We are not even one week into training camp, and already, the excitement for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 has reached a level not seen since a little town in Montana changed its name to “Joe.” Not to pile on, but yes, actually, I’m going to pile on.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve made our best guesses at which games the Chiefs will win and lose. Now let’s turn our attention to the heroic individual performances that a select group of Chiefs players will achieve this season.
First let me say that I’m not a believer in individual accolades. I don’t play fantasy football for that reason and I don’t really put much stock in individual records because as we all know, the only record that matters is whether you win games. But shoot, it’s the offseason and it’s fun to imagine our favorite players atop their respective leader boards. Here are the Chiefs that I believe can be in contention to lead the NFL:
Dwayne Bowe: Bowe said a few weeks ago that he’d lead the league in receptions and touchdowns in 2013. This possibility is real. Leading the league in touchdowns is an easy one. In 2010, Bowe’s best year of his career, he had 15 touchdowns. That would have led the NFL last year. The receptions department is not too crazy either. Bowe caught 59 passes last year in 13 games. The league leader was Calvin Johnson, with 122 catches in 16 games. The math to get Bowe to 122 catches or more is pretty straightforward. In 2012, Bowe caught 52% of the passes thrown his way, just a horrendous percentage. In comparison:
Wes Welker caught 68% of the passes thrown to him by Tom Brady
Demaryius Thomas caught 67% of the passes thrown to him by Peyton Manning
Roddy White caught 64% of the passes thrown to him by Matt Ryan
Brandon Marshall caught 61% of the pases thrown to him by Jay Cutler
Guess who was the most accurate quarterback in the league last year? Yes, our very own Alex Smith, with a completion rate of 70.2%. If we extrapolate Bowe’s statistics from last year over a full, 16-game season and boost his completion rate to even 65%, Bowe will have 90 catches based on about 138 attempted throws. Then, if he can outperform 2012’s rate by just two more catches per game (or get thrown just three more passes per game compared to last year), he’ll have 122 catches for the year. That’s the difference an Alex Smith brings to the Chiefs, compared to Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn (remember them?!).
Alex Smith: There’s no reason that Alex Smith can’t once again lead the NFL in completion percentage. He’s got Head Coach Andy Reid, Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson and special coaches Brad Childress and Chris Ault developing the offense, and a bevy of receiving targets with Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster and like seventeen able-bodied tight ends.
Eric Fisher: A lineman
rookie has never won the Rookie of the Year award. Never. The award usually goes to so-called offensive “skill players,” like quarterbacks, wide receivers or running backs. At by “usually,” I mean the last forty-six awards. But in the 2013 draft, there were only four players out of the first round that fit the “skill player” description:
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams
E.J. Manual, QB, Buffalo Bills
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
If Fisher has just a monster year, totally dominating the right side of the line; if more national attention is focused on offensive tackles, which has certainly been the trend; and if he continues to carry the prestige and media attention of being the first overall pick; then he may be a likely contender for rookie honors.
Jamaal Charles: Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson will battle it out for the NFL rushing title. No brainer.
Dexter McCluster: McCluster will return kicks and punts; catch passes; and even get pitches, hand-offs and reverses in the Pistol. There’s almost no way he can’t lead the NFL in all-purpose yards.
Justin Houston: With an assist to Tamba Hali, who will still draw double coverage at least at the start of the season, Houston will challenge J.J. Watt, who led the league with 20.5 sacks for the Houston Texans. With an improved secondary, I can easily see Houston averaging 1.5 sacks a game.
Derrick Johnson: Johnson was third in tackles last year with 110, trailing only James Laurinaitis of the Rams who had 117 tackles and Lavonte David of the Buccaneers, with 112 tackles. With an improved defensive line led by Dontari Poe, Johnson should lead the league this year. Plus, you can just tell, Johnson is in his prime and pumped this year!
Addicts, that’s seven Chiefs who may lead the NFL in individual achievement, along the way to winning the AFC West, gaining homefield advantage, dominating throughout the playoffs, and winning the Super Bowl 72-0. Am I missing any individual performances? What do you think, Addicts?!!