The Kansas City Chiefs may have more in common with the Seattle Seahawks than you may think. When general manager John Dorsey came on board with the team, following the hiring of head coach Andy Reid it was very similiar to the way Seattle’s general manager came to the Seahawks on the heels of the team hiring head coach Pete Carroll in January of 2010. In both cases, the head coach had — at least a little — say in the hiring of the general manager, and while neither head coach controls player personnel moves, the personnel system is more of a collaborative effort than on other teams.
Both John Dorsey and John Schneider learned their trade in evaluating personnel from the great personnelist, former Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren. Both men followed similar paths to their positions as general managers and both men have very parallel views on how to build a football team.
In Dorsey’s first year as the Chiefs general manager, he was praised for his continual churning of the bottom of the roster. The players Dorsey was able to sign off the waiver wire at the end of the preseason — specifically tight end Sean McGrath, and defensive backs Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker — made huge contributions to the team, considering they were cast off from the teams that had drafted them. It would seem that Dorsey and Schneider have a very simliar view in how to build a team. That starts, it would seem, with a stout defense.
Before anyone lights me up for comparing the Chiefs defense to that of the Seahawks, let me refer you back to the title of this post. I said the Chiefs are three years behind the Seahawks and I think that’s about right. When Schneider came to Seattle, that defense didn’t exist. Dorsey, on the other hand, was lucky to inherit several talented players to work with. That doesn’t neccessarily mean that all of those players will remain in a Chiefs uniform, but Dorsey has them to use either to help the Chiefs win or to help the Chiefs gain picks and/or other players to help the Chiefs win. That could potentially move the timeline up from three years to two.
The next thing required in the Dorsey/Schneider school of thought is a strong running back. In Seattle, Schneider went out and traded with the Buffalo Bills with a risky choice to lead the team in the rushing department. Everyone in the NFL — except maybe Carrol and Schneider — had written Marshawn Lynch off as a bust and all-but-done in the league. Schneider couldn’t have been more right as Lynch has proved to be the back the team needed.
As with the defense, Dorsey was lucky to inherit, perhaps the best running back in the National Football League in Jamaal Charles. Charles had a breakout year in 2013, leading the league in touchdowns with 19 through the air and on the ground. Having Charles in this offense already without have to find a replacement could potentially move the development of this team up another year.
The final piece in a Dorsey/Schneider winning team is a quarterback who can win games. This is where the controversy may lie with this piece. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in his second year looked pretty damn good. Super Bowl Chapmpion good, in fact. But let’s be honest, he’s no Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or even Tony Romo. His numbers — yards, touchdowns, interceptions, passer rating and even rushing yards — were very simliar to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. The main difference? Wilson is looking like this after just two years in the league. On the other hand, Smith is heading into his 10th season in the league. While Smith may be closer to his ceiling than Wilson, the fact remains that right now, they are very much alike.
So how far away are the Chiefs from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? How soon could the Super Bowl MVP truly be Derrick Johnson or Eric Berry?
While many of the nay sayers would have you believe the Chiefs will never win the big game, I think with the leadership of Dorsey and Reid it’s a lot closer than you think.
Sound off, Addicts. Where are you? What’s your prediction? How much time until the Chiefs truly are contenders?