This season will always be a memorable one for me. Despite not making the playoffs, the fact that we got so close despite all the injuries and firings and various misfortunes shows me that when KC is healthy, motivated and ready to play they should be nearly impossible to beat. But just like any team, they can improve. And here are my keys to victory for next season.
Bulk up on the O-line. I say it time and time again because I feel like it is so vital. I'm sure everyone on this website, and in all of Chiefs fandom would be ok with a big, athletic line that is swift and agile enough to suit Jamaal, but big and strong enough to suit for a brusier like McClain or Battle so for once in a season we can convert a goddamn third and one of the ground, or maybe not get stuffed 3 times in a row on the goalline like this season because the interior of our line (specifically Wiegmann and Lilja) are too small to get any push versus a big guy like Raji (he manhandled those two all day during the Packers game and I was becoming furious). Imagine picking up a huge, athletic guy like Carl Nicks in the free agency. New Orleans isn't willing to pay him the dough and Kansas City sure has enough of it. Then draft a franchise LT/RT, move Albert to RT or keep him at LT depending on who we draft, then swap out Wieg for Hudson and we have a line that's just as athletic as our current one and probably 25 pounds heavier on average.
Establish the run in every game. Look at the games we've won this year. The recurring trait I've found is that either our defense was shutdown or that our offense could actually mix it up a bit. It was hard to do anything on the ground this season with Jamaal gone and all, but we did get by, and that is thanks to Jackie and McClain. Just games into the season, when Jamaal was gone and all hope seemed lost, Jackie came out from deep in the depth chart and seemingly saved us from having virtually no ground game. His raw determination and unwillingness to go down was astounding, and I'd love to see him come back next year.
Get depth in the secondary (and anywhere else, for that matter). This season showed me how shallow we were at a lot of positions. With a team prone to injury like ours, we need some quality backups. Whether it's from the draft or free agency, we just need it. I don't want to see Thomas Langford, Donald Washington or Sabby Piscitelli on the field, ever.
Keep the workload off of Jamaal. Along with so many other things, this season showed me how much our offense needs Jamaal and even Moeaki. Jamaal is obviously vital, he's the most explosive player in the league and had legendary numbers last year. And Moeaki provided Cassel with a checkdown guy who he could actually trust, a security blanket of sorts. If everyone else was covered, Moeaki was always there, something Pope as yet to do. Reducing injuries is key to any team, and the best way to do that is by not letting them get hit so much. And I'd say the best way to do this with Jamaal is by using someone like we did in 2010 with Thomas Jones, a guy who can take the pain, grind out tough yards, and throw a defense off when Jamaal comes in. Call me crazy, but I think that guy is Le'Ron McClain. Unlike Jackie (love him, but he's knicked up a lot), he's very durable, a reliable receiver out of the backfield, and we can use him in a two back set with Jamaal the entire game so defenses won't be tipped off as to what we're doing. We could give it to Jamaal and have Le'Ron lead block, or Le'Ron could just take it himself and plow forward for a few yards. It's less predictable.
And finally, get a good nose tackle. By any means. Gregg was great this year, but he's been playing for years. He'll be retiring soon or at least his quality of play will drop, so we need a younger guy. We have a monster in Powe, but he's young and inexperienced. My best idea would be to delve into the free agency and grab Paul Solai, one of the biggest players in the league at 6'4 and 360 pounds and in my opinion the most underrated D-lineman in the league. He's fills gaps with his massive size, manhandles small centers as if they are children and is surprisingly nimble and quick on his feet.
So yeah, that's about it for me. The defense is pretty good and should get even better with Berry, the receivers are all young and have a bright future ahead of them, quarterback is a little shaky (is it ever not?) but I think that at least for now we don't need to draft or pick up a new QB, he's here to stay.