The eighth team on our 32-team preview is the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs can’t do too much worse than their 2012 year, when they only were able to accomplish winning 2 games. They fired Head Coach, Romeo Crennel, as well as General Manager, Scott Pioli. To replace them, the Chiefs brought in Andy Reid for HC and John Dorsey as GM, to try and lead this team back to their winning ways. Kansas City will be looking to win the division again since 2010 and have acquired a great deal of talent this offseason.
Offense: Jamaal Charles leads the 5th ranked Rushing Offense from 2012. Charles ran for over 1500 yards last season and is a challenge for any Defense to handle. He had 11 runs over 20 yards in 2012, and will take it to the house at any moment from anywhere on the field. He’ll be backed up by Knile Davis, who some felt was the best Running Back the 2013 Draft had to offer. Davis is big back with nice speed. He’s fought injuries in College and High School a lot, but when healthy, was a huge impact for his teams. If he and Charles can both stay healthy, they’ll be a stellar 1-2 punch in the NFL. Handing the ball off to them will be Alex Smith, formally of the San Francisco 49ers. Smith was traded after losing his job to Colin Kaepernick, and was really starting to put it all together the last few seasons. Since 2011, Smith has thrown for 30 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. It’s going to be very interesting to see if he keeps progressing in Kansas City. A lot of people had him written off as a bust (including myself) after being selected 1st overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. Chase Daniel was brought in to back up Smith, and the Chiefs also hit gold acquiring un-drafted Tyler Bray. Bray is a wildcard, as he could be the starter for this team in time. He has a long way to go, but has the talent and the arm that an NFL Quarterback requires. Alex Smith will have a good skill-set of Wide Receivers to get the ball to, and it starts with Dwayne Bowe. Bowe had a rib injury keep him out of the final 3 games last year, but was on his way to his 3rd straight 1,000 yard receiving season. He’s definitely a Top WR in the game and I’m curious to see if he can put up the best numbers of his career now that he seems to have a Quarterback. Jon Bladwin, Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster round out the other top targets that Alex Smith will have to help him. Bladwin has been a bit of a disappointment for being a 1st round pick so far, but will be looking to explode on the scene in 2013. McCluster is extremely versatile and will be used creatively by Andy Reid. If all the names I’ve mentioned so far can play to their full potential, Kansas City will not be anyone’s “easy week” on the schedule. Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano are somewhat household names to the non-casual fan, and will be competing in camp for the starting Tight End job. They’ll have some competition from a rookie, as Travis Kelce was chosen with the 63rd overall pick in the Draft. Kelce was recruited to the Cincinnati Bearcats as a Quarterback, and was moved to Tight End. He showed great promise in 2o12 as he averaged 16.0 yards a catch, with 8 touchdowns. Kelce has a good chance in camp to win the starting job if he can prove to pick up the Offense quickly. The Offensive Line will be very strong for Kansas City in 2013. Eric Fisher was extremely impressive at the Senior Bowl going against some of the best talent the Draft had to offer, and it earned him the 1st overall pick in this year’s Draft. Fisher will start at Right Tackle with Branden Albert starting at Left. That’s a combo of Tackles that almost any team would take as their starters, and they’ll make life easier on the Quarterback. Center Rodney Hudson is a talented player that the Chiefs chose in the 2011 draft, but missed a majority of last season with what Romeo Crennel called a “Broken Bone.” Hopefully, for the Offense’s sake, he’ll be healthy and better than ever for camp. If not, 6th round draft pick, Eric Kush, could see some time at the Center position. The starting Guards will more than likely be Jeff Allen and Jon Asamoah. In 2013, the Running game will probably continue to be the strong point of this Offense. If the Quarterback can work the play-action passing game well, Kansas City will give teams fits, and will not finish last in the NFL in Pass Ranking, as they did in 2012.
Defense: The 20th ranked Defense in the NFL last season got a bit stronger in the Offseason. The Secondary already had superb talents in Brandon Flowers at Cornerback (very overlooked in my opinion) and Eric Berry at Safety. Then they added Cornerbacks Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith in Free Agency. Robinson is slowing down a little, going into his 10th NFL season, but should match up well against Slot Receivers. Sean Smith is an exceptional Corner who will pair very nicely with Flowers. Kendrick Lewis will be Kansas City’s starting Free Safety, although some think this would be a good position for Dunta Robinson as well. The Linebacker corps is very strong for the Chiefs. Middle Linebacker, Derrick Johnson, has combined for 377 tackles, 5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions over the past 3 years. Akeem Jordan and rookie Nico Johnson will compete for the other starting Middle Linebacker spot. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are the Outside Linebackers in this 3/4 Defense, and are as good a pair as any. Houston has made a name for himself since joining the NFL in 2011; accounting for 15.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl in 2012. Hali has 35.5 sacks the last 3 seasons combined, and has made the Pro Bowl all 3 seasons as well. The odds are in both players favor for a return to Hawaii in 2013. Defensive Ends Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito will try to make things easier on the Outside Linebackers in 2013. DeVito was signed over Free Agency from the Jets, and was always a huge part of their Run Defense. Tyson Jackson has been trying to live up to expectations since being the 3rd overall pick in 2009, and seemed to show improvement in 2012. Defensive Tackle and 2nd year player, Dontari Poe, will anchor this 3/4 Defense. Poe was “raw” so to speak in 2012. He’ll be looking to prove that Offensive Lines have to double down on him, and that he’s a force for the Run Defense. This Defense has the talent to be rated Top 12 in 2013. They’ll need to show improvement from their 27th ranked Rush Defense in 2012 for that to come to fruition.
End Result: My 5-11 prediction seems a little harsh for this talented team. They do play a division that, aside from Oakland, has some pretty tough opponents, and will also play the teams of the NFC East in 2013.