Sunday, September 1, 2013
Breaking down the roster: Chiefs offense
By Adam Teicher
OK, we’ve all seen enough about the players the Kansas City Chiefs released. Now let’s take a look by position at the ones who will play for them Sunday against the Jaguars in Jacksonville and beyond. I’ll look at the offense in this post and later I’ll provide thoughts on the defense and kicking specialists.
An asterisk indicates a likely starter.
The Chiefs completely overhauled the quarterback position in the offseason, bringing in Chase Daniel and Alex Smith.
Quarterback (3): Alex Smith*, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray. The Chiefs completely turned over this position from last season by bringing in three new players. Much of their success will depend on Smith and whether he can be the player he was the past two seasons with the 49ers and not the one from earlier in his career. Daniel is a career backup, having thrown just nine regular-season passes, so it’s unclear what the Chiefs would be getting if he had to play for an extended period. Bray, a rookie, has ability but needs some time to develop.
Running back (4): Jamaal Charles*, Anthony Sherman*, Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray. Charles had a substandard preseason, rushing for just 1.9 yards per carry. That might not be a cause for alarm just yet but given coach Andy Reid’s preference for the passing game, Charles’ rushing numbers might be down this season. His receiving numbers should rise. Davis, a rookie, is big and fast, but has a habit of fumbling and dropping passes so it will be interesting to see how much the Chiefs trust him. Sherman is a good lead blocker and special-teams player. Gray earned a roster spot with a strong final preseason game.
Wide receiver (6): Dwayne Bowe*, Donnie Avery*, Junior Hemingway, A.J. Jenkins, Dexter McCluster, Devon Wylie. Bowe is the only consistently proven receiver in the group. Avery is fast and caught 60 passes for the Colts last season but tends to drop a lot of throws. Hemingway has a big body that the Chiefs may try to use out of the slot, particularly in the red zone. McCluster has tantalized the Chiefs with his quickness but has delivered few big plays. He could get a boost playing in Reid’s offense. Jenkins and Wylie are fast, which means they could get some playing time for Reid.
Tight end (3): Anthony Fasano*, Travis Kelce, Kevin Brock. Before the injury and subsequent release of Tony Moeaki, the Chiefs had a nice blend with Fasano as a traditional tight end, Moeaki as a strong intermediate route runner and Kelce as a deep threat capable of lining up as a wide receiver. Fasano had a solid preseason but Moeaki was gone and Kelce is bothered by a sore knee. Receiving production at this position is a must given the shortage of proven playmakers at wide receiver.
Offensive line (8): Branden Albert*, Eric Fisher*, Jeff Allen*, Jon Asamoah*, Rodney Hudson*, Eric Kush, Geoff Schwartz, Donald Stephenson. The Chiefs are young at positions where a team generally likes to have more experience. Albert, the left tackle, is the senior member both in terms of age (28) and years in the league (five). Fisher, the right tackle, is a rookie who had rough patches during the preseason while left guard Allen and center Hudson are only in their second seasons as starters. Schwartz and Stephenson can both play guard or tackle if needed. Kush, a rookie center, looked overwhelmed at times during the preseason. Allen would most likely move to center if Hudson were injured.