The end of the football year came and went last night without our Kansas City Chiefs participating in the event followed around the world. As is customary, it’s time to look at the teams who participated in the Super Bowl and then take a look at the Chiefs as an organization and see if we can learn anything from those clubs.
Re-building the Roster
The first difference that stands out is that both the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots almost completely rebuilt their rosters over the 2017 offseason. While that’s amazing as always from the Patriots, the Eagles made enough changes that even with 5 Pro Bowl performers going down with injuries, they looked like the physically dominant team in the NFC… and a team that made it to the Super Bowl then of course won it 41-to-33.
The Philadelphia Eagles almost completely rebuilt their roster in the 2017 offseason. Here are all their transactions last year. It took three screen captures to put them together. It's not about the data but the mass of info pic.twitter.com/wdiLNxTEB0
— Ladner Morse (@Laddiemorse) February 5, 2018
There’s no need to show you the same list for the New England Patriots when I tell you that the Pats had as many transactions between August and December as the Eagles did all year. By contrast, here a look at the Chiefs transactions in 2017:
2017 K.C. Chiefs list of Transactions. pic.twitter.com/j7XXImEvpj
— Ladner Morse (@Laddiemorse) February 5, 2018
Of course, it’s not the total number of transactions that can make a team better, it’s the quality of those transactions. The point is… if the Chiefs are committed to making this an offseason of truly reconstructing their roster, then we should see the number — and hopefully the quality — of transactions increase.
What Wins Championships?
The combined yards in this Super Bowl set a record even though both defenses were reportedly some of the best in the NFL. Even so, the two teams in the Super Bowl set a record for the most yards in ANY game. While it appears the Chiefs defense needs more attention this offseason they should not pass up the opportunity pack the offensive roster full of play-makers if they become available either in the draft or through free agency.
Both DraftTek and CBSSports rank James Washington out of Oklahoma as the second best WR is this draft. DraftTek place him as the 20th best prospect and CBSSports at the 15th best prospect. As much as I believe he’ll be gone by the time the Chiefs pick for the first time at pick #54, Washington has appeared multiple times in mock drafts I’ve done. If he is there when the Chiefs pick, they need to jump on him. Bluntly put, James Washington is like Jeremy Maclin on steroids.
A Diversified Running Game
Both the Eagles and the Patriots have multiple running backs who can help the team win, when in specific situations.
- Eagles RBs: Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement, Kenjon Barner
- Patriots RBs:James White, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, James Develin, Mike Gillislee, Brandon Bolden
- Chiefs RBs: Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West, Akeem Hunt, DeAnthony Thomas
For the Chiefs to become a more diverse and competitive team they must address the RB position. One injury to starter Kareem Hunt and their season is lost as it stands.
The Value of an Experienced Back-up QB
There never will be a season when all the starters stay healthy all season long. The Chiefs have been fortunate to have a QB like Alex Smith for the past five years because he has only missed a handful of games. Nick Foles taking over for Carson Wentz and finishing out the season by winning the Super Bowl showed the critical importance of a good back-up quarterback. Foles went 28-of-43 and threw for 373 yards and 3 TDs plus a TD reception. The only question now is, where will Foles be playing next season? He’ll be the starter somewhere… if he wants to be. Or, the Eagles may decide to pay him better to keep him around in case Wentz doesn’t recover as they hoped.
The Inverse of “Pressure on the QB”
With both SB teams going off offensively, it’s obvious that the offensive lines were mostly able to keep their QBs from getting pressured much. There was what, one Punt in the entire game? Including none by the Patriots. What that means is, the Chiefs need to bolster their offensive line… and I’m not talking about making Cameron Erving the next Right Guard. The whole unit couldn’t dominate vs. the Titans so I’m not sure how the Chiefs OL can dictate in the game’s biggest show.
Signing “Athletes” and “Football” Players
I commented during the game that the Eagles remind me of TCU. Having lived in the Dallas area previously for a good many years, I’ve listened to my fair share of DFW sports talk and the consensus and general knowledge about TCU is that when they can’t sign the best players in the state (Texas is an extremely competitive recruiting ground) then they will seek out the best of athletes and place them in positions where they can succeed. There have been times when I’ve thought the Chiefs didn’t have the most athletic players on their roster. Why does that matter? Because when you have all-round athletes — perhaps two and three sport stars — then you can ask them to execute plays like the one in which Nick Foles had a TD pass thrown to him by Trey Burton. Burton was a “dual-threat” athlete in high school throwing for 3,275 yards in his last two seasons at Venice High School, in Florida, but also ran for 1,740 yards during that time before he was recruited by Urban Meyer to be a QB but ended up playing several positions including WR, TE, FB as well as QB. Burton was an undrafted free agent so… the Chiefs need to do a better job signing UDFAs as well as scouting lower round players. Hopefully, better all-round athletes.
The Prevent Offense/Prevent Defense Default
Both Andy Reid and DC Bob Sutton have the ability to “scheme-to-win” when the game is on the line… much as Doug Pedersen did in the Suer Bowl but, they haven’t shown yet that they’ll do it. This may be a problem of “comes-with-the-territory” in that as long as Reid and Sutton are the coaches in K.C. then this problem is going to exist. You would think that Andy Reid would “learn” something from his old pal Doug Pedersen… but I wouldn’t count on it.
An Ownership in Question
Five years ago Clark Hunt changed the way the GM and HC report to him. While this sounded like a good move at the time, it’s now an uncertainty that this is a system that’s best for the team and administrators. Some have criticized Clark Hunt for wanting only to put fan’s butts in seats and not win a championship. The only comparative critique I can offer is that, Clark Hunt didn’t buy this team… it was handed to him. Not so with the owners in NE or Philly. When you work for something, it can mean a lot more to you. I’m not sure that’s the problem here but it doesn’t appear the Clark Hunt is enough of a “hand-on” owner.
Anytime your team isn’t in contention for their own conference championship trophy — in this case a trophy that’s named after Clark Hunt’s father — then that ownership person or group must come under fire. This path that Clark Hunt has taken us (the Kansas City faithful) on began half a decade ago and so, he deserves what ever assessments or editorial comments that fans and media may have. After all, it’s not been just five seasons… it’s been once in 47 years that the Chiefs have even played for the Lamar Hunt Trophy so Clark Hunt must do more than “defer” to his head coach on matters concerning the team..
What the Chiefs Do Have?
The Chiefs are NOT a team without assets and pluses. Let’s take a look:
- An above average OL
- A QBOTF in place (but still an unknown)
- A Pro Bowl WR
- A Pro Bowl TE
- A Pro Bowl RB
- A Pro Bowl CB
- A Pro Bowl Safety
- An up and coming young DL (C. Jones), ILB (Ragland), CB (Fuller), and Kicker (Butker)
- A very good play caller (Reid) the first 3 quarters of the game
- Players who have bought into the system
- A potentially strong owner
- The best — and loudest — stadium and fans in the NFL
That’s the State of the K.C. Chiefs Union. What can you add that I may have missed?
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