Well, the Kansas City Chiefs’ NFL season is finally finished. Sure, there were highs (beating the San Diego Chargers). And there were lows (losing to the Chargers). But, for me at least, this whole season surpassed my expectations. For the most part, that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I could go back through the season and play the blame game. I could go back and say, “If they had only listened to me they would have won it.” I could complain about the play calls, schemes, and personnel packages. But I’m not going to do that. It’s useless to do so. The simple fact is that the Chiefs made it to the playoffs and lost. Change one thing about what occurred in the regular season and maybe we don’t make it to the playoffs at all.
That is not to say reflection upon the Chiefs and their season shouldn’t occur. In fact, it is necessary to do so for the off-season to be successful. However, it shouldn’t be focused about how we change the past. Instead, it should be focusing on how the Chiefs can be made better moving forward. To that end, let’s take a look at my early thoughts on the events that can help us be a better team next season.
The first thing that needs to occur is the Chiefs need get their house in order. Finishing the season with two blowout losses at home can be a little rattling. However, those are the least of their worries. The loss of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and re-signing linebacker Tamba Hali are the two matters the Chiefs need to remedy quickly.
Currently the name being tossed around to replace Weis is Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. He’s a young guy who just spent a couple seasons as coordinator under a young head coach who had previously been an offensive coordinator. I think it has the potential to be a good fit and hopefully will provide consistency for our offense.
As far as the Tamba Hali re-signing goes, I have to assume that the Chiefs were just waiting for the season to end before re-signing Hali. I will admit that there are worries to be had over this re-signing. If Hali has problems with Chiefs’ General Manager Scott Pioli or Head Coach Todd Haley then he may not be responsive to the Chiefs’ offers. And Hali is certainly coming from a place of power considering he, essentially, is the Chiefs’ pass rush. Pioli and Haley have always talked about the kind of players they want for the Chiefs and Hali is one of the greatest embodiments of that ideal. Hali deserves a good deal and to not re-sign him sends a bad message to the other players. This deal needs to get done quickly and cleanly.
The second event is free agency. There are several potential free agents that I’m excited about. One of which could address a need for the Chiefs. Center Ryan Kalil from the Carolina Panthers is set to be a free agent. He’s 25 and is a quality center. He would certainly be an upgrade and would keep us from having to use a draft pick on a center. There are a few other names out there that I have an interest in. Inside linebacker Paul Posluszny from the Buffalo Bills is one. He’s 26 and hitting his prime. Another is wide receiver Steve Breaston from the Arizona Cardinals. There are also a few potential free agents which have the added benefit of taking talent away from our division rivals. Players like cornerback/safety Champ Bailey from the Denver Broncos, running back Michael Bush from the Oakland Raiders, or fullback/running back Mike Tolbert from the San Diego Chargers.
Of course the keyword that I used was potential. I used it because there is a good possibility that there will be no free agency this year. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is officially over on March 4. If the NFL owners and the NFL Players’ Association can’t pull it together by then, there will be no free agency. The only side I’ve chosen so far in this mess is that of the fans. For millionaires and billionaires to be bickering over money, and unable to make virtually no progress towards resolution in months is despicable. At this time they have about a month and a half to reach a compromise. I only hope that leaders from both sides of the table emerge and work this deal out.
The third event is the one that always holds the most interest for me, the NFL Draft. It may gain even more attention than usual if it is the only source of acquiring major playmaking talent this offseason due to the lack of free agency. Echoing fellow Arrowhead Addict’s draft expert Merlin, the primary needs for the Chiefs are center, wide receiver, and nose tackle. Without free agency, those need to be addressed in the draft.
For me, if the last draft was about getting speed for the Chiefs, then this draft should be about getting power. Two of the primary needs for the Chiefs are players who play in the middle of the lines. Both positions require power to be truly successful. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Chiefs playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens. We had speed but they had power. Let’s keep the speed (in fact, add to it since we need a speedy receiver) and add power. We need power to be able to push the lines. I don’t want to go another year unable to get the hard one yard.
So there’s my opening salvo for off-season discussion. Understand that these are my early thoughts. I say that not expecting a whole lot of change to them, merely more detail. But what I do know for sure is that we need to keep moving forward.