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keg in kc
07-28-2001, 11:11 PM
Shortage at wide receiver has Chiefs' attention

By ADAM TEICHER - The Kansas City Star (http://www.kcstar.com/item/pages/chiefs98.pat,sports/3accdb08.728,.html)
Date: 07/28/01 22:15

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- There's one not-so-minor problem with Dick Vermeil's plans to replicate the success of his St. Louis passing game in Kansas City.

He didn't bring wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Az Hakim with him.

The Chiefs have only two proven wide receivers, Derrick Alexander and Derrick Mayes. Even Mayes is hardly a hot commodity, having sat on the free-agent market for four months before signing with the Chiefs two weeks ago.

Their other top four receivers on the first day of training camp Saturday were rookie Marvin Minnis and veterans Chris Thomas, Larry Parker and Tony Horne. They have combined for zero NFL starts and 39 receptions.

The Chiefs have few bigger camp issues than finding one or more high-quality receivers. If they fail, they may have to scale back their expectations for their passing game.

"It's maybe not the way I want it but we can make it work," said Vermeil, normally more upbeat when assessing personnel. "I don't know if the core can be compared to the group we had in St. Louis but maybe nobody in the NFL can compare, so that's not a negative."

This particular issue wouldn't be so pressing for the Chiefs in the past, when the passing game was merely a diversion for their running attack. But Vermeil and offensive coordinator Al Saunders have installed the St. Louis system and traded for Rams quarterback Trent Green to make it work.

The system demands skilled, quick receivers who can make yards after the catch. Alexander has excelled at that in his three seasons with the Chiefs but the rest of the cast is a mystery.

"How fast we can play the game remains to be seen," Saunders said. "An important part of what we do is play at a fast tempo."

The shortage at receiver wasn't helped when starter Sylvester Morris was lost for the season after injuring a knee during an off-season workout last month.

The Chiefs quickly replaced him with Mayes. Otherwise, their only off-season moves to bolster the receiving group were to draft Minnis in the third round and sign Horne, Thomas and rookies J.J. Moses and Dave Klemic. Horne's main role with the Chiefs will be as a kickoff returner.

The Chiefs failed to re-sign Kevin Lockett or successfully recruit free-agent visitors Matthew Hatchette and Eddie Kennison.

"Who was out there we could afford?" Vermeil said. "When you're $30 million over the salary cap and you want to make sure you keep Will Shields and you want to make sure you keep Duane Clemons.... We had both of our starting receivers back from last year, so we didn't make it quite as high a priority."

It's too late now to do anything but try to develop the current group. Thomas played five NFL seasons, including two for the Rams. He has only 32 career receptions but Vermeil and Saunders are comfortable with him because he's familiar with the system.

Horne is the fastest of the bunch and got his camp off to a good start Saturday by making a diving catch. Horne earned few receiving chances in three years with the Rams, catching only four passes.

"I'm ready to play receiver," Horne said. "That's why I came here, because there was an opportunity to me to show I could play. We don't have a lot of guys that have played very much. I was caught up behind four great receivers in St. Louis."

Parker was drafted two years ago by former Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham, who favored bigger, more physical receivers. He didn't play well enough to earn much playing time and is now trying to show the new staff that he can adapt to the new offense.

"In this offense, receiver is the highlighted position," Parker said. "Whoever's in there is going to get a chance to shine. It's not going to be a situation where when the second-team guys come in, we're going to run the ball. We're going to open it up and try to put points on the board."

Minnis is a pivotal player. Quick development by Minnis would ease many of the Chiefs' concerns. Their hope is that he can begin the season at least as the third receiver and perhaps break into the starting lineup by season's end.

"He needs to be consistent with the running of his routes, with the way he catches the ball and the way he gets off press coverage," Saunders said. "If he can do that, he'll play for us and help us. If he's not disciplined within our system, then he'll have to work on it."

Quarterbacks are naturally more comfortable with proven players but Green isn't necessarily worried about the Chiefs' shortage at receiver.

"There's plenty of depth there. We're not worried about the talent," he said. "When guys get their chance, some of them take it and run and some of them get scared and you never hear from them again.

"I'm a guy that spent so many years on the bench and finally got a chance to play. So I know there's a lot of guys out there with talent that just need to be given the opportunity. I tried for five years to get a chance to play and when I finally did, I was able to make the most of it. Then everybody was wondering why I didn't play before."

The Chiefs began training camp with Alexander and Mayes as the starters, Minnis and Thomas as second team and Horne and Parker as the third unit. There's plenty of time before the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against Oakland at Arrowhead Stadium for that to change.

"I think there will be some surprises at that position," Vermeil said. "Derrick Alexander is no slouch. Marvin Minnis will play well. And just maybe somebody no one has heard of will emerge."

stevieray
07-29-2001, 01:24 AM
Or does DV mention the Rams in almost every interview? Yes, we know Holmes and Richardson aren't Faulk. Yes we know he didn't bring the recieving corp with him. I'm just curious why the constant comparisons? I don't want to be the Rams. I'm excited about Al being groomed and implementing an explosive offense. But I 'd like it to be Chiefs football, instead of continuous accolades to the Rams, like they invented the game.

It's like he's talking about an ex-girlfriend he still likes.

Rausch
07-29-2001, 01:40 AM
I think that the reality of our situation is FINALLY setting in with DV.


We had NO cap room. We have GOOD talent. We DON'T have great talent or free agent options.

I think he's feeling out the team and comparing this one to the last one he coached. Not a big deal.


If it takes becomming the Lambs(which I personally gaurantee I hate more than anyone) to give Lamar his trophy, I'll deal with it.



Ok, I'll LOVE IT!....:D





Talking to Satan now about what he can arrange for a Lombardi....I have little leverage....

KCJohnny
07-29-2001, 08:45 AM
StevieRay:
I was flogged mercilessly for that observation.
YES, DV is unapologetically still in love with his old flame.
YES, its aggravating.
NO, I don't want to be the Rams, either.

OK, here come the flames...

With Tony Richardson and Tony Gonzales, who would WANT to be the Rams????

Chiefs will excell with rushing and defense, just like they always have.

Brad: Don't bother with that old lying devil. Vince Lombardi is in heaven. He was a very strong Catholic Christian, as was Knute Rockne.
Maybe there's a message there; two greatest coaches of all time...

KCJ
Urging all posters to go to Church today

Bob Dole
07-29-2001, 09:32 AM
Bob Dole is confident enough in the ability of the coaching staff to believe that they'll tool the offense around the talent we <b>do</b> have, rather than try to force something that ain't there.

Bob Dole also thinks that Larry Parker is an above average receiver that got benched because of one fumble. (Another example of Gunther overreacting to a situation...)

We also have Dante Hall who successfully converted to WR in NFLE and Ricky Hall who looked pretty darned good.

Bob Dole isn't worried about the receiving corps. We may not have blinding speed, but we'll be just fine.

milkman
07-29-2001, 09:48 AM
The milkman agrees with Bob Dole, with the exception of Bob Dole's faith in Dante Hall.
The milkman thinks that this coaching staff, unlike previous coachng staffs in KC over the last 12 years, has a clue, and will be able to adjust to the available talent.

The milkman also thinks that KCJohnny should change his regular status line from "Blind, decieved homer" to "Blind, head buried in the sand (or elsewhere) homer, since no one is trying to decieve Johnny. Rather, Johnny just refuses to pull his head out to see.

Bob Dole
07-29-2001, 09:52 AM
Bob Dole probably beats the Dante Hall drum a little too much, but can't get past the player Bob Dole saw when he was at A&M. The kid has a ton of potential...just needs to pull his head out.

milkman
07-29-2001, 09:54 AM
BTW,
Bob Dole's take on Gun's reaction to Larry Parker's fumble is an opinion the milkman has adamantly forwarded here o more than one occassion.

The milkman also feels that Gun shattered Parker's confidence, and is hoping that a fresh start with a new, and positive staff renews Parker's confidence, allowing him to step up and display the talent the milkman knows is there.

milkman
07-29-2001, 09:57 AM
Bob Dole,
The milkman probably does the same with Parker.

Otter
07-29-2001, 10:03 AM
The otter... I mean, I agree.

Knock it off milkman! :D

milkman
07-29-2001, 10:10 AM
Just imitating the inimitable(sp) Bob Dole for a coupe posts.
How Bob Dole does this consistently is beyond the milkman's...err..my comprehension, as it would drive me absolutely crazy.

Luzap
07-29-2001, 12:00 PM
I'm beating my head against a wall trying to remember where I read it, but just recently there was an article saying how impressive one of the Raider's UFA WR's was performing in camp, and how unfortunate it was that he probably wouldn't make the roster (they're loaded at the position).

I have to think that if we have a serious problem at WR, there are (or soon will be) players available to solve it. I don't think DV's concern is about us not havong good WR's ~ just not the exceptional one's he wants for this system.

We'll be OK ~ I just want to be great!

Luz
someone(s) need to step up...

Fat Elvis
07-29-2001, 12:52 PM
Fat Elvis misses Bob Dole's little avatar with the "Pudden Head" quotation......

NaptownChief
07-29-2001, 01:01 PM
Luz,

I think you are thinking of Alex VanDyke....He was the first or 2nd pick of the 2nd round by the Jets the same year they drafted Kryshawn....

ck_IN
07-29-2001, 01:10 PM
Luz, could you be thinking of Kasper?

He was a guy I was dying for the Chiefs to draft late and I think the Raiduhs got him. He has speed to burn but is on the small side I think.

NaptownChief
07-29-2001, 01:16 PM
Ck,

Kasper has been looking good but he was drafted by the Donks...

I really wanted that guy also..He is a stud. If he were black he would have been drafted in the 1st or 2nd round.

Iowanian
07-30-2001, 01:12 PM
http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1002,86%257E81824,00.html


I really really wanted Kasper in a Red Jersey this year. 4.37/40 and hands of glue.....can't believe it....A Donk that I have to pull for, with the exception of twice/ year...

~woulda been a Great Chief.