For the second straight week the Kansas City Chiefs were destroyed on their home field. Last week the Chiefs could use the excuse that they already had the AFC West (and the playoffs) locked up. This week there are no excuses. Baltimore walked into Arrowhead and proved beyond any doubt that they were the better team.
As Kansas City Chiefs fans, many of us had held out hope that the Chiefs would prove the pundits wrong and bounce the more experienced Ravens from the playoffs. After the 30-7 blowout many of us felt like the guy in the picture above. As the dust settles we are beginning to start the process of appreciating the Chiefs’ turnaround season.
Popular “pick me ups” include:
“We won as many games this season as we had the previous three years combined.”
“Not even most die hard Chiefs fans thought we’d break .500 this year, yet alone win the division.”
I could go on, but you get the picture.
I’m here to tell you that the reason for optimism goes beyond that. After the jump I’ll explain to you why the Chiefs have the 10 most important pieces of a Super Bowl winning team already in place.
I’ve broken the foundation of a Super Bowl winning team into the five most important spots to fill for both the offense and the defense. Let’s start with the defense.
Run Stuffing Defensive Lineman – Glenn Dorsey - Dorsey recorded 69 tackles this season (and another 11 on Sunday) which ranks him 5th in the NFL among defensive linemen and 2nd behind Justin Smith for 3-4 defensive ends. FYI, Richard Seymour‘s career best was 57.
Productive MLB – Derrick Johnson - Johnson recorded 121 tackles (15th in the NFL), 16 passes defended (1st in the NFL among LBs and more then CBs like Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson), and 4 forced fumbles (Tied with Tamba Hali for 2nd in the NFL among LBs).
Elite Pass Rusher – Tamba Hali - Hali was second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks. As mentioned above, his 4 forced fumbles was tied for second in the NFL among LBs. He did all that while being held on almost every play.
Shut Down Corner – Brandon Flowers - Flowers tackles and passes defended were both down this year. Not because he didn’t play well, but because teams realized they shouldn’t throw at him. Need more proof? According to Football Outsiders, the other teams’ #1 WR averaged just 44.1 yards per game against the Chiefs. That is number three in the NFL and that is mostly due to Brandon Flowers.
Big Play Safety – Eric Berry - 92 tackles, 4 interceptions (1 for a TD), 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and 13 passes defended. He added another 10 tackles and 4 pass deflections on Sunday against the Ravens and was all over the field. Not bad for a rookie.
Now let’s look at the offense.
Franchise Left Tackle – Branden Albert - Albert is not a pro bowler (yet) but in his third year he helped the offensive line reduce the number of sacks allowed by 13 (32 down from 45) from last season. According to Football Outsiders the Chiefs were the 5th best team in the NFL on runs at the LT.
Reliable Tight End – Tony Moeaki - In today’s NFL finding a TE that can run routes well, catches the ball reliably, and can be a force blocking in the run game are a huge asset to an offense. Moeaki put up better rookie numbers then KC’s all time great Tony Gonzalez. His 47 receptions were 5th among all NFL rookies and 14th among all NFL TEs. Once again, not bad for a rookie.
A True #1 Wide Receiver – Dwayne Bowe - Bowe may have only been 19th in the NFL in receptions but that had more to do with how little KC threw the ball then how good Bowe was. Despite KC’s focus on the run Bowe’s 1,162 yards was still 7th in the NFL and his 15 TDs was by far the most in the league.
A Star Running Back – Jamaal Charles - 1,467 yards on only 14.4 carries per game. There’s not much more to say except WOW!
Franchise Quarter Back – Matt Cassel - This is the one that most Chiefs fans will debate. The bottom line is Cassel finished the season with a QB rating of 93.0 (8th in the NFL), 27 TDs (8th in the NFL), 7 interceptions (5th in the NFL), and led his team to 10 wins (tied for 8th in the NFL). He may have his weaknesses but when you are in the top ten in QB rating, TDs, INTs, and wins you are doing something right.
I think we all can agree that it takes a lot more then those 10 positions to win in the NFL, but I really think those are the ones that are hardest / most important to find. Now not all 10 are Pro Bowlers, but I feel good about all 10 going forward. If I’m right, then KC becoming a Super Bowl caliber team will come down to them finding 43 other players to compliment these 10 key players. That’s where Scott Pioli comes in. Pioli’s mantra since he came to town is finding the “Right 53″ not the most talented. If that truly is his specialty then we are in great shape. I also believe that we have the type of coach that will get the best out of those players.
So here are the questions I have for you Addicts:
Do you agree that those are the 10 most important positions to fill?
Do you agree that we have good players in all 10 of those positions?
Do you think we have a GM that can find the “Right 43″ to go along with these 10?
Do you think we have a coach that can motivate his team to get the best out of them?
If the answer to all four of these questions is yes then the Chiefs are not only “in good shape”, but they are set up to become one of the best teams in the NFL for years to come. I’ll leave you with this. The ages of the players I listed above are 25, 28, 27, 24, 22, 26, 23, 26, 24, and 28. That means the average age of our “foundation” players is 25.3 years old. Watch out NFL.
Thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!