Well APers the decade of the 2000s was a pretty rough ride for fans of the Chiefs. We went from being a dominant force in the 90s under Marty Schottenheimer to a pretty good but very old team under Dick Vermiel to an utter embarrassment under Herm Edwards.
Now, we have brought in some young blood in Todd Haley and, although a lot of us may or may not like what we saw under the young head coach, he's here to stay. To me it looks like he showed tremendous improvement over the course of the 2009 season and the offense in particular began to look like one that could soon be an unstoppable mix of an incredible rushing attack and an aggressive downfield passing game. It was a rough year for most of us here at AP. I think many of us had grandiose expectations of what we would see but, the more the season went on, the more we began to realize that this season was being used to evaluate the young talent on the roster as opposed to winning now. It's painful when the fans who have already been longsuffering have to go through such a tumultuous year but, it was necessary to find out who can stay here as a Chief and lead the great fans of the Chiefs to the promised land.
Now, here we are. It's a brand new decade and I think most of us will agree that the worst is behind us. This last season (as bad as it was) gave us fans a lot to be optimistic about in regards to our beloved Chiefs. We saw Haley bring in more players in one season than I have ever seen brought in by a team. Some worked out great, others...not so much. Additions of Sean Ryan and Zach Thomas left us disappointed while several other additions like Chris Chambers and Leonard Pope gave us reason to believe that maybe, these guys actually do know what they're doing. We even saw addition by subtraction with the whole "LJgate" thing. It still amazes me how bad the o-line looked when he was playing behind them only to find out that a LOT of the problems were never really on the line but, actually a problem of having to hold their blocks for way too long waiting for him to punch it through the hole. Which brings me to my very favorite bright spot from the 2009 season.
Jamaal Freaking Charles!
What can you say about this kid. He has it all. He not only has incredible speed and vision but also shows himself to be tough to tackle as well. He is a legitimate home run threat every time he touches the ball. His presence on the field has had an effect on every aspect of this football team in ways I never realized were possible. We all saw it this last Sunday on the first play of the game when Denver bit so hard on the play action that I swear the guys on that defense must have had holes in their lip. It was not only like that on the first drive but the play action was effective all day and that's not even mentioning his record breaking day on the ground...Amazing. That was an offensive performance that we haven't seen since Dick Vermiel was here and we all know how amazing that offense was with Holmes, Roaf, Shields, Green, Kennison, Morton, Richardson, Gonzo, and Dunn. The crazy part about it is, this offense has nowhere near the talent that offense had but, the performance in Denver was as good if not better than any we ever saw in the Vermiel era. I also have to mention that Coach Vermiel NEVER won a game at Denver and we stomped their guts out and embarrassed them while keeping them out of the playoffs...all at their house...Priceless!
But, I'm not here to dwell on that game. I'm here to talk about the young nucleus of talent that is now the Kansas City Chiefs and the future of this franchise. It looks to me like things are looking way up for this team. We now have a RB who is definitely one of the best if not the very best in the league but, the Chiefs passing game has come a long with Cassel, Chambers, and D-Bowe. I'm sure I am not the only one who was disappointed with Bowe this year but, I think we all know what a great offensive weapon he can and will be for us. As far as Cassel is concerned, I'm sure most of you know how I have felt about him this year. Let's face it, he was pretty underwhelming. However, I do think he has the potential to be good and the earlier hiring of Charlie Weiss will do him nothing but good. In fact, I believe that Charlie Weiss is the kind of OC that could take his career to heights he never would have reached otherwise. It is very well documented that Weiss has turned decent QBs (Bledsoe, Brady, and even Claussen) into superstars. I am very hopeful that the same will happen with #7 and I'm sure we will start to see that come to fruition in the 2010 season.
As far as the defense goes, I have a harder time being positive but hey, it doesn't get any worse than 32nd in the league right? Actually, the young nucleus of talent applies on that side of the ball as well. We have some very promising young guys like Hali, Dorsey, Studebaker, Flowers, and Jackson. The thing is, they are just now starting to come into their own and now, the season's over. The defensive unit actually showed quite a bit of improvement later in the season and started to get some pretty good pressure on opposing QBs as well as getting some turnovers. So, we have quite a bit to be optimistic about there too. If we can get Romeo Crennell to come here, I have a feeling this defense will improve by leaps and bounds next year.
So, here we are. It's a brand new decade and a new era in Chiefs football. Things are looking up for this franchise that has been troubled for the last several years. It seems to me that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley are COMMITTED to building a winner here in KC. With a rising star In Jamaal Charles and a decent young QB with lots of room to improve we will see this turn into what I think will be a top 5 offense in the next 2 seasons. If we can get Romeo Crennell on board along the recent hiring of his buddy Charlie Weiss, this defense could turn around VERY quickly with a couple of nice additions at NT LB and SS. The Kansas City Chiefs WILL win a Championship in the 2010s and we can all be proud and say we toughed it out through one of the most painful and difficult eras in Chiefs history. We can all smile as we watch our young head coach hoist up the Lombardi trophy and say: " I can die now" The Chiefs have won the Super Bowl.