Chiefs Final Offseason Report Card

As I’ve said before, a team proves its worth in wins and losses, not in personnel moves and potential. Everything that the new regime has done this offseason will now be put to the test with pads on and real opponents to face in the coming weeks.

However, it is still worthwhile to give this team one last look over and decide where they’ve gotten better, where they’ve gotten worse, and where development has been stagnant. The score, not surprisingly, is quite good.

 

QB: Way BETTER. The Chiefs really couldn’t have been much worse at the QB position last year. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn combined for 8 TD’s, 20 INT’s and 10 fumbles with a collective completion percentage of 57.5 percent. They also finished 36th and 38th in DVOA (Football Outsiders’ main QB value measure). In case you had forgotten, there are only 32 teams in the league, making the 2012 Chiefs QB pair worse than the worst quarterbacks in the league. Alex Smith obviously has his limits, but last year our QB’s were literally killing the team. Smith won’t do that at least, and for what it’s worth he came in at 10th in 2012 DVOA.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Also, I’m a lot higher on backup Chase Daniel than most. He’s impressed in every preseason and the Saints showed a lot of confidence in him by keeping him as the only backup to Drew Brees on a team that is built around the pass like no other in the league. The team still has a couple of developmental guys to boot in Ricky Stanzi and Tyler Bray, though only one will make it on the 53-man roster, I’m sure.

WR: BETTER. As always, we have question marks at the number two spot, but Donnie Avery is an improvement over Steve Breaston and we’re still waiting on youngsters Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster to rise. Avery also gives this group speed, something it has not had in a very long time.

TE: Also, much BETTER. Tony Moeaki has a lot of promise but was still obviously recovering from an ACL most of last season. Adding Anthony Fasano and drafting Travis Kelce makes this a very strong group.

O-LINE: BETTER. The additions of a healthy Rodney Hudson, Geoff Schwartz and 1st-overall-pick Eric Fisher should solidify a line that was pretty strong last year already.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

RB: SAME. This team is built around Jamaal Charles and he has a bunch of young, unproven legs behind him. But, I’ll take the promise in Knile Davis over the 260 lbs of disappointment from Peyton Hillis. But, once again, this unit is not concretely better with proven talent from 2012.

D-LINE: SAME. This one is also pretty much a wash. They switched out Glenn Dorsey for Mike DeVito, which are basically the same guy — dependable run-stuffers with limited pass-rushing ability. In fact, that has essentially been the story for the whole unit. I think what tips this in favor of “better” is the continued development of Dontari Poe and the new defensive scheme brought by Bob Sutton that is going to have these guys attacking, not just holding gaps like they did under Romeo.

LB: WORSE. This is about the only area where I think I lean towards the unit getting worse, and even then it’s far from dramatic. The Chiefs have three pro-bowl LB’s in Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Last year, Jovan Belcher was dependable, if unspectacular at the other ILB spot. Now the spot has been totally revamped with Akeem Jordan, who’s mostly played outside in a 4-3, and 4th-round pick Nico Johnson, who I’ve seen nothing from on film, and I fear he benefited from simply being on the best defense in college football down in ‘Bama.

CB: Also, much BETTER. The Chiefs said goodbye to Javier Arenas in exchange for a fullback (who’d he piss off?) and brought in Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith, probably the top two free agent CB’s out there, both of which started for their previous teams.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

SAFETY: I’ll say WORSE, just for the sake of variety. Kendrick Lewis has shown flashes but can’t stay healthy and in the past we at least had instinctive veteran Jon McGraw to step in for him. Right now, the depth behind him is all unproven. Tysyn Hartment (-10 points for that name) filled in well at times last year and Quintin Demps has starting experience, but he hasn’t had an interception since 2011 or a sack since 2008. The rest of the depth includes guys with some promise, but nothing to hang your hat on if Lewis breaks again.

COACHING: A million times BETTER. The Chiefs had by far the worst coaching staff in the league last year, and I’m not one to throw around superlatives like that lightly. To quote NFL Network’s Dave Dameshek, “A relatively talented roster got Romeo’d last season (Crennel might be the worst head coach of the past decade)”. I’ve been an Andy Reid fan since his Philly days and I’m very excited to see what he does with this offense. Bringing in Chris Ault and Brad Childress as specialists is also intriguing and I really like that Sutton is going to get this defense attacking again.

 

While my Chiefs optimism is tempered with tons of caution as usual, there is simply no chance that this team will not improve its win-loss record this year. Not only has it shrugged off the huge weights that were holding it down for so long in its inept QB and coaching group but it has improved in virtually every other unit on the field. The sky’s the limit, now it’s time for the team to put its money where it’s mouth is.

Topics: Chiefs, Offseason

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  • ladner morse

    Nick. Good post. I agree most of the way down the line.

    When you said, “who I’ve seen nothing from on film”… did you mean you haven’t seen film on Nico Johnson or… you haven’t seen anything “good” out of him on film?

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      The latter. The only thing I’ve found on him on YouTube is the games against LSU and Tennessee. He looked good in neither, especially against LSU, where he blew coverages several times. He seems to have the physical talent to be good if he is coached up a bit, but he doesn’t look like a guy we can count on this season. As I said in a post a few weeks ago, I think Jordan could be productive for us, but he’s playing out of position as a 3-4 ILB, so his past work doesn’t give us much to go on in terms of how he is going to shake out.

  • Lyle Graversen

    Good take overall Nick.

    I think ILB is definitely a question mark, but I also don’t think it would take much to break even with what Belcher gave them there. Could they be worse? Yes, but they could easily be just as good or better too.

    In terms of safety, I don’t believe McGraw was on the team last year. It was Abe Elam was the back up and I’m not sure Husain Abdullah, Quentin Demps, and Sanders Commings don’t give them more depth there than they had last season.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      Yeah, I know McGraw hasn’t played for us since 2011 but I miss him. My point was that since he retired we have had zero reliable depth at safety.

  • john harlow

    I agree with most what was written with the exception of the dl and the safteys. Let’s first talk about the dl they are pretty much the same unit but trading D Vito for Dorsey is an upgrade because Dorsey refused to put out but we have a player who s a horse against the run teams will not avg., 5+ yards per carry any more. But I feel that makes this is our dl coach and our dc that is what is going to make us not only as a dl but as a whole. Now let’s take alook albwith 3 pro bowlers and with Akeem Jordan and Nico aJohnson both will contribute a lot and will be an assast to our team. The saftey have depth there not only with Cummings and Abdulah but with most of the db they fan play either position which is good. Now overall our team is a major plus not many minuses from the gm to the coach to the players folks I leave with this that this will be one of the better teams so get ready for a lot of wins Go Chiefs

  • Calchiefsfan

    Pretty spot on Nick. I think Abdullah is kind of a wild card at safety. He could come in and play very well. If that happens we got better.

  • john harlow

    You know guys here is what I see Coach Reid has brought in a lot of people free agents draft pics and undrafted free agents, so we are going to see a lot of new people on the team. What I seeis that Coach Reid will get his players or his type of playersthat might mean that some Pioli player he signed will be let go but it will be for the better. So untill training camp starts for sure Sunday in pads we won’t know how our team will start to look . Yes the starters that are set unless a player out performs themwwill have no problem but the players who will are the backups and situation guys your pass rush specialist nickel backs. That being said with a couple of people I feel that we have the makings of a very solid team not only that but a smart one.

  • NicholasAlanClayton

    I just realized I left out special teams, well, I’ll say BETTER: We were able to retain the services of the AFC’s best punter and Succop is dependable. Sure, we still have no proven returners, but our lineups and production in that department were proven to be shoddy in the past. I’m confident Dave Toub, who made Devin Hester a star, will be able to get us at least a couple special teams TD’s this year, and that’s an improvement.

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