You guys have not known me for very long here at Arrowhead Addict. Generally, I’m pessimistic about the Kansas City Chiefs. Being 26 years old and a lifelong fan, I have seen almost nothing but incredible heartbreak. Yet, going into 2015, I see reasons to be optimistic. Very optimistic.
There is also something else you should know about me. I take my job as an NFL writer very seriously. So when I see people write lazy, uninformed analysis, I get irritated. Bad Matt comes out.
In that vein, I read an ESPN Q&A with the AFC West writers, asking who wins the division and how many teams make the playoffs out of it. The Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers were each picked twice to win the division. Adam Teicher, the Chiefs writer (who does a very solid job) picked Denver and Kansas City to both make the playoffs.
Then, Oakland Raiders writer Bill Williamson called the Chiefs “average.” I started to notice my brain leaking out of my ear at this point.
Bad Matt emerged.
How could the Chiefs be seen as average? This is a team coming off consecutive winning seasons with one of the best head coaches in the business entering his third year of the program. Kansas City has All-Pro talent in Dontari Poe, Anthony Sherman, Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson. It has other Pro Bowlers in Alex Smith, Dustin Colquitt and Ben Grubbs. It has potential Pro Bowlers in Travis Kelce and Sean Smith.
Kansas City is average? You have to be kidding me. What is average about winning nine games against one of the toughest schedules in the league last year (including wins over the Patriots and Seahawks), despite losing Mike DeVito, Jeff Allen, Berry and Johnson for most of the season? Absolutely nothing.
Then, in this offseason, general manager John Dorsey absolutely killed it. He was able to retain Ron Parker, Josh Mauga, Hali and DeVito while signing Houston to a six-year deal and acquiring Grubbs via trade, and Tyvon Branch and Jeremy Maclin in free agency. Add in the returns of Johnson, DeVito, Allen and perhaps Berry, and the Chiefs massively upgraded from 2014.
Then, my other gripe that makes me rip my hair out.
I have no issue with anybody picking the Broncos to win the division, but the Chargers?
How many years are people going to pick that team only to watch them miss the playoffs before people realize it isn’t happening? San Diego went 9-7 last year, got pantsed twice by the Chiefs (including a humbling Week 17 loss with everything on the line against … Chase Daniel), and did little this offseason.
I loved the move of bringing in left guard Orlando Franklin and I believe Melvin Gordon is going to be very good. However, the last time I checked, neither one of them plays defense. San Diego has an abysmal front seven outside of Corey Liuget.
The Chargers ranked 26th against the run in 2014 and did nothing to substantially fix the issue. Outside of drafting inside linebacker Denzel Perryman in the second round, everything else is the same. Donald Butler and Manti Te’o are still average, Kendall Reyes and Sean Lissemore are still terrible, and the outside linebackers of Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu scare nobody but Chargers fans … all 38 of them.
The Chargers had 26 sacks last year. Justin Houston had 22. Liuget led the team with 4.5 sacks … on the year. Houston was a half-sack shy of that in Week 17.
Denver needs to be toppled before anybody can be knocked for picking it to win its fifth straight AFC West crown. But San Diego? What the heck is going on?
If the Chiefs are healthy and don’t beat out the Chargers, and don’t have double-digit wins and a playoff berth in 2015, I will eat my computer. They are loaded, and had every bit the offseason San Diego had. How does Grubbs not equal Franklin, and how does Maclin not trump a rookie running back?
I have to go now. My brain started leaking again.