The positions that will make or break the Chiefs in 2016

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Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Find a way to continue producing pressure on the edge

Not unlike Gaines, Justin Houston’s also on the recovery road. He underwent surgery in February and will need significant time to rehab and rebuild strength in his knee. The offseason training videos offer some reassurance, but it’s still unknown when he’ll return to action.

Couple that with an aging Tamba Hali, whose production has declined in recent years, and you desperately need someone to make themselves known as a productive edge rusher.

The “next man up” would appear to be Dee Ford. He played well in spots in 2015, but has also faced some injury challenges of his own. Jonathan Massaquoi, Dezman Moses, and Frank Zombo are the other candidates for contributing to the rotation, but none of them are a clear-cut choice to supplement the snaps of Houston or Hali.

There may be room still for another body or two in the second wave of free agency. Whoever it is, the Chiefs will need an effective pass rush to mask any dropoff in the secondary (due to Smith defecting for Oakland).

If the team can stay level or improve at just two of these positions, they’ll be in great shape to make another run this season. In fact, I’d even take them to win the division and make a run at a bye in the opening round of the playoffs. Continuity is a critical aspect of teams contending year in and year out.

The team’s window of opportunity, as a contender, began just seven months ago. Continuing on that road requires filling the holes from a year ago. Time will tell if they’ve done that through free agency, the draft, and further development of in-house players this offseason.

Which positions do you think play the biggest role in the Chiefs making a deeper run into the postseason in 2016? Who do you expect to assert themselves at the aforementioned spots? Use the comment section below to begin the discussion. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!