Sunday, August 14, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: Kansas City Chiefs

Along with Tampa Bay, Kansas City was maybe the NFL's biggest surprise last season. Combine a good coaching staff with the league's best running game and a decent QB, plus a cakewalk schedule, the Chiefs were able to surprise everyone and win the AFC West. This year though, they aren't going to surprise anyone, and with a revitalized Chargers team waiting to strike, can KC repeat?

What's New: Nothing major, but there are some acquisitions that are worth talking about. On the offensive front, 2 new wideouts are going to try to be the perfect complement to all-pro Dwayne Bowe. 1st round pick Jonathan Baldwin from Pittsburgh and Steve Breaston coming over from Arizona should provide a nice trio of wideouts for the Chiefs, along with emerging TE Tony Moeaki. On the offensive line, Jared Gaither comes over from Baltimore, and he should help sure up the O-Line. On defense, there were also some other acquisitions of note. LB Brandon Siler comes over from San Diego, NT Kelly Gregg comes over from Baltimore, and SS Sabby Piscitelli comes over from Cleveland. The defense was right in the middle of the NFL ranks last year, and they were one of the best at getting after the QB. These acquisitions should only make the Chiefs D better.

Biggest Strength: On offense, it is the running game. It's coming off being number 1 in the NFL, and Jamaal Charles plus Thomas Jones has become an impressive combo. With the new wideout acquisitions, the offense is very, very good. Now they need to hope that Matt Cassel has a rebound year somewhat. On defense, the Chiefs can get after the QB better than a lot of teams. Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson anchor a very impressive pass rush that seems to be getting better by the day.

Biggest Weakness: The offensive line could use a little fixing up, but it was a good unit last year and should be OK this year. The secondary is good too, but again could use a little fix too. There are no glaring weaknesses on this team, although some may say that Matt Cassel is not the answer for the Chiefs. There may not be much agreement on that point though, but his performance in the playoffs left a lot to be desired. He has a lot to prove this year.

Outlook: They are in a 2 horse race with San Diego to win the AFC West this season, and there is no doubt that they can compete for it. San Diego is a tea on the rise, and on the rebound after a bad year last year, and the Chiefs still have a lot to prove, especially with a much tougher schedule this year than last (they only beat one team with a plus .500 record in the same Chargers). Can they compete? Yes. Will they repeat as AFC West champs? That's still an open question.

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