2013 K.C. Chiefs: The 25 Moves That Made The Difference

The Kansas City Chiefs are about to play the most meaningful game they’ve been apart of since they played the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs on January 9, 2011. In 2010, Kansas City had won the AFC West and then Baltimore came to town and shamed them 30-7 on Arrowhead soil.

In 2011 and 2012, the Chiefs combined record was 9-23. The Chiefs have already won as many games this year as they had in the previous two seasons.

The Kansas City Chiefs were the league’s worst team in 2012 and with a win this weekend could be considered the best team in the league. Worst to first happens so rarely in sports and even if the Chiefs aren’t “the unquestioned best” in the league right now, their transformation has been nothing less than miraculous.

This piece could have been called “25 Reasons the Denver Broncos Should Be Scared” but they’re probably concerned enough as it is so we’ll stick with what we’ve got.

However, it’s no small question to answer when asking how did such a dramatic transformation come about so quickly? Here then, are the 25 Moves That Made a Difference For The 2013 K.C. Chiefs.

The prelude to these moves is the work owner Clark Hunt did before 2013 began. On December 31st Hunt relieved head coach Romeo Crennel of his responsibilities and more importantly made an organizational structure change which has him hiring the head coach himself instead of leaving that task GM under a general manager’s control. In this system Hunt has both the GM and the head coach reporting directly to him.

1. January 4, 2013, Clark Hunt hiring new head coach Andy Reid

The meeting Clark Hunt had at the end of 2012 with Marty Schottenheimer wasn’t about Marty, it was about what he thought of Andy Reid. The glowing recommendation Schott gave Reid was a big reason he’s the Chiefs HC today. Reid’s run in Philly was obviously winding down and when he became available, Hunt left no time for Reid to look elsewhere. So far, Reid has been more impressive for the other coaches he’s brought in, than for the job he’s doing with the offense.

2. January 4, 2013, Clark Hunt firing GM Scott Pioli

Probably the happiest moment of the winter for me in terms of Chiefs decisions. Pioli’s cloak and rubber dagger style got old early on and his poor personnel decisions ultimately equaled a 2-14 season. The moment he left the building, the Chiefs organization felt improved.

3. January 11, 2013, Andy Reid hiring Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton

Grabbing Sutton off the Jets staff was about as shocking as changing a toilet paper roll. However, there has likely not been a bigger hire by the Chiefs this year. Sutton has transfigured the Chiefs defense into the best defense in the NFL and has everyone who follows football from coast to coast wondering if his D can beat one of the best QBs to ever place his hands under another man’s private parts in public.

4. January 13, 2013, Clark Hunt hiring new GM John Dorsey

To get a feel for what a wonderful job John Dorsey has done as the GM Chiefs you need look no further than the “Fire John Dorsey” Facebook page. Your cause is lost when your best quote is,

The Kansas City Chiefs have led for 0 minutes in regulation since hiring John Dorsey.

And that came from January 15, 2013. Say what?

The Chiefs ended up with the best of all worlds when they got Reid for coaching and Dorsey for player selection. The years that Reid spent in Philly doing both the GM and coaches jobs were really his down years. Dorsey coming out of the Green Bay organization was cherry picking at the top of the NFL pecking order. I’m not sure Clark Hunt could have done it better if he had it all to do again… ten times.

5. January 15, 2013, hiring Special Teams coach Dave Toub

Toub came to the Chiefs from the Chicago Bears where he had a long history (2004-20012) of providing the team with one of the best special teams units in the game. Toub arrives in K.C. and instantly the special teams is special. While the return game was better in the preseason than during the season the special teams has helped to win games and also forces other teams to start their drives with some of the worst field position in the league. Dave Toub, rhymes with space probe. Don’t forget his name. Second best coordinator hire this year.

6. February 18, 2013, signing S Husain Abdullah

Reid moves to bring aboard a player who had taken time off from the game of football. For a year Abdullah and his brother went on a year long pilgrimage for their faith. Husain was an outstanding player for the Vikes at the time and while everyone wondered what Reid was doing at the time I don’t think there has been a personnel move more symbolic of the kind of quality people he and Dorsey were looking to bring aboard. So far, Abdullah has been a lot more than just a good back-up. He’s made significant plays and has helped the Chiefs get where they’re at right now. Perfect.

7. February 27, 2013, trading for and signing QB Alex Smith

Not my favorite move at the time, Alex Smith has turned out to be a position stabilizer with a terrific upside. Besides that, he signed my Chiefs cap at training camp. That’s when he really got good. There were so many times last season, during the Chiefs games, that I would say to myself, if the Chiefs only had a solid QB they’d be a very good team. Guess what, 9-0 is a little better than a very good team. Smith, as much as naysayers wish to argue otherwise, is a huge reason the Chiefs are loss-less today and leading the AFC West.

8. March 4, 2013, resigning WR Dwayne Bowe

Bowe knows bad timing. The worst. However, it was one of the strong moves that Reid and Dorsey made tying Bowe up to a long term deal early on. Bowe may yet prove to be the Chiefs all-time leading receiver but his signing was something previous GM Scott Pioli couldn’t do because he couldn’t see Bowe’s value. Now, I wish Bowe could see his own value to the team enough to stay out of trouble off the field.

9. March 4, 2013, resigning P Dustin Colquitt

Dustin Colquitt is probably headed to the Hall of Fame and Reid and Dorsey locking him in for his foreseeable future was brilliant.

10. March 5, 2013, restructuring DE Tyson Jackson’s contract

Tyson Jackson has had his best year and quietly wriggled himself out of the bust box.

11. March 9, 2013, signing CB Dunta Robinson

The Dunta Robinson signing was a better signing at the time of the signing than is has been on the field. However, his chutzpah has carried over to younger players and his confidence has been more important than his field presence.

12. March 12, 2013, signing back-up QB Chase Daniel

While the Chiefs brass probably paid too much to tie up Daniel as a back-up QB it was a move that communicated that their analysis of the players at the position was lower than poor. Chase gives the Chiefs a legitimate chance to continue to compete should Alex Smith go down for a few games. Although it will likely pay no dividends this season, Reid and Dorsey’s move to sign 3rd string Tyler Bray, an UDFA, gives me more hope for the future of the Chiefs QB position than any of their other moves this offseason.

13. March 12, 2013, signing WR Donnie Avery

Avery has been the Chiefs best WR this season but hopefully that changes. If it doesn’t then the Chiefs will need more than one top notch receiver this coming offseason.

14. March 12, 2013, signing TE Anthony Fasano

Fasano hasn’t yet paid off like he was supposed to but at the moment of his signing it was obvious the regime was dedicated to passing the ball and using the TE to do it. Fasano, when healthy, is a good all-round TE and should be able to help the Chiefs moving forward and could end up being a big contributor in the game tomorrow.

15. March 12, 2013, signing DE Mike DeVito

DeVito followed Sutton from the Jets and has proved to be an excellent addition. No, he doesn’t put pressure on the QB but helps provide enough stuffing to get the Chiefs to Thanksgiving.

16. March 13, 2013, letting DE Glenn Dorsey walk

Glenn bust Dorsey is now playing NT for the 49ers. Should the Chiefs have given him the chance to play the nose all these years? Who “nose?” He’s gone and that’s a good thing for this year’s roster.

17. March 15, 2013, signing CB Sean Smith

Smith is a big part of the mix in the Manning antidote. There have been games when Smith is the Chiefs best CB. Flowers, Smith and Cooper make the front seven special. Special is as special does. And this group does.

18. March 15, 2013, signing OL Geoff Schwartz

The Chiefs played with all rookies for back-ups last year along the OL. Schwartz could be a starter and he may be by the end of the year. My hope is that he’s starting the whole second half of the season beginning tomorrow evening but, I think we’d have heard about that move by now. It won’t surprise me at all if he’s the teams LG next season.

19. April 15, 2013, signing ILB Akeem Jordan

Jordan has solidified the LB corp. Derrick Johnson has been able to fly to the running back because Jordan knows how to take on blockers. Jordan has also worked well in coverage too. Jordan is perhaps the unsung hero of the best defense in the league.

20. April 25, 2013, drafting RT Eric Fisher first overall

Fisher has clearly had his problems. Yes, you can see progress but he’s far from the projections the expert analysts were projecting him to be. Still, you can see his potential and an offseason or two in the weight room and time working on his technique he’ll move over and eventually take over for Albert. if they re-drafted the draft today, I’d still like to see the Chiefs take Fisher.

21. May 1, 2013, trading CB Javier Arenas for FB Anthony Sherman

If JC loves this guy, and he should, then I have to love him too. After years of sloppy FB play (and missing Tony Richardson) it’s refreshing to see a FB plow through linebackers and secondary players like he’s spreading mayo on his sandwich. Sherman’s receiving ability was something Reid and Dorsey obviously made this trade for too and he has saved Alex Smith’s hyde a time or two.

22. May 22, 2013, signing S/KR Quintin Demps

Demps is a good player. Demps has not only contributed on defense but been an excellent kick returner. By the time Reid and Dorsey signed Demps you could see that there was no way this team was going to have big holes in it as with Chiefs teams of the recent past.

23. July 15, 2013, franchise tagging LT Branden Albert

The trade rumors of Albert going to the Dolphins was disturbing. Makes you wonder how he would have adapted to Miami’s OL culture? In the long run, Albert has still proven to be the Chiefs best lineman and it makes you wonder what the reason was that Albert was ever even placed on the trading block. I could only imagine it had to do with money. I’d like to see him stick around. Here’s to hoping R&D can work out a new contract with him in the offseason.

24. September 1, 2013, claiming TE Sean McGrath off waivers

While Anthony Fasano hasn’t been the TE we’d hoped for, Sean McGrath has. McGrath has limited ability but he is making the most of his chances and is an important piece of the puzzle leading to 9-0. The Beard lives. He should stick awhile.

25. September 1, 2013, claiming CB Marcus Cooper off waivers

Last, but in no way least, claiming rookie CB Marcus Cooper off of waivers was the… “most for the least”… best move the Chiefs made this year. Cooper is so good no one sees his total upside yet. I’ve made my position clear that “The Coop” should be considered for the Pro Bowl this year, although it’s a little early to project those kinds of awards yet. The CB situation for the Chiefs could be the best in the NFL right now. I’d be hard pressed to name a better set of three. Marcus Cooper makes that possible.

It’s not enough to say that the Chiefs have changed because of the 30 new faces on the roster. These are not any 30 faces. Andy Reid and John Dorsey and especially Clark Hunt have done such an excellent job with personnel and that is the reason the Chiefs are playing in a game tomorrow with the tag, “best in the league” hanging in the balance.

So Addicts, is there a Chiefs move that should have been included in the, Top 25 Moves That Matter in 2013?

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  • berttheclock

    “saved Alex Smith’s hyde”

    Yes, now, please Alex, show us more of your Dr Jekyl side.

  • berttheclock

    Had there been room for a Number 26, I would add plucking Ron Parker from the same waiver wire on September 1st. Plus, a Number 27 for a General Manager who would even stay awake and read the waiver wires as John Dorsey and his assistants. John Dorsey continues to prove he learned the mantra from Ted Thompson that Thompson learned so well from Ron Wolf. That mantra is to never stop evaluating and scouting, whether it be NFL/CFL talent, college talent or even those on your own team. That means to never sit back in a large, very quiet office with the door closed and, simply, attempt to rest on your own misperceived laurels.

    • KCMikeG

      I would agree on Parker wholeheartedly – replacing Robinson. Parker has been great on ST’s, the sack, strip & fumble and just as many tackles as Robinson for a fraction of the money with much more upside. I would call Robinson the only mistake Dorsey has made this year.

      • ladner morse

        Technically? Yes. Symbolically? No. It’s hard to really recall the feeling that accompanied having the number of holes that were facing Dorsey. Parker wasn’t even a gleam when he signed Robinson and although he cost a lot it was one of those signings he had to make show everyone he was not going to be outdone. When the rug in the middle of the living room is on fire sometimes you have to initially grab whatever is closest to you and throw it at the flames. This next off season, Dorsey can be more discriminating. Although I wasn’t thrilled with the pick at the time Robinson has been a good vocal locker room guy and that has been needed with this group of players.

        • berttheclock

          I read that he is a strong bench type coach who has held his head high and really works with the younger players. So, perhaps, he has lost a step, but, he is a valuable team player.

          • elly violette

            Do you think the Chiefs will let him go this off season? Do you know how long his contract is for?

          • KCMikeG

            Dunta has 2 more yers and $11M left on his contract which is too much for a back up DB. I think they will let him go or better yet renegotiate and keep him if he is truly the player coach that berttheclock mentioned. Emmit Thomas may not coach much longer at the age of 70 so having a leader like him could be a good development move towards he coaching for us in the future.

          • Nicholas Abuhl

            Winning teams create a want to be here. and players will drop their price. Another perk to winning this year.

          • KCMikeG

            Just think of the FA’s that will want to come to KC next year.

          • ladner morse

            Ditto all that.

            As R&D continue to upgrade all position groups this off season its hard to see them keeping DR but his leadership and potential coaching value have to be weighed.

        • KCMikeG

          My comment was 100% rearview mirror. But I was a little concerned when we got Robinson too. Rumblings in ATL and we saw them show up on the field. Dorsey covered his bases with Cooper who may just be the greatest move he has made.

          Love what Dorsey has done and how he continues to work to make us better. Wouldn’t it just be incredible if Williams explodes and stretches the field? That would open up things underneath and improve our running game. If our offense finds a consistent spark beyond Charles we will be unstoppable.

        • steve james

          I agree %100. His contributions are a lot like Bowes this year in that they don’t show on the stat line as much but they are very important. The Chiefs are a very young team and having a player that has been there done that and still plays at a high level who is motivated to help younger players and is not concerned with his next contract and playing time is one of the little things that push teams over the top. I liked the signing and still do. I agree he is too expensive at that price but I think he will renegotiate no matter what as this is a contender and every player wants a ring.

  • Troy Utt

    Speaking of Coop… Why is his name not on the Pro-Bowl ballot? PFF had him ranked as high or above Sherman, & many other rookies are listed at other positions. Even some such as Teo who had yet to really play due to injury this year…
    Just curious???

    • berttheclock

      Strange thing as even Houston is not on the ballot. Sherman of the Seahawks is not included, as well. However, what is interesting is Aldon Smith has been suspended for over a month and he is listed on the nine players of the Niners. KC only has five players at this time, but, remember, Matthieu of the Cardinals was just added due to fans flooding the site. Once he was named a starter and given a defensive award, he was added.

      • Troy Utt

        So when you say flood the site, are you referring to Seattle fans commenting (whining) in the post area under the Pro-Bowl ballot on NFL. com?
        I realize Coop was not a starter day one, but like we have both pointed out there are players who have either yet to step on the field or as in the case of Aldon Smith & his suspension have no business being on the Pro-Bowl roster… Not that I could give two-$#!*$ about watching the game anymore, as it has now truely become a joke in my mind! Nothing more than a pick-up game w/ this choosing teams w/ no regard to conf!
        R.I.P. but poor Lamar is turning over in his grave over this one!

        • berttheclock

          Yeah, this has become a meaningless game, especially, as the old format of AFC versus NFC has been dropped. But, how can anyone explain Houston not being part of the only five players of the Chiefs on the ballot?

  • Chris Tarrants

    The most important move in the offseason has got to be kicking Cassel and company to the curb! I don’t like how Alex Smith is so timid with chucking the rock but I love the fact that he is top 3 smartest qb’s in the game today. What he lacks in talent he by far makes up for in IQ. With Sandcassel still at the helm we are probably 4-5 not 9-0!

    • ladner morse

      Wow… I whiffed big on that one. Cassel being released was a big one and another one that made me very happy.

  • elly violette

    Getting rid of all of last year’s quarterbacks is the most important change to me.

    • toperspective

      I’d vote for the Pioli firing. This would have been another wasted season if he was still calling the shots.

  • Corey Bell

    What kills me is everyone calls the Chiefs pretenders and they’re overrated. Just a year ago they only won 12% of their games. And i love all the individual signings that have made this group a true team i don’t really think you can focus on just one individual. Because KC might not have the most talented group in the league but they do have 52 men that are unselfish that work together and have shocked the world! I will take a great team over a handful of stars any day!