Jamaal Charles is coming off a major injury, and Hillis just had a hamstrung campaign in Cleveland. Until either plays fast, running back is an area of concern. Moeaki and Cassel, also key cogs, finished the season on injured reserve. Basically, there are medical and speed questions to be answered all over the offense. How recovered are these guys? Defensively, the Chiefs hope to get back a healthy and impactful Eric Berry. Routt has a tall order replacing the departed Brandon Carr at corner. Romeo Crennel will be going with third-year player Kendrick Lewis at safety again. If this group can ball out in 2012, there’s no reason the Chiefs can’t pull off the upset in winning the AFC West. Although, it sure would help if defensive end Tyson Jackson would take a step (any step) this season.
There is no doubt the Chiefs believe in Cassel. It is up to him to prove the team right.
There was speculation in both free agency and before the draft that the Chiefs would replace Cassel, or, at least, bring in legitimate competition. Like many teams, the Chiefs showed initial interest in Peyton Manning, but he never returned the interest. The Chiefs also investigated some of the top quarterbacks available in the draft.
If you’re unsure how you feel about Pioli, I suggest reading Michael Holley’s “War Room,” which chronicles Bill Belichick’s rise and focuses heavily on Pioli’s early days in the league. One snapshot of Pioli back in the winter of 1991 — then an assistant coach at Murray State — tells of him roaming the nation in a beat-up jalopy searching for players. His battered vehicle barely picked up radio; fuzzy traces of nothingness. He drove for hours/days in silence, obsessed with finding linemen for the Racers. Somewhere on the road, this football-obsessed figure learned our nation had entered the First Gulf War — days after the fact.
Pioli’s run in Kansas City has been an up-and-down affair, but his professional relationship with Romeo Crennel stretches back into the 1990s. They speak the same language and feel good about the giant linemen they acquired in this draft.
“It is frustrating because I feel like not everyone understands a 34 defense and what we do in particular,” Dorsey said. “You can’t compare our defense to anybody else because it does different stuff.
“It does get frustrating at times, but just me personally, I kind of feel like people don’t understand how hard we work. It is what it is. People are entitled to their opinion. I have mine just like everybody else, so you can’t do anything about it. Just keep on working.”