Dec 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) is congratulated by quarterback Alex Smith (11) after catching a touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs Will Have Consistency in 2014

Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on the sidelines during the first quarter of the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There is parity in the NFL, and we all know this. It’s the only way to explain how five teams who picked in the top 15 of the 2013 NFL Draft made the playoffs the following season. But it happened. The Chiefs (1), the Philadelphia Eagles (4), the San Diego Chargers (11), the Carolina Panthers (14) and the New Orleans Saints (15) all finished at the bottom of the league in 2012, but came back with a vengence this past NFL season.

However, while as much as things change in this league, sometimes its good to stay the same. There is something to be said about conducting an Extreme Makeover: NFL Edition, but having consistency not only in players but in coaching staff goes a long way.

The New England Patriots are consistently atop the AFC East and in the playoffs. The Green Bay Packers have made consistent playoff runs over the last decade as well. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that there is never a great “shake up” within the organization by either the players or the coaching staff.

For the first time, in a long time, the Chiefs will have that consistency and continuity going into the 2014 season.

The last time the Chiefs made the playoffs was in 2010. Despite being mediocre, they managed to win the AFC West with a 10-6 record before being crushed by the Baltimore Ravens

October 07, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) throws a pass in the third quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium. The Ravens won 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

in the Wild Card round. Quarterback Matt Cassel made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, as did receiver Dwayne Bowe, who led the league that year in touchdown receptions with 15. Many attributed Cassel’s most successful year as the Chiefs signal caller to the offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis. However, just before the playoffs,  rumors started to swirl that Weis was leaving the team for a similar position at the University of Florida. Weis ultimately took the position for family matters and the Chiefs offense was never the same.

As the 2011 season got underway, there were high hopes for the Chiefs and what they could do to follow up their division winning season. But with an incompetent offensive coordinator in Bill Muir and a convoluted system to get plays into Cassel as the quarterback — from Muir in the booth to Haley on the sideline to Cassel on the field — the Chiefs offense was a shell of itself from the previous year. Mix that with the fact that the Chiefs lost their starting tight end, Tony Moeaki, and running back, Jamaal Charles, for the season after just two games, the season was doomed before it started.

With the firing of head coach Todd Haley after Week 14, and the naming of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel as the interim head coach, continuity was shaken up once again. As the 2012 season got underway, Crennel — who had now been officially hired as the head coach — brought in former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to run the offense. As the debacle that was the 2012 season continued to build steam, everyone – from the guy picking up Snickers wrappers in stairwell to the players on the field — could see the writing on the wall. The team was about to have another shakeup at continuity.

And that’s what happened. However for the first time since before the Scott Pioli reign of terror began, the Chiefs will return to the field with the same head coach, general manager, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and starting quarterback from the previous year.

Many have said that the Chiefs season was a fluke based on an easy schedule. That very well could have had a lot to do with it. I won’t argue that point. Part of the reason for the Chiefs success in 2010 and then their decline in 2011 was the fact that they played a last place schedule in ’10 and then a first place one in ’11. Plus, as I said, there’s parity in the NFL and teams get better from year to year.

But, part of that was also due to the fact that from ’10 to ’11 there was a different offensive system to learn switching from the Weis offense to the Muir offense. That won’t be an issue this year.

Yes, the Chiefs are playing a very difficult schedule. Of the 11 other teams that made the playoffs this season, the Chiefs will face five of them — the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers, the New England Patriots and of course the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers twice — in 2014. It’s not going to get any easier than it did this year.

However, instead of spending the entire offseason with their nose stuck in their play books, the returning players will already be familiar with the system — both offense and defense — and will be able to concentrate instead on hitting the ground running, getting free agents and rookies spun up and start game planning for opponents.

If you think this season will be a repeat of the 2011 season following the Chiefs run in ’10, you need to take a look at history. While it may repeat itself on occasion, this is not the year.

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  • Calchiefsfan

    It’s the continuity in the defense that has me concerned. If they “continually” get worse that doesn’t bode well for the Chiefs. I think the offense is going to be an offensive powerhouse. I just don’t want to see a return to the Vermiel days. And really we shouldn’t, we have a tremendous amount of talent on that side of the ball. I can only hope that Sutton figures it out, (at 62 years old), or he starts leaning on his assistants more for help in making adjustments.

    • John Gabbard

      I really don’t know what happened to the pass rush, whether we got figured out or sutton went conservative. I know our secondary was exposed but when we were able to get pressure early on, the secondary didn’t look that bad. We definitely need more speed back there. Got burned over the top way too much.

      • Calchiefsfan

        I wonder how much of that was due to scheme and how much was due to the talent level. I do know we need an upgrade at free safety. I’m trusting Dorsey will make that a priority.

  • shane78

    The chiefs will be back and will b superbowl contenders in the very near future …

    • Travis Forsyth

      Hey man super bowl 50 I’ve said it since 2009 and i’m sticking with it….

  • Bill

    I know there is no love for Pioli in AHAville, but I can’t help to question the praise given to the new regime after 1 year. From what I saw, it was the same 2012 players + A. Smith that made the 2013 season special and Alex really didn’t perform well until the end of the season. I personally think a lot of the success was due to replacing a bad head coach (great DC) Romeo and bad OC Daboll. Some part of me still thinks the 2010 staff would have done just as well. I give Dorse credit for making moves and spending some money last offseason, but did his choices really pay off? Fisher still has a lot to prove for a #1 overall pick and a lot of the players he spent significant cash on last year didn’t work out and have left us with a bad cap
    situation this year. Time will tell , but i’m not drinking the R&D kool-aid yet…

    • KCMikeG

      I wanted to disagree with you initially because there were 30 new players brought in by R&D. But the more I read on the more I’m coming around to your perspective. Much of the core was here and performed much better with better coaching but holes were filled and depth was added. A number of acceptable starters, ST’s and better depth players stepped up which helped us over like Schwartz, Demps, Daniels, Parker, Abdullah, Zombo, Avery, DeVito. The TE position was upgraded potentially with Kelce and The Beard was more depth but with the injuries to Fasano we still came up short. Best successes – Sean Smith was actually our highest ranked CB by PFF and Sherman was a great success in exchange for Arenas. Niles has big potential as does Jenkins. Williams, Josh Martin and Commings could be the sleepers to watch, If Cooper develops with a little help over the top and Eric Fisher can step up and play like a first round pick at either tackle that will be the deal sealer for me on R&D’s 2013 success in addition to the incredible turn around.

  • e_racer

    The problem with the Chiefs’ defense is they are loaded with vets under the old system, who are making a lot of money relative to their productivity. They needed a pass rusher at DE, and it wasn’t Sutton’s fault the Chiefs let Wallace Gilberry leave town. Perhaps Catapano can be that man, but that is a lot to ask of a 7th rd pick. The Chiefs need to shore up their D Line, and add a few guys in their secondary to be consistently good next season (with a much tougher schedule).

  • ladner morse

    Couldn’t agree more. Excellent post Jason!

  • Tristian Shelley

    I don’t think its fair to say the Patriots are a consistent team. Im not debating thier success but the division they are in hasn’t improved since brady has been QB. So they by default always have a 1 or 2 seed and a bye. But as you can see since thier 3rd super bowl title they habent won anything partially because they always have an easy schedule partially because they have a weak division. I do think KC has what it takes to establish consistency because no doubt denver takes a big step back next year especially with decker leaving presumably and a tough schedule. Gotta get the DBs fixed otherwise the only consitant thing we will be doing is having to outscore them