Training camp is underway in St. Joseph for the Kansas City Chiefs.  I believe that those of us who are Chief fans will view this season as a memorable one.  This is the fourth season with Scott Pioli running the show and the first full season for Romeo Crennel as head coach.  Four years is sufficient time for a general manager who knows his stuff to make significant progress in overhauling a roster.

A few players left over from the Carl Peterson/Herm Edwards Chiefs are in their primes, specifically Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Glenn Dorsey and Tamba Hali.  Bowe isn’t in camp because of a contract matter and I suspect this is one of those time honored training camp dodges. I suspect he’ll agree to terms about the time the Chiefs come back down I-29 in mid August.   Dorsey, Hali and Johnson had to adjust their games when the Chiefs went to a 3-4 defense. All three have responded well.

I’m of the belief that the lockout a year and a half ago hurt the Chiefs as much as anyone in the league with the large number of young players in key roles. The lockout meant that a lot of teaching didn’t get done.  Now, those young guys have a more normal off season under their belts and another year of game experience.

Don’t forget that the defense in 2011 was good enough to have the Chiefs within a whiffed block on a field goal attempt of an AFC West title despite all the injuries on offense. That defense should get better this year. That’s one reason for optimism.

Another big reason for Chief fans to be optimistic is the addition of  offensive tackle Tony Ugoh and Eric Winston over the off season. Protect Matt Cassel and open holes for Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs will win some games.  Cassel was pretty decent in ’10 when he was sort of protected by the o-line.  The passing game in ’10 pretty much started and ended with Dwayne Bowe. Toney Moeaki and Steve Breaston gives defenses someone else to worry about. Odds are that Jon Baldwin becomes more of a factor too.  The record also shows that Cassel was also pretty good in New England as a very inexperienced emergency replacement for Tom Brady.

Opening Day is September 9th at Arrowhead against the Atlanta Falcons.