Can the Chiefs overtake the Broncos in 2015?

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Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City headed into the offseason needing help on the offensive line to protect their investment they made in Alex Smith. KC first signed Paul Fanaika to a 3 year deal to help provide depth on a much maligned line in 2014. They were then able to trade for and extend Ben Grubbs to come in and solidify the LG position next to third year tackle Eric Fisher. While they lost Rodney Hudson to free agency and divisional rival the Oakland Raiders they drafted Mitch Morse from Missouri in the 2nd round.

Morse is tailor made to be a Pro Bowl center in this league. – Louis Riddick, ESPN

Morse and 3


year center Eric Kush have been competing for the starting center job since the beginning of OTA’s. While many Chiefs fans, including myself, bemoaned the pick of Morse in the second round Louis Riddick of ESPN had this to say about the Chiefs rookie “Morse is tailor made to be a Pro Bowl center in this league. Extremely smart, good balance, good hand use, good finish. They really got a good one in Kansas City and they weren’t the only team that had their eyes on him.

At right guard the Chiefs have the fiercest competition with up to five possible candidates to start the season. Jeff Allen is getting the most snaps, but Paul Fanaika, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and last years starting right guard Zach Fulton have all taken turns with the first team at the position. Right tackle is mostly a two-man race between Donald Stephenson who is returning from a year where he didn’t hardly play even though the Chiefs line struggled every game, and Jeff Allen who ended the season on IR. Allen could unseat Stephenson if he gets beat out at guard as Reid will play the best 5 linemen. Regardless of who ends up winning the right guard and right tackle positions the line outside of center should improve at each position from 2014.

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When Kansas City brought in Jeremy Maclin in free agency I loved the move. Maclin is a perfect fit for what the Chiefs need from their wide receivers. Dwayne Bowe is a good receiver but was more of a square peg trying to be fit into a round hole in Andy Reid’s offense with Alex Smith as his QB. Smith is risk averse and while he will trust his receivers at times, prefers to be throwing to receivers that have a good amount of separation and that was never Bowe’s strong suit. Maclin on the other hand is shifty, quick and has some of the best hands in the NFL. He is adept at creating separation from his defender and he is always a threat over the top.

Competition will also be fierce for the 2nd WR position. Albert Wilson and Chris Conley will be competing throughout training camp to see who will be the opening day starter and it is anybody’s guess who will come out on top. Wilson has experience on Conley, but Conley is an athletic freak with explosion and speed, if he can get Reid’s playbook down early, he could be very dangerous across from Maclin. De’Anthony Thomas has also moved to WR and will join Jason Avant to round out the main group of WR’s the Chiefs will use on an every game basis.

Jamaal Charles is still an all-world running back. Alex Smith has a much improved cast around him both at offensive line and catching the ball. Outside the improvement of the offensive line, the ability of Travis Kelce to continue to grow as a tight end could make this Chiefs offense very difficult to defend. Reports from OTA’s and minicamp have Kelce being very vocal and trying to get in better positions to get the ball by calling for it at the line. If Kelce can take another step forward in 2015 he will make the Chiefs offense very unpredictable and could in turn help keep the defense off the field as well.

Next: Why the Chiefs win the West - Defense