The Draft Approaches and Free Agency is open.
Oh, what could have been. Strangely, the Chiefs remainded in the AFC West race for a long time despite the crippling injuries that blighted the 2011 season. This may be a reflection of the weakness in the AFC West with the Broncos (with no real QB) slipping into the playoffs and getting murdered.
It is so easy to blame the Chiefs' demise on the injuries in key positions, but good teams have depth and the Chiefs were not a good team in 2011 – their lack of depth, particularly at the crucial skill position, was there for all to see.
We move on.
Because the West is so poor, the Chiefs may start as favourites this season despite some woeful games last year.
Why? Everyone else may be worse – assuming Payton Manning doesn't sign for Denver!
Free Agency opens soon, so it's a good time for a review of each position.
Got to start here as so the QB goes, so goes the Chiefs. We have Matt Cassell and Ricky Stanzl under contract. Kyle Orton did a passable job at the last minute last season. We have to assume that Cassell will still start, poor old Tyler Palko will disappear and Stanzl will get a shot at the back-up. Orton will not be resigned. Personally I think Cassell is in the Last Chance Saloon and if a top QB was available he could go.
Options? Go for a QB in the draft at number 11? Not likely. Sign a free agent back-up to challenge for Cassell's job? I hope so. Clearly we need a battle to become the starter from all the incumbents and any joiners – otherwise there isn't much point of having a training camp. For the record, Cassell has never convinced me he is a tier-two QB – and that's all we need.
Lost Charles almost before the season started and never recovered. There is no reliable back-up – assuming Charles returns to action and is as productive as he has been. I think this is a big “if”! There is a long tradition of low draft picks and even undrafted rookies making a bit impact in the NFL. The Chiefs could use some of that!! But Chiefs will probably not “waste” a round one or two pick on a running back. Fullback is an area of concern. Free agency?
Tony Moeaki. That's it. When he went down (and he has a long and well-documented history of injury) the Chiefs had no real back-up. The Chiefs offense, along with almost every other team in the NFL, now relies on a pass-catching tight end who can also block. Remember Tony Gonzales? I was hoping he might win a Super Bowl with Atlanta but not that seems unlikely. Shame for a future Hall-of-Famer. When will we see his like again?
I called for a number one pick to be a wide reciever last year and was rewarded with Jonathan Baldwin. He promptly and mysteriously injured himself and didn't see action until about game six. He may well, we hope, have a break out season. We still need depth at this critical position. Free agency may be the answer. I see Colston of New Orleans is available. Absolute magic!!
With Casey Wiegmann retiring it looks like his replacement is already on board in the person of Rodney Hudson. If he is as good as the retiree then the Chiefs are set at this position for the next decade. Albert and Asamoah look like sure starters but again there is little depth. I would not be surprised to see the Chiefs Number One pick be a offensive lineman.
Eric Berry should be back and healthy. But, anyone coming off a complete season-ending injury may not ever be as good again. That's football. Kendrick Lewis looks like the other starter with some depth at this position as well.
One of the Brandons – either Flowers or Carr is almost sure to go in free agency. We have Areanas as back-up. Corner backs do not grow on trees. Chiefs to strengthen through the draft with free agency a possibility.
The lack of depth and quality scares me. After Hali and Johnson there are lots of possibles and not too may certains. Strangely, the Chiefs' heirarchy seems very upbeat about this position. I wish I could join them.
After Dorsey and Tyson Jackson this group looks solid but unspectacular. There is no nose tackle with Gregg almost certain to retire and Gilberry and Gordon in free agency. Lost of activity predicted in both the draft and free agency or we are in big trouble.
There is none better than Colquitt and Succop usually performs well. No point in wasting a draft choice as you are only as good as your last miss and field goal kickers are always available. Wouldn't be surprised to see an undrafted rookie providing the competition in training camp.
I was surprised at Todd Haley's dismissal. The Chiefs rarely do things that way. Rumour is he lost the dressing room big time. Romeo Crennel has experience and some good coaches around him. Apparently the players like him. It's a precarious occupation.
My prediction for 2012: Chiefs to improve to 10-6 or 11-5, and will win the AFC West and promptly depart in the first round of the playoffs.