Running Game: With the emergence of Jamaal Charles and the substitution of Thomas Jones for
-2.7 Larry Johnson with almost certain appearances by Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs' running game appears poised to make a significant contribution, upgrading the 2009 KC Chiefs offense.
Not only have the Chiefs brought in Lilja and Wiegmann to provide depth and competition to strengthen a weak, but growing offensive line, but they also have Charlie Weis' brilliant mind leading the offense in 2010. Weis' experience calling the shots with the offense will help a team that struggled in 2009, in large part due to lack of speed, personnel, Haley juggling multiple duties, and going through the growing pains of rebuilding the offense; replacing Gailey's weak protection schemes and bland playbook. The Chiefs now have a zone blocking scheme, added protection, and the speed, leadership, and maturity at the running back position to make it a viable contributing weapon in 2010.Also, add in Weis' leadership and experience alone will make the running game a more solid, competitive piece to the 2010 KC Chiefs puzzle.
Passing Game: All the above comments are reasons the passing game will be more successful in 2010. Having an unpredictable offense makes it a stronger offense. In essence, the 2010 chiefs offense will not be one-dimensional. We will have a running game, and a strong one to boot. This will decrease the amount of third and longs the offense faces. Add in Charlie Weis calling plays, tutoring Cassel, and Haley's offensive contribution being scaled back (not stretched as much), the half year of gelling on the line and learning the new protection schemes and the zone blocking system, and we can be excited.
The problems with the 2009 Chiefs offense include, but aren't limited to: third and longs, no dimensions at all, sacks, dropped passes, learning a new system, and weak offensive coordinating. Good news, folks, the offense has learned the system, has a new OC (and a pretty good one at that), the line showed a decrease in sacks given up, and we've added three guys who can catch! In short, the Offense now has a passing game....the offense now has three dimensions: run, pass, and the element of surprise. We didn't have any of these three last year. Still, we managed 4 wins. It is safe to say we'll easily add to that. McCluster and Moeaki add big play ability as well as good hands and speed at their positions. Both plus Urban will add three guys who can catch. Did I mention Thomas Jones and Charles can catch it out of the backfield??
Run defense: Many believe, probably rightfully so, that there hasn't really been any significant contribution. Yeah, we signed an UDFA NT, but otherwise our run defense appears to be neglected. Instead, at least for this year, it appears that the Chiefs are counting on growth of players already on the team and Romeo Crennel working his magic (teaching coaching, scheme). Also, simply put, increasing the offense's effectiveness and Time of Possession will help keep the defense off the field. Of course, Berry will help just by actually tackling.
Pass defense: First off, as mentioned, we have Crennel. We also have Emmitt Thomas coaching the DBs. Anytime Clancy Pendergast leaves your team's defense, that defense gets better instantly. Anytime you add Romeo Crennel, your defense gets better instantly. Put the two together, and you've already gotten better over night.
We know the contribution Eric Berry will make on the pass defense, as long as having Arenas as a nickle back and blitzer. It is no secret that the defensive backs have improved through the draft. No, I don't think the pass defense will be great, but it will at least be serviceable, average. the weaknesses of the 2009 defense included, but weren't limited to: conditioning, big plays, poor tackling, lack of pass rush, and lack of speed. We know Haley will take care of the conditioning, along with an improved offense increasing T.O.P.
The draft helped fix our lack of speed. Romeo Crennel and an increase of team speed will help fix the big plays, pass rush, and the tackling. Special teams will immensely help field position. We will have at least one good returner in 2010, and not at the expense of Jamaal Charles. Special teams alone will have a domino effect on the offense and defense. We now have a dangerous, quick scoring special teams unit.
Quick, can you think of another team with an all-around better special teams unit? coverage, kicking, punting, and returning? we have it all. perhaps we could use a kick off specialist with a strong leg to generate more touchbacks, but we can't be too greedy.
Optimistic about 2010?
You should be. If things play out right, the 2010-11 off-season wish list might only include upgrades at NT, LB, and OL. After that, we're looking at depth.