The Kansas City Chiefs were expected to improve in 2010 but most pundits suggested the team would only surpass it’s 2009 record of 4-12 by a game or two.
Those folks may still be correct but just six games into the 2010 season the Chiefs have already won four games and they don’t appear to be planning on stopping there.
Even the most optimistic Chiefs fans couldn’t have predicted the team’s 4-2 start. The Chiefs look vastly improved and a soft schedule has many in Kansas City already talking playoffs before Halloween.
Coach Todd Haley was asked about what lead to his team’ searly success yesterday following practice.
“I think it is a combination of variable,” said Haley.”Number one, what I have said, what I know and what I believe is that you must develop the players on your roster, especially those first, second, third and fourth-year guys. What we have been able to do with some of these fourth, maybe fifth year guys that have made progress. Even guys that have been in the league longer than that have made progress.”
There has been no shortage of development in Kansas City. Guys like Glenn Dorsey, Derrick Johnson who had previously not lived up to expectations have shown marked improvement. Along with the development of some of the team’s high draft picks, the Chiefs have also brought along undrafted free agent Jovan Belcher who is starting at middle linebacker. Even veteran Ron Edwards appears to be playing better at the nose tackle position.
If you don’t develop the players on your roster you have very little chance of being a successful team, especially year-in and year out,” said Haley. “Player development is absolutely critical along with player acquisition. Free agents, rookies that you draft, rookie free agents, bringing in types of guys that fit in with what you are doing and knowing how you want to do it but most importantly having the skill to do it.”
The Chiefs certainly got the best out of their free agent signings and draft picks. Early on it looks like the Chiefs have the best draft class in football with Eric Berry, Javier Arenas, Dexter McCluster, Kendrick Lewis and Tony Moeaki all making significant contributions. Free agent signing Ryan Lilja is having a pro bowl season and Shaun Smith is having a career year at defensive end.
Though things are looking good Haley believes the team is still in the process of laying it’s foundation.
We are in the foundation laying process and that started last year. It went on all of last year and continued through the off-season and it is continuing now. That foundation is being laid by some of those things that I just talked about.”
If this is just the start of the foundation for the Chiefs they could be an excellent team for years to come.