Dear Mr. Dorsey, Please Don’t Repeat The Past


To: John Dorsey & the Chiefs’ front office

Re: Improving the Chiefs this offseason

Dear Mr. Dorsey, and all involved in personnel decisions,

The last two years have been fun, exciting, frustrating, and disappointing. Above all though, they have been perplexing.

On the whole, things have been pretty positive. When you arrived with coach Andy Reid, you turned a 2-14 team into a 11-5 team that made the playoffs. That was much more than anyone could have asked. Following that up with a second winning season is something that had only been done once in the last decade (2005 and 2006). Before that, you have to go back to the end of the Schottenheimer era to find two consecutive winning seasons.

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However, there is also reason for concern. Neither of the past two seasons have seen the Chiefs field a team that played consistently. We’ve seen the good and the bad, and sometimes they came in consecutive weeks (i.e. beating the Seahawks and then losing to the Raiders in the next game). Fans have spent a lot of time trying to make sense of it all, and, as my colleague Stacy D. Smith (a.k.a. Reach) put it, it has made us a crazy group.

One reason for this insanity is that Chiefs fans are feeling some deja vu.

Though things generally seem to be moving in the right direction, the 2013 and 2014 seasons felt pretty close to what happened in 2003 and 2004. And the idea of repeating the trend of the last decade is horrifying.

In 2003 the Chiefs started 9-0, wilted down the stretch, and then lost to the Colts in a high scoring playoff game. In 2013 the Chiefs started 9-0, wilted down the stretch, and then lost to the Colts in a high scoring playoff game.

In the offseason, it was brutally obvious that the 2003 Chiefs needed to fix the defense. But coach Dick Vermeil and GM Carl Patterson left it mostly intact from the previous year. It was also obvious that the 2013 Chiefs needed a receiver, badly. But free agency brought us only a CFL player who couldn’t make the roster, and a draft full of high quality receivers where none ended up in Kansas City (though I am happy that RB De’Anthony Thomas can fill a slot role).

The results were about the same in the following seasons as well. The 2004 Chiefs managed to put together a four game win-streak, but took a step back, went.500 in the division, and missed the playoffs with a 7-9 record. The 2014 Chiefs put together a five game win streak, went .500 in the division, and missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

Though Andy Reid’s 20 wins through two years might be the best start in Chiefs history for a head coach, it is also yields the exact same record as the 2003 & 2004 Chiefs combined (20-12, plus one playoff loss).

Subsequent to the setbacks of the 2004 season the Chiefs started making an effort to shore up the defense. Unfortunately, they had delayed long enough that by the time the defense was becoming respectable, the cornerstones of the offense were dispersing. By the time Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, and Eric Berry were in place (2005, 2006, and 2010 respectively), Willie Roaf, Will Shields, and Tony Gonzales were gone or leaving (last seasons with the Chiefs were 2005, 2006, and 2008, respectively).

Turning a blind eye to the biggest needs of the team led to the Chiefs posting either a 2-14 or 4-12 record four times in the intervening years between 2004 and the beginning of the current regime. It was essentially a decade of rebuilding, and it started in eerily similar circumstances to those you currently face Mr. Dorsey.

Which brings us to where we are now. To be sure, I do not envy you the task you face over the next few months.

Dec 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans show their support during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 season taught us that there are no bigger needs in Kansas City than for quality offensive linemen and receivers. But I also know that you must figure out how to keep intact a defense that was one of the best in the NFL, but which will  feature several players who are aging, in need of a new contract, coming off an injury, or some combination of the above.  Figuring out how to address the defensive and offensive needs at the same time, and within the caps and regulations imposed by the NFL, is sure to prove challenging.

Challenging, but not impossible. This team can, and should, be improved next year and for years to come.

So to you Mr Dorsey, and the entire Chiefs front office, I implore you to learn from the mistakes of your predecessors. Address the needs you have now, and avoid another decade of rebuilding.