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5 Reasons The Kansas City Chiefs Will Improve In 2013

The Kansas City Chiefs are a completely different team now than they were during the 2012 season.

For the 2012 Chiefs, everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. But now, with a new coaching staff and a slew of new players, Kansas City, on paper at least, is much improved.

Let’s take a look at five reasons the Chiefs will be better in 2013.

1. Alex Smith

It all starts with the QB. As 2012 went on, it became evident that the Chiefs were a team playing with very little confidence. In the NFL, the team goes as the QB goes. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn did little to inspire confidence in their teammates. Without a leader under center, the Chiefs were doomed.

Smith has had his struggles. Based on his last two seasons in San Francisco, Smith appears to be the kind of QB the Chiefs have been lacking for. If Smith can duplicate his recent success in Kansas City, he could convince his critics that he is a late-bloomer. Was Smith’s poor past performances the result of poor coaching and management or was his recent success a result of excellent coaching and a dumbed down offense designed to limit Smith’s mistakes?

The Chiefs and the rest of the NFL are about to find out.

2. The offensive line

It is looking more and more like LT Branden Albert is going to be with the Chiefs in 2013. If that is the case, KC could end up with the best offensive line in the NFL. There are some question marks on the interior of the line with youngsters like Rodney Hudson and Jeff Allen but Andy Reid and John Dorsey have done a great job of adding depth and competition this offseason. If the interior of the line holds up, the Chiefs will be hard to stop running the football.

3. Andy Reid

Head coach Andy Reid should make a massive difference in the Kansas City locker room. The 2012 Chiefs did not lack for talent, save at the QB position, but they were as a mistake-prone and undisciplined team as I’ve seen in a while. What was most frustrating about Romeo Crennel’s Chiefs was how talented they were. When Herm Edwards led the Chiefs to a 2-14 mark in 2008, it was hard to be angry about the team’s performance. The roster had been gutted and Chiefs fans were basically watching a college team playing in the NFL. They had no chance.

Crennel’s group showed often that they could play with any team in the NFL…but only until the shot themselves in the foot.

Reid will need to use his considerable experience to discipline this young Chiefs team. For all his faults, former Chiefs coach Todd Haley produced a much more mentally tough team that managed to make a playoff run with the likes of Tyler Palko playing QB.

These guys can win but they need the right leader to help them get there.

4. Justin Houston

Justin Houston was one of the few bright spots on an absolutely dreadful 2012 squad. Entering his third-year, Houston had Pro Bowler written all over him. If the Chiefs can manage to move the football and actually play with a lead on occasion, Houston and fellow linebacker Tamba Hali could find themselves among the league leaders in sacks.

5. Eric Berry

To most, Berry has been a disappointment. The former first-round pick has flaws in his game, mainly in coverage. But Berry has had a rough deal. He had a rough start to his rookie season but by the end of that year, he was a Pro Bowler. Then, an injury knocked Berry out for the entire 2011 campaign. 2012 began much the same way Berry’s rookie season did. Yet again, by the end of 2012, Berry was heading to Hawaii for his second Pro Bowl.

While Berry probably didn’t deserve his second Pro Bowl nod, his improvement over the course of 2012 was evident. If he stays injury free, 2013 will be the first time Berry has played consecutive seasons since entering the pros. I don’t expect any steps back from Berry from here on out. Only steps forward.

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  • Bosco Cletus

    Houston is the least talked about defensive star in the league right now, and that’s fine with me, let him fly under the radar and on his way to a 10+ sack season. Funny to me, he had better stats than Tamba last year but went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate because he wasnt a house hold name. I cant be the only Chief fan that’s glad he failed his piss test prior to the combine.

    Berry improved/got healthy over the second half of last season. You could see it week by week. Weeks 1 through 7 though he was a ghost on the field. I’m curious to see who they put next to him at FS.

    • KCMikeG

      Whole heartedly agree. I think Robinson will be the FS in our 3-4 but when we go nickel or dime Lewis, Abdullah, Brown, Commings or Menzie could be on the field. Great to actually have depth at the position if Lewis isn’t healthy.
      Houston will be a star as Paddy mentioned the impact the offense has on the opportunities the defense will have based on the score. I saw the same with Berry and believe he was returning to form. Though many are questioning if Moeaki will be back I saw the same improvement in him too. We could challenge the NE TE’s for the best in the NFL if he stays healthy. Reid’s WCO starts with the TE. I’m excited to see Moeaki, Kelce, Fasano, Bowe and Baldwin all lined up together. DC’s will be wetting themselves all over the NFL.

      • Bosco Cletus

        Another point about the secondary, Flowers never moved from the left side anytime in the last 5 years, no matter if the best WR shifted into the slot or not, I mean it was obvious opposing offenses did that to us the create mismatches with Arenas or whoever might be in the game. Curious to see if that change as well.

      • dominicscarlatti

        Moeaki is an underrated player. We’ve got great depth now at TE; Maybe AR will become to first HC to field a 3-TE formation…!!

        • KCMikeG

          Love the idea! GO BIG! Our three TE’s with Bowe & Baldwin. How does a defense deal with that?

  • mnelson52

    If our defensive line can collapse the pocket this year, our DBs should excel this year. The lack of pressure up the middle is the only thing that could keep the Chiefs from being a top 5 defense. You put that with the possibility of the best O-line in the NFL, and very good things can happen. Right now they are just good on paper though.

    • Kurt Rauch

      I expect defensive pressure up the middle to be above average in Poe’s second year. He may not be a highlight reel yet, but I think he’ll have his share of ‘moments’.

      • Bosco Cletus

        Poe swallowed two lineman on every play, its not glamorous by any means, but ask 50 and 56 if THEY like it. He did his job as a rook pretty well imo.

  • William Campbell

    Alex smith has never had this kinda talent on offense before.. Davis was about it (which is why his best stats are to the tight ends) crabtree was flakey at best and that o line while great in run blocking sucked at pass protection.. if our receivers and tight ends can get it together and our line can gel.. IMO Alex smith is smart enough to be a all pro qb in Reids system. Here’s hoping.. go chiefs!!!!

    • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

      Smith had a good line, excellent RB, excellent TE and an emerging WR in SF. I am not sure we are an upgrade over that. There is a reason SF went far and we didn’t. It wasn’t just their defense.

      • Lyle Graversen

        While I agree that the overall offensive talent was solid and I have a lot of respect for Frank Gore, I would still argue that Smith hasn’t had an offensive weapon as talented as Jamaal Charles on his team before. That having been said, I’d be thrilled if Smith can just repeat the stats that he put up his last couple of years in SF.

      • William Campbell

        Smiths line was shit in pass pro and excellent on run blocking.. crabtree is a poor mans Bowe.. and to say it was just their defense is to say the old adage “you need a qb to win in today’s league” is bullshit.. and post script jammal is an upgrade

    • Suzi Conger

      You are so right William.. I am a Cal-gal and X-SF9er (now KCC :) and most people (even 9ers) don’t realize what you revealed about AS’s pi-s poor pass protection in SF…’12 = 7th most sacked/rushed/pressured QB in nfl and shortest time to execute plays/passes; yet AS still excelled; #3 NFL ranked/rated QB , #1 rated for accuracy/completion% and AS was a MVP and ProBowl Nominee at time of concussion. Just think what he/team can accomplish in ’13 if he can finally get some good protection! Woo Woo GO CHIEFS!!

      • William Campbell

        I watched hours of film on the niners to come to those conclusions.. I hated the trade for smith till I watched the film and realized, put in the right situation he could be a very effective qb. I think he will make this offense better. Welcome to chiefs nation cal-gal!

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Coaching and QB play will be two major reasons this team will improve. Crennel seemed to have been outcoached in every game last season. Reid’s not a great in-game adjustment/clock management guy either, but this team will be much better prepared and more coached up. Alex Smith will help because he’s not the kind of quarterback who will be careless with the football. He won’t turn the ball over nearly as often as Cassel/Quinn did last year. Those two things should result in at least 5-6 more wins for this team in 2013.

    • Lyle Graversen

      I agree Stacy, if KC makes a big step forward this year it will be because of the upgrade in coaching and QB play. I think the team realized just how outgunned they were at those two spots last season and kind of lost their fight. The combination of improving those areas and bringing in guys via FA and the draft that are “tough” and won’t give up easily are the three top reasons I think this team will be significantly better.

  • Matt Finucane

    The O-line is really interesting to me, both tackles and interior. Looking forward to seeing how everything plays out there. Some question marks, but tons of potential.

  • RaySouth75

    With 2 new guys up front on defensive, I think we should be able to get more pressure on the QB. Plus our run defensive will be much better. With Jackson, Poe, and DeVito, it will be very good for what will be asked of them. Then with Houston, Johnson an Johnson, and Hali, I can’t wait for the mayhem that they will bring.

  • Justin KIRK-LEWIS

    I like how our oline is looking with Albert being in the equation. Nico Johnson gives us another mlb to go with dj which helps fill the hole left by belcher(which still was terrible what happened). Our DBS are now somewhat upgraded. Overall I see us goin maybe 9-7 as long as Alex smith stays healthy along with everybody else!

  • Arrowhead Adventurer

    Excellent piece ! I cant wait for the 2013 season to start!

  • chiefdeorty

    With smith as QB we can’t be anything but better, I am saying we will be at least 10-6. With the up grade in the defensive back field, this will make for more pressure because the coverage, Qb’s won’t be able to just stand back there and pick us apart. Also the offense will be much better, the O-line will be much improved which will make the running better and we will have I think a top 10 or better passing game. With all these things better the Chiefs will be a team that will have to be taken seriously again. I can’t wait to see the donkey fall.

  • twaddy

    Eric Berry’s been a disappointment? To whom? Berry had a great rookie season and then was victimized by one of the dirtiest cheap shots I’ve ever seen in the opener of his sophomore season. Last year he played de facto linebacker on many downs because we didn’t have anyone on the inside other than Derrick Johnson, who, while extremely gifted, can’t be everywhere on the field (though it often seems that he is). Adjusting to playing after a year of rehab on a torn ACL is pretty tough. I can’t imagine there are many teams that wouldn’t love to have such a “disappointment” on their roster.

    • Darkwolf1414

      There have been a TON of people saying that Berry is a bust! I agree with you, though. He has played very well and had he not taken that cheap shot to his knee he would be a year further along. I think he’s going to become THE premier Strong Safety in the NFL for the next several seasons.

  • Anthony Carlos Jr.

    I am so ready for the season!! Go Chiefs!

  • Suzi Conger

    Thank You Patrick for take on KCC

  • Johnny Ubben

    #6 We can’t get worse then last place. =D

  • Norman Gunn

    I love our depth at TE. Manning, Brady, Brees.. etc… all have multiple talented TE. I’ve coached football and TE’s can make or break a QB, ask Matt Cassel he would agree.

  • Susie Friedman Hodson

    Excellent article and I couldn’t agree more.