The most notable losses for the Chiefs the past offseason were Will Shields and Trent Green. I think it's safe to say that it was honestly Trent's time to go. Certainly feeling doubted and perhaps wronged by the Chiefs, Trent may find enough fuel to ingnite a spark and return to shades of his former glory in Miami. However, if he had stayed in Kansas City that spark would probably have more accurately resembled a sputter. Perhaps turning into a cloud of smoke as an afterthought to an otherwise bright career here. I'm glad for Trent and the opportunity he is getting with the Dolphins but I am also glad that he is no longer under center for the Chiefs.
The retirement of Will Shields could be said to be more significant and the reverberations of this may be felt by the organization and fans for some time. In all honesty, there is nobody the Chiefs could have picked up then that would prove to be as valuable an asset as Shields. Coupled with the loss of Willie Roaf the previous season, we now get to witness the re-tooling of an offensive line.
Though the situation may seem bleak to some, two things can be said for the Chiefs offensive line this year. Those being Waters and Wiegmann. Both of these guys are stand-out players in a league where linemen are severely underrated. Once one considers the fact that both Turley and Welbourne have been in the Chiefs' system for several years, the situation begins to look a little less dire. Of course, we won't look as good without the hall of fame lineup we once had. In fact, it may be a very long time before any team is blessed enough to boast quality players akin to the likes of Roaf, Shields, Waters, and Wiegmann on the same front. While some may contest the ability of Turley and Welbourne to perform, at least they had a chance to learn from some of the best. Given time, the recently promoted starters on the line could prove to be at least something along the lines of decent.
That being said, where is this rapid decent within the roster to so severely cripple a team that made the playoffs last year? With additions of young talent to the receiving corps and a defense that has vastly improved since the Chiefs' playoff appearance prior to their last one, perhaps they have simply traded some of their strengths for weaknesses and vise versa.
From a casual distance, it seems this team may not have too much to worry about after all. While Shields' retirement was inevitable, the trading of Green is arguably beneficial. Without listing stats, it can be said that Damon Huard performed his job admirably last year in Trent Green's absence. If nothing else, Huard could at least be considered dependable in his abilities.
Again, where is this monumental decline that the media and even dedicated Chiefs' fans keep referring to? Is the loss of two guys really going be so devestating that it effecively reduces a winning team to rubble?
Some may not think so until they look at other key positional changes made by the Chiefs leading up to the regular season.
Releasing Dante Hall did seem to make sense until they signed another guy to specialize in returning kicks instead of giving the opportunity to one of the young guys already with the team. Drummond's performance has been less than impressive thus far and for the sake of my blood pressure, I hope he gets it together soon.
If Lawrence Tynes had not been plagued by the occasional botching of extra points, he may not have been released. Tynes was good on over 78 percent of his attempts last season with two game-winners. As it is, the Chiefs spent a 5th round pick to acquire Justin Medlock-- a guy who seemed to have a lax attitude toward practice and held out for a short time during training camp as a rookie kicker.
Medlock's work ethic could be said to have shown in his performance on the field. After a terribly inconsistent preseason, Medlock was already on a thin rope heading into the regular season. I guess missing his first kick in the regular season was enough to drop him. After week one the Chiefs have already replaced Medlock with third-year kicker, Dave Rayner.
With the defensive philosophy of Herm Edwards, I suspect the reason for all of this was to get a sure-footed kicker that would be reliable in close, defensive contests. It seems that has not panned-out so well. Now the Chiefs must look to Rayner to provide some consistency.
At first glance, these roster changes are not enough to quench my enthusiasm. I am hopeful for this season and have confidence in the talent of this team. However, upon further inspection, some mistakes have been made. Are these mistakes profound enough to so thouroughly decimate the Chiefs from the inside-out as the national media and many fans have predicted? I certainly hope not but you can bet we will soon find out.