Reviewing the Chiefs’ highs and lows


After the Kansas City Chiefs defeat at the hand of the Minnesota Vikings, there was little about this team to feel positive about. Jamaal Charles had gone down with a knee injury the week before in a humiliating loss to the lowly Chicago Bears, the offensive line was just offensive in their play, and the offense in general was just inept.

Donald Stephenson was knocking the ball out his teammates hands, and this defense was unable to generate any kind of pass rush or turnover, outside of a Marcus Peters interception. Since that point, not much has gone wrong. Here, lets explore what could be strengths heading into the off season and next season, and what may still need to be addressed.

The biggest improvement and biggest surprise has been the play of the offensive line. No bigger surprise has been the play of much maligned tackle Eric Fisher and rookie Mitch Morse. While Fisher certainly will never live up to the expectations that come with an offensive lineman going first overall, his play at least quiets the need of redrafting an offensive lineman early.

Mitch Morse, who played tackle and guard at Missouri after being unable to play center at Missouri early on (had issues with shotgun snaps); Morse has been a very pleasant surprise for the Chiefs, and his presence has solidified the middle of the offensive line. Second year guard Zach Fulton has really come on as of late, and second year guard Larry Duvarney-Tardiff has had his moments. Veterans Jeff Allen and Jah Reid have shown their importance to this team both getting significant playing time and being a steadying influences on a young unit.

In fact, the only disappointments on the offensive line has been the performance of Donald Stephenson and Ben Grubbs before he went down with an injury. While this line isn’t the greatest, it’s certainly good enough to win with.

A great boost of confidence for the future has been the performance of the rookie class thus far has been solid as well. Peters’ performance has him inline to compete for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, Morse’s play has been solid at center, and even rookie wide receiver Chris Conley has had his moments. Linebackers Ramik Wilson and DJ Alexander have received quality reps on either the defense or special teams, and even sixth-round defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches has received snaps along the line. Their performance has been a boost of confidence in the long term as this team faces the prospect of moving on from many established and more expensive veterans after this season. A lot to look forward too.

The development of running backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware has to be a welcome surprise and promising for the future. When Charles went down with the knee injury, many fans and experts believed the Chiefs season was over, and this team was barreling towards a long long end of the season. West and Ware have really helped to provide a solid option at the running back position, and have really helped the team maintain the balance they need to continue to compete for the division, and perhaps beyond. Their performance has really helped save the season.

There are however areas of concern. Dee Ford being the most glaring. Yes, he had a nice performance against the Chargers, sure. However, since coming into the league, Ford has at times appeared lost and at other times simply not able to compete at this level. Coming into the game with the Chargers, Ford had recorded a total of one. sacks in his career. One and a half. He now has 4.5 sacks to his name. Not the performance this organization was hoping for and expecting when they drafted him in the 2014 draft to replace Tamba Hali, which obviously at this point hasn’t happened. With the near certain likelihood that Tamba is playing elsewhere next season, Ford will be expected to perform at a consistent level. To that point, he has failed to prove he can do that.

The other area of concern is the lack of development in at the corner position in players not known as Peters. Namely third-round pick Steven Nelson, who has seen little to no action at the corner position. To this point, Nelson has recorded a total of six tackles, and has not recorded any stats at the corner position. In a league that is as pass-happy as it is, his development, especially going into next season, will be vital. Hopefully his development really takes off going into next season. Along with Nelson, the apparently lack of any development of Marcus Cooper and Jamel Flemming is disappointing int that this team could really use production from some young, cheap talent. Thus far, neither has done much of anything to help this team win.

There is much to be positive about right now, as this team is finally performing and playing like the team we hoped to see coming into the season. Next week, we’ll look at some possible postseason matchups and then start looking towards another vital offseason for the Chiefs.