jon Asamoah or Ryan Lilja go down with an injury as some point in the season, Allen might be able to play.

    For now, let's hope he goes into training camp ready to practice and live up to the second-round hype.

Winner No. 1: NT Dontari Poe

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    The reaction from Chiefs fans when they learned that Dontari Poe was selected was not a positive one. Especially when guard David DeCastro was on the board. But it seems like Poe was not such a bad pick and Chiefs fans are understanding why head coach and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel went with Poe.

    Poe, digging his way up with the No. 1 defense in OTAs, has impressed his coaches. The Chiefs have a lot of confidence in Poe and believe he can become an intimidating pass-rusher when he makes his NFL debut.

Loser. No 2: TE Martin Rucker

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    Injuries are part of the NFL. But nothing hurts more than to be placed on injured reserve before the season even begins.

    For Martin Rucker, his season is already over. The former Missouri Tiger was hoping to play for a team he would heard a lot about while prepping in Columbia, Mo. Unfortunately, that opportunity has been taken away from him after deciding to have surgery on his injured right knee.

    The chances of a player with his skill set returning in 2013 is very low. He will spend time watching the Chiefs this year, hoping to learn and get a chance next year.

Winner No. 2: TE Steve Maneri

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    Last season, Steve Maneri found some time at offensive tackle and tight end. This year, Maneri is listed as a tight end on the Chiefs official website.

    With tight ends Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki on top of the depth chart at tight ends, the Chiefs may have room for only two more, along with one on the practice squad.

    Maneri was one of only three active tight ends during OTAs and has taken advantage of that opportunity by shining in front of his coaches. With a rare opportunity like this, it puts Maneri one of the top tight ends who could battle for the last tight end spot. The Chiefs will want to experiment with him more in the preseason than other tight ends if he carries this over to training camp.

Loser No. 3: WR Dexter McCluster

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    Although Dexter McCluster had some success as a running back last season, is there a chance that he even has a chance to get as many touches in 2012 as he did in 2011?

    At running back, the Chiefs have Jamaal Charles returning and signed Peyton Hillis. At wide receiver, the Chiefs have Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin and, hopefully, Dwayne Bowe. With the Chiefs roster full of depth, it is fair to question and ponder the idea whether McCluster will get a lot of action on offense.

    When Baldwin was absent for on of Kansas City's OTAs, McCluster practiced with the No. 1 offense and struggled, dropping an easy pass. If McCluster's struggles this year, even during the limited playing time he gets, his time in Kansas City could slowly come to an end. His only hope is that he becomes the team's top returner and performs as one of the best to maintain a job with the Chiefs.

Winner No. 3: WR Jon Baldwin

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    Baldwin, like Maneri, is taking advantage of a big absence in his position. With a new offensive coordinator, Baldwin is far ahead of Bowe. While under a contract dispute, Bowe has no understanding of Brian Daboll's offense.

    When training camp kicks off, Baldwin will be ready while Bowe will be learning.

    This is also Baldwin's first time participating in OTAs while the teams were not allowed to hold OTAs last offseason, during Baldwin's rookie year, due to the lockout. Daboll's offense is becoming second nature for Baldwin and he hopes to do bigger things with the Chiefs after a disappointing rookie showing.

Loser No. 4: WR Dwayne Bowe

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    As stated in Baldwin's slide, Bowe is far behind. He has no idea what Daboll's offense is like and he has not worked with Matt Cassel since last November, the last time Cassel played with the Chiefs before suffering a season-ending hand injury. Bowe missed all of OTAs and did not participate in mini camp.

    All of this is happening all because of a contract. Bowe is currently under the team's franchise tag, but there is confusion as to whether Bowe should be paid like a top-five wide receiver due to his consistency.

    The question should not be about whether Bowe will sign an extension before the July 16 deadline. The question is, can Bowe step up in 2012 after missing all of OTAs with a new offensive coordinator?

Winner No. 4: General Manager Scott Pioli

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    Here is the first, and only, member of the Chiefs who is not a player, but deserves to be on this list as a winner.

    Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli has done a tremendous job rebuilding his team this offseason. Although he is currently in the middle of working on Bowe's contract, he has brought in a lot of talent on offense to help the Chiefs compete in the AFC West.

    After Peyton Manning declined to visit the Chiefs, he joined the reigning AFC West champions, the Broncos. But Pioli recruited weapons to help the Chiefs 22nd ranked offense. This was done while the Broncos received a lot of hype from the media that they should win the AFC West again, but this time with ease and a better record.

    If there is another team in the AFC West that could stun the Broncos, it is the Chiefs. All because of Pioli's efforts in helping the team with some big offseason moves. It is up to Crennel and the Chiefs to get the job done.

Loser No. 5: QB Brady Quinn

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    When it comes to the game of football, the quarterback usually has more obstacles to overcome than another player. For Brady Quinn, his professional career has been full of obstacles.

    Quinn's starting spot in Cleveland was given to Colt McCoy. While in Denver, the heavily criticized Tim Tebow was named the Broncos starting quarterback instead of Quinn after the departure of Kyle Orton.

    Quinn has not played a regular season game in over two years. His last game was in 2009, coincidentally, against the Chiefs.

    He came to Kansas City to reunite with Daboll and to resurrect his playing career.

    Quinn did not get all of the reps with the second-team in OTAs. Second year quarterback Ricky Stanzi has switched with Quinn for the second team reps. With a player like Quinn, who has a huge reputation and at one point was hyped to possibly be taken No. 1 overall in the 2007 NFL draft, you would think he could get a majority of the second-team reps.

    Training camp will be a true test for Quinn. We will know whether he can save his career.

Winner No. 5: QB Matt Cassel

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    Cassel is more than pleased with what the Chiefs have done this offseason when it comes to improving the team and bringing in talent.

    On paper, this is what the Chiefs offense currently looks like and it is likely that a majority of these players will be on the team Sept. 9 when the Chiefs face the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium for the season opener.

     

    Running Back

    • Jamaal Charles (returning from injury)
    • Peyton Hillis (new addition)

     

    Wide Receiver

    • Dwayne Bowe (franchise tag)
    • Steve Breaston
    • Jon Baldwin
    • Dexter McCluster
    • Devon Wylie (new addition)

     

    Tight End

    • Tony Moeaki (returning from injury)
    • Kevin Boss (new addition)

     

    Offensive Line (from left to right)

    • Branden Albert
    • Ryan Lilja
    • Rodney Hudson
    • Jon Asamoah
    • Eric Winston (new addition)

    Cassel has a chance to work with two players returning from injury and four who were added this offseason. Including himself, the Chiefs have seven players who were not part of this offense last year's season finale against the Broncos.

    And even though he is thrilled to work with these players, he knows this is his last chance to prove himself. When it was reported that the Chiefs offered Manning a contract, it was a wake up call for Cassel that the Chiefs want better production at the quarterback spot.

    This year, Cassel has a chance to be part of something special and has taken full advantage of it so far this offseason under his new offensive coordinator.