Bubble Watch for Kansas City's Training Camp
With a new front office and coaching staff in Kansas City, players know that a new regime means change is on the way. Some players who were on the team the previous season know that they have to show the new coaching staff they deserve a spot on the 53-man roster.
Every year, players find themselves on the edge and have to work hard in training camp to get over the hump.
In this slideshow, I will go over Chiefs players who are on the bubble and the situation that brought them to this point.
QB Ricky Stanzi
Ricky Stanzi has been with the Kansas City Chiefs since the 2011 season, yet all he’s done is stand on the sidelines and watch everything unfold on the field right in front of him. Despite a solid career with Iowa, it only translated into being drafted in the fifth round and earning no playing time.
Undrafted out of Tennessee, Tyler Bray could be the one who challenges Stanzi for the final spot and sends him packing.
Stanzi's past preseason performances haven’t been awe-inspiring. He has not been able to play well against opposing defenses, which explains why he has spent all of his time during the regular season on the sidelines.
Stanzi must simply try and do what he’s done the past two years to win a spot on the roster. But will that alone be enough to impress a new coaching staff?
A lot can happen in training camp and preseason games, but don’t be surprised if Bray is chosen over Stanzi to be part of the team.
RB Shaun Draughn
Under Andy Reid’s offense, running backs Jamaal Charles, Cyrus Gray and rookie Knile Davis got a lot of repetitions during organized team activities and minicamp. As for Shaun Draughn, he missed some of the offseason practices this past spring.
This allowed the running backs behind Charles, Gray and Davis to get more familiar and take in more knowledge with Reid’s unique offense.
This year, the Chiefs have qualified candidates for both positions, making it more challenging for Draughn to obtain a spot on the team. But if Draughn comes through in either, or both, of those positions, he will guarantee himself another year in Kansas City.
FB Toben Opurum
Toben Opurum isn’t on this list for negative reasons about him. Despite playing for Kansas, a team which won three games the past two years, Opurum stood out as an individual and was named a team captain his senior year while playing on defense.
Now, Opurum is going back to playing offense, which is what he played his freshman year of college.
The chances of Reid carrying three fullbacks on the active roster and practice squad is unlikely, so Opurum knows he has to perform better than Braden Wilson and Anthony Sherman to have a chance to stay with the team.
WR Jon Baldwin
Jon Baldwin has been a major bust in his first two years with the team since being taken in the first-round out of Pittsburgh.
Even with Kansas City’s poor passing game, there were four Chiefs players outside of Bowe who had more receptions than Baldwin in 2012.
This training camp is a crucial one for Baldwin. With Donnie Avery on the team, Baldwin will have to fight for a starting spot, and perhaps just a spot to be on the team.
WR Dexter McCluster
Capable of playing running back, wide receiver and special teams returner, Dexter McCluster is the most versatile athlete on the team. But as a player, he is having trouble in the NFL.
Coming out of Ole Miss, his career started off with a bang when he took the eventual game-winning punt returner touchdown on opening week against San Diego in 2010. Since then, McCluster’s only notable game was against Chicago in 2011.
But the Chiefs would like for McCluster to be more active and use his athleticism more. If he can show that in training camp, then he will go into 2013 as the team’s secret weapon.
TE Tony Moeaki
Tony Moeaki missed OTAs due to a knee injury, and Reid said earlier in the offseason that Moeaki’s first practice would likely come during training camp, according to Lance Veeser of NBC News Kansas City. His injuries have derailed his career, preventing him from reaching his potential.
While missing out on practices and gaining a better understanding of the offense, the Chiefs signed Anthony Fasano and drafted Travis Kelce.
Moeaki’s odds are stacked against him. If his health continues to be an issue, there may not be a spot for him on the team.
Assuming Reid keeps three tight ends, Moeaki could stay with Fasano and Kelce. It will just be a matter of whether or not Moeaki can stay healthy and get more action than the other two.
DE Allen Bailey
Although Glenn Dorsey left the team, Allen Bailey’s chances of making the team are still low. He’s been a major disappointment since being drafted in the third round 2011
Last year, he appeared in just 10 games and underachieved, only recording five tackles.
He could make the team as a backup, but how much time would he get on the field?
CB Jalil Brown
After Kansas City signed Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith and drafted Sanders Commings, the front office decided to part ways with Javier Arenas in a trade and received a fullback in return.
With Arenas struggling and the team releasing Stanford Routt, Jalil Brown saw starts in a couple of games last year with Brandon Flowers starting on the other side of the defense.
Brown has a lot of competition to deal with, but he can sneak into the 53-man roster.
Brown was impressive on Kansas City’s special teams defense last year. If he continues to contribute on special teams, he will remain on the team, and perhaps see a little bit of action on defense.