Monday, February 7, 2011
The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl as Chiefs' fans, players and coaches watched from home, victims of a playoff loss to the Ravens in the wild card round. While the Chiefs are still in a rebuilding mode and just making the playoffs was a huge step forward, the NFL is about winning titles, and the Chiefs could learn a few things from the champion Packers in Kansas City's hunt for a title. The Packers are champions due to three critical components: A team built from the draft, a stout defense that keeps it in every game and an elite quarterback. Lets see how the Chiefs stack up in all three categories.
The Packers draft well year after year, and the result has been a sustained period of success for the green and gold. The Packers draft well in all seven rounds, which has helped the team register a winning season in all but two campaigns in the last 20 years. When the Packers took the field on Sunday, 18 of the team's 21 players had been drafted and groomed by Green Bay. The ability to mold players into your system from the time they enter the league is critical in the NFL, and while the Chiefs had a fantastic draft last year, they still have some work to do after a few lackluster efforts in the past five years. Pioli and co. had a good start last year, but it will be important for the Chiefs to continue to build through the draft to sustain the success it started this year.
The Packers defense has been great all year, and despite losing future hall of fame CB Charles Woodson in the first half, held the Steelers off just enough to help the Packers get the win. You need a defense that will keep you in the game even when the offense stalls, and Green Bay had this all season long. This is where Kansas City has made huge strides, and better yet, the Chiefs defense is very young.
The final reason the Packers are champs is simple: Aaron Rodgers has morphed into one of the deadliest QBs in the league in three seasons as a starter. Matt Cassel had a very good season this year, but failed to play well in some of the Chiefs' biggest moments. The list of recent super bowl winning QBs is a whos-who of the NFL's best: Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, Manning, Brady, etc. A QB needs a good WR corps to be successful, and the Chiefs still need a lot of help at this position. With one of the league's top rushing attacks, the Chiefs offense has the ability to be potent, but until Cassel and his WRs turn into among the league's best, the Chiefs will be unable to win football's biggest prize.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Despite a strong effort from its offense and a breakout game from WR Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs blew a late lead and lost to the Houston Texans, 35-31. Kansas City played well on both sides of the ball, but couldn't hold off a potent Texans offense late. Despite the loss, the Chiefs still find themselves in first place in the lousy AFC West.
Kansas City found themselves leading the entire game, but a stalled late drive gave Texans QB Matt Schaub too much time. After failing to convert a late third and 2, Schaub eventually found WR Andre Johnson wide open in the end zone for the game winning score. The loss wasted both Matt Cassel and Bowe's best games as Chiefs, as well as a strong running attack led by Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.
A loss is a loss, but Chiefs fans should still remain optimistic about this season's potential. With such an easy schedule, Kansas City should be able to drop a few games on the road against potential playoff teams. With its next two games at home against Jacksonville and Buffalo, and a weak division, the Chiefs still remain in the driver's seat in the AFC East. If Kansas City's offense can continue to improve, there is no reason why this team shouldn't be in contention when January begins.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The Chiefs' second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered reasons to be both optimistic and pessimistic for the upcoming season for Kansas City fans. The offense looked to finally be establishing a rythem, while it was the same old story for the Chiefs' defense.
After looking like a high school team on offense against the Atlanta Falcons in the team's first preseason game, Matt Cassell and his receivers showed promise yesterday. The team's receivers got open and hung on to the ball, two glaring problems against Atlanta. Cassell seemed to settle down a bit, and the team developed some rythem on scoring drives. The Chiefs will be able to run the ball with the steady Thomas Jones and electric Jamaal Charles, and if the passing game remains steady, the offense could put some points on the board.
Another boost to the team has been the special teams, most notably Javier Arenas. The rookie had a long kickoff return to help set up one of the team's scoring drives, and has shown game-changing return ability the team has lacked since Dante Hall. The Chief's already boost reliable kickers in Ryan Succop and Dustin Colquitt, and with a strong return game, the Chief's special teams could be a difference maker this season.
However, with the good comes a lot bad, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The front seven continues to struggle with almost no pass rush and poor defending of the run. The secondary, which was viewed as a strength entering the season, has struggled with tackling and drawing penalties. While the secondary's problems can likely be corrected, it is starting to appear that the Chief's front seven lacks the personel to get the job done at a consistent basis. Romeo Crennell is one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, but he certainly has his work cut out for him.
The Chiefs showed much needed improvement from its starters in its second preseason game. The team still has a long way to go, luckily there are two preseason games still remaining. The team looks better, but it will need every second of its next too exhibition games to move back towards being a competitive team.
Friday, July 30, 2010
The Chiefs training camp may have just started, but the team is about to receive a significant boost to its defense. Top draft pick Eric Berry announced today that he has agreed to terms with the organization, and will be joining his teammates at camp at Missouri Western University located in Saint Joseph, MO.
Chiefs fans have been optimistic about this season all summer long, and the addition of Berry will likely increase excitement and expectations for the upcoming season. By avoiding a lengthy holdout, Berry will have a chance to go through the majority of camp and have a shot to start on a defense that is in desperate need of a playmaker. Berry will join a Chief's defense that is young but has a chance to be much improved, especially considering that most of the team's top draft picks in the past few seasons have been moves to improve a defense that has struggled since the days of Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas.
While some of the expectations set on Berry may be unfair, there is reason for hope that the team as a whole will be better. Matt Cassell showed signs of being worth his contract last season when he wasn't running for his life. The Chiefs now have a potent one-two punch at running back with veteran Thomas Jones and the explosive Jamal Charles. If the team can find consistency at receiver and on the offensive line, and the defense should be better as well. With a young and improved roster facing a schedule that is hardly daunting, the team has high expectations. Berry's arrival should only add to that.
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