In a league that has made things easier for quarterbacks and wide receivers, it’s hard to believe the Chiefs went through a whole season with not one of their wide receivers catching a touchdown pass. It seems as if a team couldn’t accomplish that even if they tried. Especially a team that has an offensive guru like Andy Reid as it’s head coach.
There are a few reasons why the Chiefs were able to accomplish this and surprisingly, none of the reasons have to do with the quarterback.
The Chiefs offensive line was bad last year and they lost their one bright spot, center Rodney Hudson to the rival Raiders this off-season. This leaves the Chiefs looking at former number one overall selection Eric Fisher like “Dude, really?” The Chiefs were either thinking too hard or not enough when they took Fisher with the first pick of the 2013 draft. He interviewed well, passed all the physicals with flying colors – but the big red flag was that he played for Central Michigan. Not Michigan State and not Michigan. Central Michigan from out of the MAC Conference. Fisher is manning left tackle but at least he has a two time pro bowl guard next to him in Ben Grubbs from the Saints.
The wide receiver group last season was flat out awful. The Chiefs have finally parted ways with the over-paid and under-producing Dwayne Bowe. They also parted ways with the “now you see me, now you don’t” Donnie Avery. This made way for Andy Reid to reunite with former Philadelphia Eagle, Jeremy Maclin. Maclin entering his sixth season, had over 1300 yards in Philly and brings a real threat to opposing secondaries. Maclin is reunited with former teammate Jason Avant, who might be the number two option right now but the Chiefs are hoping that their third round pick out of Georgia, the big Chris Conley will turn out to be a consistent fixture in their offense. Da’Ron Brown out of Northern Illinois is an intriguing player to keep an eye on as well.
If things don’t go right with their receivers, they might go big with a two tight end set having 6’5″ Travis Kelce and 6’7″ Demetrius Harris. Kelce was the team’s leading receiver last year with over 800 yards.
With all that went wrong last year, it’s amazing that Jamaal Charles was able to finish with over one thousand rushing yards when it was all said and done. That’s more a testament to his talent and will than anything else. Charles is still the focal point of this offense, but the addition of Maclin should help out Charles in the sense that now defenses have to mind the threat he (Maclin) poses. De’Anthony Thomas has game breaking speed and abilities – he has to be a part of the every day offensive scheme Reid plans on presenting to offer another dimension to this offense.
For all the negativity Alex Smith gets, he is the prototypical game managing quarterback that head coaches really don’t mind having. He doesn’t make many mistakes and is a lot more athletic than he gets credit for.
Last year, linebacker Justin Houston was an animal and recorded twenty two sacks for the season. Houston was in contract disputes with the Chiefs and they agreed on a six-year contract worth $101 million ($52.5 guaranteed). With Derrick Johnson returning from injury, the pass rush from the linebackers should be viable, which is important because after tackle Dontari Poe and defensive end Allen Bailey – the Chiefs defensive line is packed with middle of the road rotation players. One shouldn’t buy to high into Bailey’s stock either. . .
The secondary is in flux, to say the least. Eric Berry returns to the defense after fighting lymphoma and word from Chiefs camp is that he is out there making plays. That’s a positive sign for the defense and more importantly Berry moving forward. The Chiefs best option at corner back is their first round pick Marcus Peters out of Washington State. Peters showed a lot of natural skill at the position and is tough as nails. The only fault of Peters is that he’s a bit of a hot head. He might be exactly what this team needs in the secondary to ignite some kind of fire in them; or he might be a distraction to the team as a whole.
Predicted Record: 5-11
Predicted Pro Bowlers: Dontari Poe, Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin