Making Sense Of The Chiefs’ 2014 Roster


It’s been roughly 48 hours since the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Arizona Cardinals in a 17-14 loss on Sunday. I’ve had time to digest the game and think carefully about the last three weeks of the season. I won’t tell you that things aren’t as bad as they seem — they are. This football team was 7-3 less than a month ago and briefly flirted with the possibility of winning the AFC West. Today, they’ve all but lost a real chance of even staying in the AFC wildcard race. It’s pretty bleak at One Arrowhead Drive.

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There’s no one reason why the Chiefs are in this position, but a porous roster may stand above all others. As much as it pains me to acknowledge this — it just isn’t there yet. This Chiefs’ roster is comprised of a receiving corps that has only three NFL-caliber receivers (Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, and Jason Avant). Avant was only a recent addition to the fold so Kansas City’s spent most of the year with only a pair of wideouts likely to make an NFL roster elsewhere. Couple all of that with an extended injury absence from Avery and you realize this team’s spent the better part of the year with a Division II crop of pass-catchers. If only it ended there.

The dearth of talent extends well beyond the skill positions. There’s also a guy like Mike McGlynn. He’s a glaring reminder of how little offensive line talent there is in Kansas City. McGlynn’s the type of player who should be buried on a team’s roster. He has no business in a starting role. In fact, he may not even be good enough to warrant a roster spot in this league. The fact that he’s stayed in place, as the starting left guard, is further indictment of the offensive line situation. Who do you replace him with? I suppose 2013 draftee Eric Kush is a possibility, but he’s still very much an unknown commodity.

Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It can be argued that no two aspects of this team have contributed to this collapse more than the offensive line and wide receiver groups. Is anyone surprised though? Those two areas got the least of general manager John Dorsey’s attention in the offseason. The 2014 NFL Draft produced one of the most talented receiver classes in recent memory. Despite that fact, Dorsey abstained and I’m still unsure why. Especially when you consider the fact that he tried and failed to sign free agent target Emmanuel Sanders seven weeks prior. Clearly, he thought the wide receiver position needed upgrading.

The problem with the offensive line goes back to March. Kansas City lost three-fifths of its line in the first 90 minutes of free agency. All three were quality football players who’d unquestionably be better alternatives to the players who’ve succeeded them. Losing the trio dealt a blow to the Chiefs that they’ve obviously been unable to overcome. Behind them, Alex Smith’s become even more risk-averse (see: the final drive of Sunday’s game). Their ineptitude has even limited offensive possibilities for Andy Reid. Defenses know the team won’t commit to throwing the ball vertically, so they’re cheating up and squatting on the underneath routes and on Jamaal Charles’ running lanes.

The time for postseason talk has come and gone for this football team. Making the playoffs would require running the table and help from other teams in the AFC. Right now, I’m not sure the Chiefs will win another game. No one in the organization can look ahead to 2015, but I certainly am. The offseason presents perhaps the toughest challenge John Dorsey’s faced since taking over as GM. He’s tasked with retooling his roster at wide receiver and along the offensive line while simultaneously trying to appease budding superstar outside linebacker Justin Houston.

Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (50) puts on his helmet against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t envy Dorsey, but if he doesn’t get some real talent into Arrowhead at those spots, his tenure could be short lived in Kansas City. Say what you want about Alex Smith (I have), but if he doesn’t have time to throw and no one to throw it to, everybody loses — literally. The Chiefs have ten plus picks in the 2015 Draft. They should add to that number when the compensatory picks are awarded. Between the draft and free agency, Dorsey has to bolster this roster. Carrying the same weaknesses into 2015 is not an option. Not a smart one anyway.

How important do you think it is for the Chiefs to improve the roster at wide receiver and on the offensive line? Are these two position groups the biggest problem with this football team? Who do you have in mind to come in and help Kansas City at those spots? Use the comment section below to chime in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support!

Until next time, Addicts!