This Chiefs team has come leaps and bounds from where it was following our memory-staining 2-14 season in 2008. Now we stand as a playoff team, with perhaps the best collection of draftees by a single team in 2011, and the future’s looking aces.
Aces, that is, in the long term.
We will not be competing for a Super Bowl in 2011. Not with our abundance of youth, not with this lockout stalling the development of that youth, not with our vicious schedule, and not with a Matt Cassel that has yet to play up to Super Bowl ambitions.
So let’s take a look a little deeper into the future. After the season ends in 2011, we will be faced with known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. So looking at the team as we have it now, what key assumptions can we make about our needs for next year? We want your answers in comments.
It’s a tricky question with obvious limitations, but it’s particularly tricky this year because we drafted so amazingly well last month, that we hit on every key need this team needs. But still, holes remain. We need to get over that hump from playoff fringie to Super Bowl contender. What are we missing?
Again, we want your answers in comments. My answers is after the jump.
1. Franchise nose tackle. As Big Matt wrote recently, Ron Edwards is still the favorite to man the starting job next year, as Jerrell Powe only earns spot work. The Chiefs need an answer at this position that it can bank its franchise on.
2. Franchise left tackle. We are truly entering the make-or-break year for Brandon Albert.
3. Slot receiver. Dexter McCluster was not the solution, and has looked really sharp running the ball. If the Chiefs elect to bring him back, Kevin Curtis could band-aid the position for the short term.
4. Better inside linebackers. DJ is all fine and dandy, but Javon Belcher is not a Super Bowl thumper — although he’s young enough that development is possible. DeMorrio Williams and Corey Mays are uninspiring. The Chiefs picked up 2nd-year thumper Micah Johnson, who I’m really excited about.
5. A legitimate “big back” in the backfield. This situation is so dire that people are predicting the Chiefs could opt for Ricky Williams. Ricky. Williams.
6. Wide receiver depth. The Johnny Baldwin selection was a stroke of genius, but this team should have double-dipped at wide receiver. There is nothing behind Bowe and Baldwin.
7. Secondary depth. Strange to say for a team that, under the past few years, has drafted Flowers, Carr, Washington, Berry, Arenas, Lewis, and Brown. But Carr is probably not long for this team (the Patriots rarely shelled out for both starting corners when Pioli ran the team), and the safety situation is really weak after Berry and Lewis.
8. Elite kicker. This is insignificant enough of a demand for the Chiefs, and the Chiefs under the 4th down gunner Todd Haley really devalue kickers. But this team can make a lot of its life easier on itself if it spends a future mid-rounder on an iron-legged touchback-machine.