The Kansas City Chiefs have some work to do on offense. After finishing near the bottom of the league in scoring last season, GM Scott Pioli got to work on loading his offense with as many weapons as possible.
But we’ve been here before.
In 2010, the Chiefs were the surprise team of the NFL. The team turned a 4-12 record in 2009 into a 10-6 AFC West Championship in 2010. When the upstart Chiefs got to the playoffs, however, they got smacked around by the defensive-minded Baltimore Ravens. KC’s only TD in that game came from their best offensive weapon, Jamaal Charles. WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki were covered like blankets and Matt Cassel found himself out of options when needing to throw the ball.
Pioli responded by adding Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin in the offseason. He also snagged free agent FB Le’Ron McClain to add a little toughness. Unfortunately, the lockout slowed the team’s offensive progress. Baldwin got punched out by Thomas Jones and Charles was lost early in the season to an ACL injury. The tandem of Bowe and Breaston showed some flashes against lesser competition but as quickly as the Chiefs gained their footing, they lost QB Matt Cassel to a hand injury.
In 2012, Pioli doubled down. He added even more help at WR with Devon Wylie and Junior Hemingway. He also went out in free agency and added power-back Peyton Hillis. Brian Daboll, who had been the offensive coordinator in Miami, was also brought in.
While Daboll’s resume is not impressive, there is a feeling that he’s never gotten into the right situation to succeed. Though his teams in Miami and Cleveland were not particularly talented, he did always seem to elevate certain offensive players to breakout seasons. He did nice work with Josh Cribbs and Hillis in Cleveland and also was responsible for Reggie Bush’s best season while in Miami.
In KC, Daboll has more talent and weapons than he had in Cleveland and Miami combined.
But will he be able to get them ready in time?
The Chiefs under Cassel/Haley seemed to get off to slow starts offensively. In 2010, despite the team getting out of the gate fast record-wise, the offense didn’t seem to find a rhythm until after a few games. The Chiefs will be playing a reasonably difficult schedule in what is expected to be a tight division. They’ll need any advantage they can get. The sooner they are right on both sides of the ball, the better.
The process is already underway at the team’s OTA practices.
“You’re out on the field, you’re working on technique, you’re working on skills and you can’t spend enough time together as a unit, especially offensively with the new offensive scheme,” said QB Matt Cassel after Monday’s OTAs. “It really tones our skills, so these OTAs are pivotal for us as an offense and also as a team.”
Offenses usually start out a bit behind defenses as the struggle with their timing. With all the new pieces, including two new starters on the offensive line in Rodney Hudson and Eric Winston, the Chiefs will need every practice snap in order to be ready by the end of training camp.
The good news is, the offense will face a stiff test every day in practice when going up against their defensive counterparts. The KC defense has been together for a few seasons now and most of the players on that side of the ball have Romeo Crennel’s system down pat. The fact that KC is expected to have one of the top defenses in the league in 2012 should only help better prepare the team’s new offense for the rigors of the season.
We won’t get a look at the new offense until early August but for now, Chiefs fans are hoping that practice truly does make perfect.