A complete guide to the Kansas City Chiefs offseason
By David Thomas
Welcome to the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs Offseason Guide
This is a pivotal time John Dorsey and Andy Reid. The Chiefs have just come off one of their most exciting and heartbreaking seasons in recent memory. The team appeared to hit a wall in the postseason, and not because of injuries or particularly bad performance. It seems the Chiefs are in a time of win now, but are still missing pieces.
In this guide, you’ll find an overview of this previous season and what to expect over the offseason. So first things first. Lets take another look at the Kansas City Chiefs of 2016.
Offensively the Chiefs fell flat in one particular area: Run blocking. The Chiefs ended the season ranked 17th (3.82) in run blocking by adjusted line yards from Football Outsiders. Just the year prior, the Chiefs ended the season ranked 5th (4.15).
In 2015, Spencer Ware was the secondary back and finished the season with 403 yards on 72 attempts for a 5.6 ypc average. In 2016, Ware ended the season with 921 yards on 214 attempts for a 4.3 average. Someone might think to blame the loss in effectiveness to an increased workload, but Charcandrick West also seemed less effective. In 2015, he had 634 yards on 160 attempts for a 4.0 average ypc, and in 2016 had just 293 yards on 88 attempts for 3.3 average ypc. Both Ware and West appeared to take a step back from 2015 as did the offensive line. After week 5, neither Ware or West managed to top 77 yards rushing in a game.
With the reduced effectiveness of the run game, Alex Smith was pressed to help carry the team. Both Smith and his top target Travis Kelce had career years in yardage (Smith: 3,502 Kelce: 1,125), and that’s despite Smith missing a game and a half. However, that doesn’t mean Smith had a particularly great year. All things considered, it was an average at best season. I’ll let others debate about what an average season from Smith looks like.
Here is where I believe injuries certainly became a factor. By the season’s end, Jaye Howard (IR), Allen Bailey (IR), Justin Houston (PUP), Dee Ford (Sidelined), Josh Mauga (IR), Derrick Johnson (IR), and Phillip Gaines (Sidelined) all were on the sidelines or IR at one point in the season. Despite all of the injuries, the Chiefs managed to end the season 1st in takeaways, and it was the first time in Andy Reid’s tenure.
However, despite all of the takeaways the Chiefs still managed to give up 5,896 total yards, 24th in the league. It was the most since 2013 when they gave up 5,885, also 24th in the league. 2013 was the same year the Chiefs lost in the wild card round with the 2nd largest lead in NFL playoff history. Giving up less yards should be priority #1 for the Chiefs defense in 2017.
Normally there isn’t much to talk about when it comes to special teams. The Chiefs have always had one of the best units under the guidance of Dave Toub. One of the biggest stories out of 2016 was the Chiefs ability to make big plays on special teams.
Much of that can be thanks to Tyreek Hill. In 2016, Tyreek Hill averaged 15.2 yards per return on punts, 27.4 yards per return on kickoffs, and scored 3 touchdowns. The punt return average was the best average by a Chiefs returner in the Dave Toub era. Thanks to the efforts of Hill, the Chiefs had the 5th best average offensive drive starting point (30.39).
As mentioned in a previous article of mine, the Chiefs had a total of 4 special teams touchdowns in 2016. The four touchdowns were more than the previous two years combined. Special teams has always been a strong point for the Chiefs, and should continue to be a big factor in 2017.