Kansas City Chiefs: Most Shocking Developments at Training Camp So Far
Training camp is just over one week in as the Kansas City Chiefs try to best prepare for their first preseason game, coming up this Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium as the Arizona Cardinals come to town.
While there are normally a lot of questions to go along with the expected shuffling of the depth chart, it seems that the big stories at Chiefs' camp—other than wide receiver Dwayne Bowe being absent—are ones that the team can hang their hat on as the regular season approaches.
Any and all news is worthy of a mention with your favorite NFL team this time of year, but here are the most shocking developments for the Chiefs at training camp so far.
Dontari Poe Looks Great in His Role in Sub Packages
First-round draft picks are expected to start in the NFL, especially if that player plays a position of dire need for his new team. Not the story, however, for Kansas City Chiefs rookie nose tackle Dontari Poe.
While the first thought may be to throw grumbles Poe's way for his lack of emergence as the starter, it is actually quite the contrary.
It may come as a shock, but, although undersized at just over 6 feet and 315 pounds, second-year nose tackle Anthony Toribio is emerging as the starter as of right now.
With less pressure on Poe to come in and be the man right away, he is thriving in his role in sub packages, particularly as a pass-rusher.
When asked how he has looked in his more streamlined role so far, Jason Madson of KCChiefsDraft.com had this to say about Poe:
He looks unblockable in sub package reps. Really great fit to begin his career, not much pressure. Just get to the quarterback and collapse the pocket. He does that and continues to develop at NT, the Chiefs will be set in the middle for years.
Poe's presence in the middle of the defensive line will be the key cog in how the entire defense performs this season. If he can continue to develop and then translate it all to the field once the regular season starts, the Chiefs could become one of the top defenses in the entire league.
No Separation in Backup Quarterback Job
While some still question whether or not quarterback Matt Cassel is capable of leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a deep playoff run, no one can dispute that he is the best option the team has right now.
Cassel left the game of a 17-10 Week 10 loss to the Denver Broncos last year and did not return for the remainder of the season. With his departure also disappeared any chance that the Chiefs could realistically repeat as AFC West champions; having no legitimate backup quarterback can do that to a team.
While Ricky Stanzi was on the roster last year, he fell victim to a lame-duck head coach in Todd Haley who simply wouldn't give the rookie a chance. Now in his second year, Stanzi is being given the opportunity to compete with the newly signed Brady Quinn to be the primary backup for Cassel in 2012.
Few teams could survive an extended period of time without their starting quarterback under center, but the Chiefs are certainly in a much better position this season to absorb such a blow.
What is even more positive about this situation is that neither Stanzi nor Quinn is emerging as the clear favorite, while both are having good camps.
The competition behind Cassel bodes well for him, too, with the 2012 season believed to be his make-or-break year in Kansas City.
Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki Putting ACL Injuries Behind Them
The 2011 season for the Kansas City Chiefs was a huge disappointment. Coming off an AFC West title in 2010 and returning much of the roster, expectations couldn't have been higher.
However, the team came into last year unprepared, and a rash of injuries early on derailed the season before it could really get started. Tight end Tony Moeaki, safety Eric Berry and running back Jamaal Charles were all stifled with ACL tears prior to the third game of the season.
The health of these three has been a hot-button topic the entire offseason and is a major point of concern for the fans. General manager Scott Pioli made it a point to stock the roster with depth at these positions through free agency and the draft.
Although the Chiefs will be better prepared should health be a major concern again, Berry, Charles and Moeaki have all looked good so far in training camp. And if the law of averages helps the team along the way, the depth might not have to come into play much this season anyway.
While Berry and Charles will be relied on heavily, Moeaki might be in the best position to take his return to the field a bit more leisurely. The Chiefs have more weapons surrounding quarterback Matt Cassel, thus taking the pressure off of Moeaki to build off a successful 2010 season.
Jeremy Sickel is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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