That’s right: A year ago at this time, on August 6, 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs’ starting tight end on the first depth chart of the preseason was Kevin Boss. It gets better. Their No. 1 nose tackle was Anthony Toribio; one of the starting wideouts (thanks to Dwayne Bowe’s holdout) was … Steve Breaston.
Long way to go, folks. Miles.
Still, for the first time in eight months, it’s a game week. And when you put out a depth chart on a game week, the blood pressures start to creep up a bit. But what did we really learn from Sunday night’s announcement?
:03 … That tight end slot is going to be interesting, isn’t it?
Well, we already knew that coming out of the spring. But the first August depth chart — incumbent starter Tony Moeaki at No. 3, behind newcomer Anthony Fasano and rookie Travis Kelce — raised more than a few eyebrows on the tight end front. Especially given that the buzz along I-29 has been that Moeaki was looking like one of the stars of the first 10 days of training camp.
Then again, in terms of playing time, depth-chart designation might not matter here as much as it does relative to other positions — coach Andy Reid likes multiple tight ends on the field, especially in the red zone, so this one always seemed to be shaping up as a time-share deal, long-term.
Maybe the new regime is trying to ease Moeaki in slowly after he missed all of spring OTAs and mini-camps with a bum knee. Maybe this is a chance to get Kelce more looks against better competition in exhibition (that is to say, the other team’s No. 1 defense), although the first-year receiver out of Cincinnati, one of the standouts of the spring, reportedly left Sunday’s practice early because of a groin problem.
New quarterback Alex Smith and Fasano, a free-agent import from Miami, already seem to be developing a nice rapport, and if it ain’t broke …
:02 … Things could get very sticky for Ricky.
It’s not that the Reid/John Dorsey regime is actively rooting for Tyler Bray to beat Ricky Stanzi out for the No. 3 quarterback slot. But they certainly don’t seem opposed to it, if you catch the drift.
But preseason performance (or lack thereof) will probably be one of the big things that swings this particular derby (or lack thereof) one way or another, and Stanzi already has plenty of August snaps under his belt. Just not a lot of great ones. If Bray doesn’t defecate the you-know-what or Stanzi doesn’t turn into the second coming of Russell Wilson, you get the feeling the brass might favor a little new blood here.
:01.5 … The ball’s in your court, Jon Baldwin. (Reprise)
The starting wideout opposite the reliable Dwayne Bowe on Friday in New Orleans will likely be the mercurial Baldwin, if we’re to go by Sunday’s release. Veteran free agent signee Donnie Avery was expected to have an inside track to start with Bowe, but he was slowed in the spring by a high ankle sprain and has drawn more attention at St. Joe for a case of the dropsies than anything else.
But camp is camp, as Smith likes to say, and folks have seen Baldwin’s second-coming-of-Larry-Fitzgerald-in-practice bit before — only to watch the former first-rounder turn into Larry Fine during the grind of the regular season. These exhibition games are Baldwin’s first chance to prove to the new power bloc, and to the fans, that his disappearing act of 2012 was an aberration, not a harbinger of more miseries to come.
:01 … Jordan is hanging, but Nico keeps pushing.
The Legend Of Nico Johnson seems to loom larger with each passing week as the 249-pound rookie from Alabama continues to work with the first team at middle linebacker and impress, especially with pursuing ballcarriers. But club officials want to see how well he plays against the pass in space; therefore, veteran Akeem Jordan, the safer and maybe less spectacular option, has the inside track to start the preseason as Derrick Johnson’s running mate.
“It’s competitive,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton told reporters last week. “It’s an open position.”
An open-ended question, too — one of several that could come closer to being answered by late Friday night.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.