Around The Web: Jackson Close, Johnson Speaks, Addict Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs arrived in River Falls, Wisconsin yesterday for what will be their final training camp in the TrainingCamp09bcheese state.  Every player — including Brian Waters and Mike Vrabel — that is under contract with the Chiefs was in attendance.  The only person missing was first round draft pick Tyson Jackson.  But according to third round pick Alex Magee, a deal with Jackson and the Chiefs is close.

Magee signed his contract Wednesday and said a day later that it was a relief to have that process behind him.  He also said he had spoken recently with Jackson, and the Chiefs’ top pick indicated to Magee that first-year general manager Scott Pioli and Jackson’s agent, Eugene Parker, were close to a deal.

“They’re still working on things, getting things situated with him.  He wants to be here.  I know he wants to be here.  He’s kind of disappointed that he’s not here on time, but everything is going to work out fine for him.  Whenever you finish up something like that, it’s always a burden off your shoulders. Something you want to get out of the way.”

Pioli didn’t address the situation, scooting past reporters Thursday and saying that he was on his way to a tour of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus.

All I keep thinking about is when Larry Johnson was a holdout the year the Chiefs did “Hard Knocks” and seeing him run into Carl Peterson’s office, sign his new deal then jog out to the practice field.  The biggest difference here is that before Jackson can go out and start practicing with his teammates, he is going to have to finish (and pass) Todd Haley’s conditioning test.

Speaking of LJ, shortly after stepping off the team bus he met with reporters for a short time to talk about his expectations for this year’s training camp.

TrainingCamp09c“I think this year will be different in many ways with our new management, especially for the press not being able to get as close to the field as past years, but that will make for less distractions for us.”

In reference to the Chiefs offense, Johnson said that it’s hard to tell what will happen this early in the season.

“We have some great young receivers this year which will be help us to be better, but as for the offensive line, it is hard to tell how successful we’ll be in the pre-season.”

What about how the new regime will affect the team?

“I’ve always been happy with the team.  However, I think our new General Manger Scott Pioli and Head Coach Todd Haley will be able to put us in a position to win more than two games this year.  They have a good mindset to take over our team in times of desperation and success.”

The fact that he spoke with the media on day one is already a change for Larry since he is notorious for refusing to do interviews.  It’s very interesting to see him call out the offensive line right off the bat.  That can go one of two ways for him.  Either he is finally seen as a leader and busts his butt out on the field trying to get better with the line or the big men resent him for throwing them under the bus before they ever put pads on.  I really hope it’s the former.

Hopefully you have already listened to our training camp preview episode of The Red & Gold Report.  If you haven’t, be sure to check it out.  While you’re listening, head over to Arrowhead Addict to see their preview of what the Chiefs need to find out during their time in River Falls.

Can anyone rush the QB?  Ever since Jared took his sacks to the Vikings, sacks have been few and far between for the Chiefs.  Where will the sacks come from?  Is Tamba the answer?  We have been there and done that.

When in doubt, fall back on ’scheme’ but I have my doubts.  Right now, this is looking like a glaring weakness.  Hopefully, training camp will provide some positive answers.

Hard to argue with anyone that is worried about the Chiefs pass rush when the only additions along the line are rookies.  But on top of the new scheme, this team has much better linebackers than anything they were running with last season.  Zach Thomas and Mike Vrabel’s leadership along with Derrick Johnson’s skills finally being properly utilized will go a long way to help the defensive line.

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