These are my ludicrously early predictions for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010.
1. Dexter McCluster is going to be a star.
Not only that, he is going to be a star this season. All the reports I have read coming out of OTA is that nearly every practice, McCluster did something to impress those watching him. He either made a spectacular catch, ran a perfect route or wowed the coaches with his footwork and fundamentals.
All of this indicates that McCluster is disciplined and fundamentally sound thus making his transition from college to the pros easier for him. Sure, there is going to be a learning curve and all rookies make mistakes but McCluster appears to be poised to make an impact sooner rather than later.
With Bowe and Chambers helping to stretch the field, McCluster is going to be a prime outlet target for Matt Cassel. The goal will be to use McCluster’s speed and elusiveness to get plenty of yards after the catch. He’ll present a problem to defenses as both a speedy deep threat and a dangerous underneath receiver who can turn a 5 yard pass into a 30 yard gain.
If used properly, McCluster could be a serious rookie of the year candidate.
#2. Brandon Flowers will make the Pro Bowl.
And if he doesn’t he will be darn close. As long as Flowers doesn’t level off and there is no reason to believe that he will, he should put together a Pro Bowl worthy season. 2 years of experience, combined with improved support in the Chiefs secondary, should give Flowers the tools he needs to go from good to really good.
If Flowers can become a shutdown corner, he is going to make things easier on Rome Crennel and the rest of the defense. If receivers find themselves stuck on “The Island of Flowers,” © the Chiefs will be able to double team their opponents 2nd and 3rd receivers, which should prolong plays and cause more picks and more sacks.
#3. Dwayne Bowe will distinguish himself as a true #1 receiver.
I know things haven’t appeared to be going very well for Bowe as of late but I really do think he has learned his lesson.
He is in shape, a change from a year ago when he showed up to camp overweight. He also seems to be focused on football.In recent interviews, Bowe has been talking a lot about proving himself and reviving his career. I have never really heard that kind of talk from Bowe in the past. It seems like Haley has Bowe believing he can be great.
I think this is the season that Bowe finally learns to focus. He may still have issues with drops but his catches will more than make up for it. I look for him to have his highest receiving yards total to date. Also, having a full season with Chambers and McCluster helping to take some of the heat off of him, Bowe should seize the opportunity to finally realize his potential .
#4. The Chiefs will win at least 7 games.
All the signs are there. The Chiefs have an easier schedule, an improved team and an improved coaching staff. If each of those things are good for 1 win, the Chiefs will will 7 games.
Look, anything can happen in the NFL. A really talented team with really good coaching can lay an egg and go 4-12. It can happen. But the Chiefs should find their way back to respectability this season.
I am not predicting the playoffs. Not yet. I can’t do that until I have seen the team playing together on the field in the preseason. However, enough positive changes have been made that I think this team has a shot to win 7, 8 or maybe even 9 games.
Think about the Chiefs last season. They were an absolute mess. They had no running game for the first half of the season. No one was comfortable in the offense. The receivers couldn’t catch the ball and the defense couldn’t stop anyone. The team also had a pretty tough schedule.
Still, through all of that, through all of the turmoil, the roster turnover and even having to deal with Larry “Smack My Bitch Up” Johnson, Haley’s team managed to win 2 more games and Herm Edwards’ 2008 squad.
This team will win more than 4 games this season. Unless there is a rash of injuries, I just can’t envision a situation where this version of the Chiefs doesn’t at least snag 6 victories.
#5. Jon Asamoah and Tony Moeaki will turn out to be extremely valuable.
Not a lot of people realized what a steal Asamoah was when the Chiefs snagged him in the 3rd round of the draft.
From his Wiki page:
In his initial year at Illinois, Asamoah played in five of the last six games of the season at offensive guard as a true freshman. In 2007, he started at right guard in all 13 games and was in on 991 offensive plays. He recorded 80 knockdowns, blocking for 2007 Big Ten Player of the Year Rashard Mendenhall, who later was a first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft.
In his junior season, Asamoah was part of an offensive line that has helped the Illini rank first in the Big Ten in total offense (448.3) and pass offense (274.5) and second in scoring offense (30.4) through 11 games.
Asamoah was widely regarded as the 2nd best guard in the entire draft. The Chiefs actually have the luxury of having this kid as a backup. He will get to learn from Brian Waters and Ryan Lilja and he will be ready to go should one of them go down to injury. He will also be able to come in and spell the veterans when they need a rest, which will be very beneficial to keeping the aging Brian Waters fresh.
There is also the outside possibility that Asamoah starts wowing the Chiefs coaches in training camp. If that happens, don’t rule out the possibility that the Chiefs will slide Waters over to center and insert Asamoah into the starting lineup. This kid gives the Chiefs much needed flexibility and depth along the offensive line and during the grind of a 16 game NFL season, flexibility comes in handy.
Moeaki was a roll of the dice but if the Chiefs score with this kid, they are going to score big. Moeaki slid in the draft because of the dreaded “injury prone” label.
When healthy, Moeaki is a terrific TE. Now it is my understanding that the Chiefs medical staff is widely regarded as one of the best in the league. If they cleared this kid it is likely they felt Moeaki was simply the victim of some bad injury luck in college. If the medical staff cleared him then that is good enough for me.
As soon as Moeaki got on the field in OTA’s he started making impressive plays. I have a feeling this kid is going to be special. Perhaps not Tony Gonzalez special because a TG is a once in a lifetime kind of Hall of Famer but Moeaki could prove to be very valuable as big, sure handed target for Matt Cassel in the red zone.
It is still June but those are my early predictions.
What are yours?
*Note: “The Island of Flowers” is hereby copyrighted by Patrick Allen and Arrowhead Addict.