Yes, we’re in the middle of baseball’s All-Star Break, but football season is here.  A good chunk of my work week so far has gone toward getting ready for the 2014 football season.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

Fall practice is coming up fast for Hannibal and Palmyra. Missouri high school openers are only five weeks away. Where did summer go?

The Southeastern Conference is holding their annual media days this week. I expect another solid season from Missouri. So far, SEC Media Days have included LSU’s Les Miles talking World Cup Soccer, Arkansas coach Brett Bielema is whining about up tempo offenses being dangerous to players and Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel says those concerns are fictional.

I’m with Pinkel on this one. His teams are in excellent physical condition. You don’t see fat linemen in Missouri uniforms. You don’t see them wear down in the 4th. The SEC coaches complaining about up-tempo football might want to spend their time re-examining their conditioning program rather than whining like a grounded 12-year-old.

NFL training camps open very soon.

The Kansas City Chiefs head up to St. Joseph this weekend. It’s year two for Andy Reid.  This is a solid team. They’re getting better, too.

On defense, I’m most interested in seeing what the secondary looks like.The Chiefs are getting back to AFC/AFL West roots with bigger, more physical cornerbacks and bump and run coverage. Pass rushing should not be a problem. The key on offense is how a shuffling of the offensive line works out. I’ll also be watching the situation at WR. Lots of questions and possibilities once you get past Dwayne Bowe. The running game should be strong again. Everyone knows about Jamaal Charles. Late in the ’13 season, Knile Davis showed that he can run the ball in the NFL.

I also expect a solid year from the St. Louis Rams. When Sam Bradford got hurt last year, the Rams found that they could run the ball quite well with Zac Stacy. The defense is as good as it has been since the team moved to St. Louis. I would not be surprised if Bradford blossoms into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season. The receivers won’t be confused with Holt, Bruce, Proehl etc., but that is a solid group. The NFC West might be the most interesting and entertaining division in the NFL this year.