Originally posted on Cippin on Sports  |  Last updated 6/5/13
In the 2012 season, the Kansas City Chiefs finished 2-14, which was the worst record in the NFL. Consequently, the Chiefs parted ways with general manager Scott Pioli and replaced him with John Dorsey, while Andy Reid became the new head coach. The Chiefs also made some key offseason acquisitions that will improve their team. The addition of Alex Smith (QB) via free agency and the drafting of Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan) with the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft fill great needs for the Chiefs. As a result of these offseason moves, along with others, I think the Chiefs will be one of the most improved teams in 2013. The Chiefs, despite their 2-14 record, don’t actually have a bad roster; in fact they have one of the stronger rosters in the AFC West. In 2012 the Chiefs had six players selected for the pro bowl. To put that in perspective, that is the same number as the Washington Redskins who finished the season with a 10-6 record and won the NFC East. The pieces are there in Kansas City, but as with all teams in the NFL, a large portion of a team’s success depends on the play of their quarterback. In 2012 the Chiefs finished twenty-fourth overall in offensive yards per game. This low ranking was due to poor play at the quarterback position from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn, which saw the Chiefs rank rock bottom in in passing yards. Clearly, the Chiefs needed to address the quarterback position in the offseason. They did this by trading a second round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2014 NFL Draft to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for veteran Alex Smith. As NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus reported, Smith has already impressed coaches in Kansas City with his leadership and football IQ. Smith, who led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and the NFC Championship game in 2011, instantly improves the Chiefs’ offense. He will help reduce turnovers and will provide Dwayne Bowe with the service he has been craving for years in Kansas City. Perhaps the only highlight of the Chiefs’ offensive play in 2012 was their rushing offense. The Chiefs finished fifth in the NFL in rushing yards, with their top rusher Jamaal Charles achieving the fourth highest rushing yards total with 1,509 yards. With teams being forced to defend against an improved passing attack led by Smith, I expect the Chiefs’ rushing game to continue to be dominant. On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs are strong. Despite Kansas City’s defense finishing twentieth in the NFL in yards allowed per game, and twenty-fifth in the NFL in points allowed per game in the 2012 season, I feel this unit is much better than where it ranked last year. It boasts names such as Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers who are all difference makers. In 2013, this unit’s play should improve as the play of the offense improves. The offense will score more points and Smith’s game managing skills will enable the Chiefs’ defense to rest more during the game, resulting in improved play. Expect second year defensive tackle Dontari Poe’s play to continue to improve. After a strong rookie season in which he posted thirty-eight combined tackles, Poe will continue to anchor the Chiefs’ defensive line from the nose tackle position. Moreover, the addition of Sean Smith from the Miami Dolphins gives the Chiefs another starter to line up opposite Brandon Flowers at cornerback. This defense is solid, and I expect their play to greatly improve in 2013. So, will the Chiefs be a play off team in 2013? Many experts have predicted that this could be the case, and I think that even though it’s a long shot, it is possible. The Denver Broncos will likely be AFC West champions again in 2013, and I don’t expect the Chiefs – or anyone else in the AFC West – to beat them. However, Kansas City does have winnable games, particularly against their division rivals the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. Moreover, in weeks one and three, the Chiefs travel to Jacksonville and Philadelphia respectively, two games which are winnable. Other games that the Chiefs could win include games with the Tennessee Titans, the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills. Consequently, I feel the Chiefs could finish 9-7, which may be enough for them to achieve a wild card berth. However, much of this depends upon how quickly Andy Reid’s new team can adapt to his style of play. Ultimately, Reid has a winning record as a coach, and he has all the pieces in place in Kansas City to resurrect this franchise. This article was written by Rhys Norman. You can follow him on Twitter @RhysNorman1
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