For fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, training camp cannot get here fast enough. Yes, it was great to hear some reports on the team out of OTAs this past week, but until the players put pads on and start hitting there’s only so much that we can find out. The Chiefs are returning many proven star players and have made some key additions through free agency and the draft this offseason. That having been said, if the Chiefs are going to compete for a Super Bowl in 2016 there are several returning players that are going to need to step up this season.
This list will not include any rookies. While some may indeed win jobs and make key contributions, the players on this list are returning players that for one reason or another need to step up in 2016. Every player on this list is in a slightly different situation. Some players need to step up because their play to date hasn’t been good enough.
Some young players haven’t gotten a chance to play regularly yet but now the Chiefs need them to step up and claim a role for themselves in 2016. Some players are trying to fill holes left by departed starters and some need to step up and overtake starters that aren’t quite good enough. Regardless of the situation, if the players on this list all step up and produce this coming season it would go a long way towards positioning Kansas City at the top of the AFC.
While many teams are left crossing their fingers and hoping for the best when it comes to player development, the Chiefs are actually in a pretty good situation. The Chiefs coaching staff, lead by head coach Andy Reid, is widely viewed as one of the better staffs in the NFL. While Reid hasn’t been able to get that elusive Super Bowl win, he is renowned both for the relationship he has with his players and his abilities as a teacher.
Reid is not seen as just “top dog” on the sideline or the man calling the plays on Sunday. Andy Reid is known as a coach that actually teaches the ins and outs of the game to his players and many of his assistants are the same way.
Does that mean that its a sure thing that the following players will make positive steps this season? Unfortunately…..no. Some players just never develop into what we hoped they would either from a lack of ability or a lack of effort on the players part. Some have their careers cut short by injuries. Some just don’t click with a given coaching staff and don’t blossom until they get a fresh start elsewhere. Still, you have to like the odds of a player developing in Kansas City as much as anywhere else in the league.
So here are the players that the Chiefs most need to step up in 2016.
First up, let’s look at a couple of young inside linebackers.
Next: Ramik Wilson and Justin March