Why should fans continue to watch the Kansas City Chiefs?
It’s a fair question to ask. There has never been more reasons for fans to totally tune out. The 2012 Chiefs are doomed. There will be no late season turnaround like we saw in 2011. This team isn’t likely to rattle off four wins in a row and they sure don’t look like they are capable of coming anywhere close to .500. In fact, with Peyton Manning leading the Denver Broncos, 8-8 is probably no longer the key to winning the AFC West.
But the reasons to stop watching the Chiefs go further than that. The team is in such a sorry state that there are few things to grab on to because the book is closing on so many things. No longer is there a reason to track the development of QB Matt Cassel. It is clear that the other QBs on the roster, Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi, aren’t coming to the rescue.
Romeo Crennel isn’t saving this team. In fact, it looks as though he is a huge part of the problem. Crennel is a dead man walking. The Chiefs would have to win out, and do so in impressive fashion, for Crennel to even have a prayer of retaining his job.
Sure, there is always a chance the Chiefs will put it together and turn in an enjoyable performance. Past that, however, the reasons to watch seem to be at an all-time low.
But don’t despair, Addicts. There are still a few diamonds in all this rough and at least five reasons to continue to tune in.
1. Justin Houston
The defense is in a mess so it is hard to get a full evaluation of how good Houston might be because he is in perhaps the least ideal situation possible. Still, despite all the madness around him, Houston has shown flashes that his development is moving right along. He is a very exciting player and when the Chiefs get a coaching staff/defensive coordinator that knows what they’re doing, he should be a force for years to come.
Houston is definitely a reason to keep watching.
2. Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki
Both these guys have been struggling this season but there have been signs in recent weeks that they are on their way back. Moeaki has been getting a little more involved in the passing game and Berry has made a few plays.
Neither is near where we’d like them to be but remember, unlike Jamaal Charles, these two are essentially going through second rookie seasons. Charles is a veteran and had far more experience than Berry and Moeaki when he went down. Once he got back to trusting his knee, he was able to return to being productive. Also, Charles is such an extraordinary player that even if his performance is down a bit this season, he is still very good. Even on an offense that is struggling mightily.
Berry and Moeaki are a different story. Not only do they have to overcome their injuries, they also have to overcome their lack of NFL experience. Both players were productive as rookies but they were also just scratching the surface of their potential. Because of their injuries, Berry and Moeaki missed as much pro football as they played coming into this season.
Berry, for instance, spent the entire offseason following his rookie season working on his coverage skills. Coverage was a major hole in his game and it was one he was working on filling in. Instead of spending the 2011 season putting what he learned into practice, he spent it on the sidelines. Then he spent all last offseason rehabbing.
Berry and Moeaki deserve to be cut a little bit of slack. They are essentially rookies all over again. They are working their way back and that is certainly a reason to watch.
3. The offensive line
People have their complaints about the offensive line but they’ve actually performed pretty damn well, considering the circumstances. Their guard is playing center, their center is on IR and they have a rookie playing guard. They also have a new right tackle.
Oh and they are learning a completely new offense (a terrible one at that).
As long as Pioli or his potential replacement decide to re-sign Branden Albert, the Chiefs will have a young and talented offensive line heading into 2013. Say what you will about Pioli but if he leaves this offseason, I feel like he’s left the Chiefs with a pretty good offensive line. Asamoah and Hudson seem like solid picks and they are still learning. Lilja, despite all the flak he takes is a solid guard and also a pretty good center. Allen is getting valuable experience and will have a realistic shot of pushing Lilja for a starting spot, should Lilja re-sign.
T Donald Stephenson has also seen some action in the team’s Jumbo sets and has made some nice blocks in the running game.
The development of all of these players is important so watch the lines a little bit instead of the ball.
4. The Dwayne Bowe farewell tour?
Could this be the end of the D-Bowe show in Kansas City?
It might be, even if Pioli gets fired.
Don’t get me wrong, any GM with a brain in his head should look at the KC receivers and make re-signing “The Show” his #1 priority. But it may not be that easy. The Chiefs are a mess and Bowe may just want to get the hell out of town. He is also going to want to get paid. Bowe won’t be handing out discounts to KC, which may mean that whoever is the GM will have to outbid the rest of the NFL to secure Bowe’s services. That, or the franchise tag will need to be employed again.
If the GM is Pioli, I doubt Bowe returns. If someone new is in charge, however, I’d guess the most likely scenario is that he gets franchised again, depending on how the new guy massages the salary cap. That way the new GM would secure Bowe for a season without having to commit long-term.
Regardless of what happens in January, your boy Bowe could be on his way out. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be tuning in to see the farewell tour. Bowe has been entertaining, which is more than we can say about the Chiefs as a whole.
5. They can still finish first
The Chiefs still have some very talented players on both sides of the ball and I have a hunch that if they get a coach and front office that has even the slightest idea of what they are doing, they might just start winning some games.
Derrick Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki, Jon Asamoah, Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Flowers are all locked up.
The Chiefs don’t need a roster re-build. They need a front office re-build. Remember, the 49ers were garbage back in 2010 and the next year they nearly made the Super Bowl.
What was the difference?
A change in leadership.
Change is almost certainly coming to the Chiefs this season.
But the one big change we can expect on the field is at the QB position. And that, my friends, if your biggest reason to tune in. Not because Ricky Stanzi or Brady Quinn are the answer.
Because they aren’t.
The Chiefs can still finish first…in the draft game.
The Chiefs are the worst team in football. They’ve treated us to nothing but misery all season long. We might as well get something out of it, right?
If that something is a franchise QB, then tune in and cheer for the Chiefs to win.
And watch them continue to lose.