It is the start of another Chiefs season. Merlin has been a very bad writer and, before Paddy gets out his whopping stick, I better get some thoughts out. Preseason started with a bang. The Chiefs looked great against the Cardinals. Then, things went downhill, fast. Generally poor play and a banged up defense is not how you want to start any season. With a tough early slate of games, the Chiefs do not have the luxury of easing into the season. For the preseason, I expected the defense to be ahead of the offense. However, the opposite has taken place. Matt Cassel looks far more comfortable with Brian Daboll than he ever did with Todd Haley. What are reasonable expectations and concerns for the offense and defense this season?
Matt Cassel has to manage the offense, getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers. He does not lack for them. This team has more playmakers than any Chiefs team since the Trent Green offenses. I expect Brian Daboll to do for Dexter McCluster what he did for Reggie Bush. With Charles, Bowe, Breaston, Boss, Moeaki, Hillis, McCluster and a solid offensive line, there are no excuses for failure. Expect the Chiefs to be a run-first team this year using a single back and two tight ends. Cassel better stay healthy. Stanzi isn’t ready and Quinn is not impressive at all.
I am concerned about the offensive line. Rodney Hudson has to establish himself as a starting center. Also, depth is a concern. Outside of Jeff Allen, there isn’t a ready talent available. I would not be shocked to see Allen back up both tackle spots as well as both guard spots.
This defense has the talent to be a top 10 defense. Even expecting little from a rookie Dontari Poe, the Chiefs are loaded. I am not sure I am buying Anthony Toribio as a good starting nose tackle, but still. I would like to see more of Jerrell Powe. I do expect Romeo to work his magic and get a ton out of the defense.
However, lackluster play and injuries to Flowers and Lewis are concerning. Those two players could end up with nagging injuries all year that limits the effectiveness. Secondary depth is not great, even though Scott Pioli continues to draft defensive backs. Chiefs fans need to hope that Flowers and Lewis are back to close to 100 percent soon. Also, they need to hope that the lackluster defense was a product of preseason vanilla defensive schemes. The Atlanta game should prove a huge early test.
I do expect the Chiefs to win 10 games and take the division. With a difficult opening set of games, I may be reaching for my antacids quickly. I don’t think the Chiefs can get far in the playoffs. Frankly, Matt Cassel hasn’t proven he can have good games against good teams. He can’t carry the Chiefs far, but the Chiefs can carry him far.