Kansas City Chiefs: Preseason Observations
As the Chiefs prepare for their final preseason game, it’s a great time to take stock and see where the Chiefs are and what could very well be in store for them this season.
Elephants in the Room
Even without Jamaal Charles, the offense looks great. Alex Smith is a near Pro Bowl Quarterback when he has time to throw. Who knows how much Charles has left in the tank. If he is close to his former self, this offense could be an elite offense. Why the change? Andy Reid can point to time in the system and that is certainly a solid factor, but that ignores the elephant in the room. Really, two elephants. The first elephant is LDT. He looks like the game is finally clicking for him. The second elephant is Mitchell Schwartz. The addition of Schwartz reminds me a lot of when the Chiefs signed Willie Roaf. The addition of Roaf kicked a very good Left Tackle in John Tait to the Right Tackle spot. The offensive line went from a very good line to an all-time top ten line. With Schwartz and the growth of LDT, the Chiefs line could go from well below average to possibly the back end of the top ten. The wildcard is Parker Ehinger. The good news is that Ehinger seized the RG spot early and hasn’t let go. However, he has to give the Chiefs, at worst, slightly below average play. Poor play will really hurt the Chiefs. I am fairly comfortable with Zach Fulton and Jah Reid being the swing lineman off the bench, but I don’t think either one is real starting material.
Defense in Transition
Then we come to the defense. Are you ready for the flip? Until/unless Berry and Houston return in form, the Chiefs defense is in trouble. The offense is going to have to carry the team, perhaps for the whole season. Get ready for some 35-28 shootouts. The Chiefs have yet to play a good offense and yet haven’t looked good defensively, except against a poor Chicago team. There are troubling signs aplenty on the defense. Some highlights there. Paging Mr. Ford, Mr. Dee Ford? You have an elite first step, but wow. You are like a pet rock. I am not seeing the growth. You might not even make the team. Phillip Gaines? You have talent and play well when healthy. Speaking of healthy, that doesn’t seem to be your thing. The Chiefs are desperate for you to be healthy. Without good second Cornerback play, Marcus Peters will have to buy his own football to get his hands on one. Speaking of Cornerbacks. How do you spend a 3rd, 4th and 6th round draft picks on Cornerbacks and make a late trade for another one? With all the draft picks John Dorsey has spent on CB’s, the Chiefs shouldn’t need to trade a late pick for another one. This is a very troubling sign.
Other random thoughts. Justin March is Derrick Johnson’s eventual replacement. He is out of place playing beside DJ. Aaron Murray, see Dee Ford. Murray is another player that I am not seeing enough growth out of. The acquisition of Nick Foles might have sealed your fate and Tyler Bray’s. You may very well see a QB roster of Smith, Foles, and Hogan. Speaking of Nick Foles. His signing might be very important should Alex Smith be injured for a couple of games. Alex Smith is a much better QB than most people give him credit for. He is the kind of player who is going to be appreciated more when he is gone. When you see a new QB forcing balls into tight windows and getting picked off, people will be saying “You know, if Smith was at Quarterback…”. Enjoy Smith while you have him. He is a good Quarterback.
Super Bowl Aspirations
So where do the Chiefs rate? I consider them a 2nd tier playoff team. They have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, but could stumble and fall out of the playoffs. Both the offense and defense are potential top 10 units, but the defense’s rating is dependent on Berry reporting in shape, Houston coming back and playing well before the middle of the season as well as solid play from the 2nd CB spot. Folks, enjoy where the Chiefs are right now. You can legitimately dream of a Super Bowl for the first time in a long time.
On a personal note, I want to thank Laddie for inviting me to be a part of this website. I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you all and hearing what you have to say. Go Chiefs!