Many of you familiar with AP know that even though I am on the site more than I would care to admit, I don't often chime in........especially in the off-season. For those who don't know me, I am one of the few Chief's fans in Memphis TN, and I am a positive person. I don't do negativity well.
I would rather hope for the best and be wrong than hope for the worst and be right.
But now the time has come. If you haven't noticed, we have a real team, and it's time to get excited.
Let me begin by apologizing for what I am about to do. I need you to close your eyes and travel with me for a quick recap of a horrible time not so long ago. The 2008 season.
After a horrid record of 4-12 in 2007, the only good news was that the only way to go was up. Right?
We followed that season up with a mind blowing 2-14 season in 2008. And the worst thing is that only netted us the 3rd pick in the draft. Teams that play that bad are usually at least fortunate enough to be able to draft the next big QB prospect. Unfortunately, the Lions had to break history and win no games that season. Yeah, they wound up with a QB who last year marked the 4th QB in history to throw for 5000 yards.
Oh well. No need crying over spilled milk. We got a pretty god pick out of that draft in my opinion.
Now, here we are 4 years after what had to be the darkest hour in Chiefs history. And I am pleased to say that things have changed.
This 2nd disclaimer is to the negative Chief's fans: You might want to leave now.
Let's start with the QB position. Yes the QB position. I know that many feel that we will never win a SB with Cassel at the helm, and that my or may not be true. But what is true is that the QB position is in a place that it hasn't been in since.......well, since I have been a fan (24 yrs). Ok. I know that some of the negative people ignored my disclaimer and kept reading. By now you are saying "What?, There is nothing to be excited about at the QB position".
I beg to differ. For the first time that I can recall, we have a competent starter (Yes I said competent), and
GASP!! we are developing a QB in house!!!! There have been many good things coming out of OTA's about Stanzi, and doggone it I'm excited. But we might not see him in real action until next year. Well, at least we have Cassel.
Now I admit it. There was a time last season where I wanted Cassel pulled because frankly, he was sucking. (Had I really understood Tyler Palko, I would have never complained. I am sorrry). But he has still been to a Pro-Bowl. And let's set that record straight right now. Yes he was an alternate, but he still deserved to be there. There were 16 starting QB's in the AFC. There were several other players if they just wanted to send someone. They sent the next best QB....Matt Cassel. And he earned that.
But whatever you think about Cassel, anyone except for Raider fans have to admit that we have come a long way in our QB situation since that dark hour. Our QB's were Tyler Thigpen and Brodie Croyle. Yeah, Cassel and Stanzi are upgrades.
Next up, WR.
Our Starters were Dwayne Bowe (Yay!) and Devard Darling (Who?). When Devard Darling is a starter, do you really want to hear the reserves? Well too bad. In the words of Beavis and Butthead, suffer dude. Try Mark Bradley, Will Franklin, and Jeff Webb. These dudes weren't even allowed to hit the waiver wire. I'm just kidding......I think.
Now we (hopefully) have a much better version of Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Breaston, and a promising rookie prospect in Wylie (Wylie could likely be the 2nd option on that 08 team right now). In other words, we actually have players who other teams would want if we let them go.
"Well what about running back?"...you ask. I am glad you asked.
Larry Johnson, Jackie Battle, Kolby Smith, and Dantrelle Savage. Again, only 1 person possibly still in the league. Now we have Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis, and the OW himself Dexter McCluster. I'm not even going to get into what Dex brings to the team because you can look up his stats from last year, but I expect him to "ball out ", as they say, in 2012. Why? Because he is a baller that gets hated on for no apparent reason. I believe that Daboli is going to get the best out of him.
Then there was the O-line.
If you were able to hold your lunch after reading the names of our old WR corp., then go and get the lined trash can now.
Our o-line was a rookie Brandon Albert, Brian waters, Rudy Niswanger, Adrian Jones, and Damion Mcintosh. Again, after Waters, everyone is out of the league. Now we have a veteran Albert, Ryan Lilja with a quality developing backup in Jeff Allen, a young and bright center in Hudson, a mauler in Asamoah, and a beast of a run blocking RT in Winston.
I'm not going to compare all of the positions because frankly, I can't stomach it. My point is that we have a lot to be excited about. And I don't mean excited out of delusion, I mean truly excited. I pray that God keeps the team healthy because if we can stay healthy, we should be in the running to win it all this year. Yeah, I said it, and I mean it.
Assuming everyone is healthy this year, we have one of the leagues best running backs and best running back tandems.
We have what should be one of the best o-lines. And if everything falls into place, we could have one of the best lines for years to come.
We have a great secondary with an AWESOME set of Safeties. Berry is one of the few young players that I believe could lose his athleticism (not that I think he has) and still be a pro bowl safety. He has a veteran's mindset. And Kendrick Lewis grew up before our eyes last year. I can't wait to see them back on the field together. And our corners? Brandon Flowers is probably the most underrated corner in the game. On paper, he doesn't stand out. But on the field, he locks down guys who are bigger and faster. And he might be the best tackler on the team. Like most everyone else, I was sad to see Carr go. But I understand and wish him well. While Routt is older, he is faster and taller. And by faster, I mean Elite speed. When Charles recently made the comment about being the fastest Chief, my mind immediately went to Routt. With Emmitt Thomas coaching him up, he could actually end up being better than Carr was. I for one am excited about him.
We have a very solid line backing core. Two of our LBs are pro-bowlers, and did I mention that they are straight up monsters? Beast just might be the most overused word in sports (behind swag anyway), but if there was ever anyone who deserved the "Beast" title, it's Tamba Hali. And Derrick Johnson can change a game when he gets in the zone. And these guys are CHIEFS! Justin Houston showed some great things in only his first year, so we should look for him to improve. We used to wish that we had players like this on our team, and now we do.
Then our unheralded D-Line got better. Contrary to what many have said, T-Jax and Dorsey have been shown to be effective linemen. I know we haven't seen Poe play, but if he can just use that 345lb frame to hold ground, then the D will be better for it. And the big guy is in the running for the most athletic big man in the league. Yeah we have to wait and see what he can really do, but if Romeo can turn Shaun Smith, and even Amon Gordon into solid contributors, it makes me giddy to think of what he can do with a talent like Poe. And speaking of Powe, he could still wind up being a great 2-gap NT. (See what I learned Kalo?)
Heck, we even have a good kicker! Anyone remember Justin Medlock? or maybe Conner Barth? Yeah.
We used to hope and pray for players like we have now. We are in position to be a factor when it is all said and done. And for the first time in as long as I can remember, you can compare this team to any other team in the NFL and we actually stand up!
I know that some of you are thinking yeah, all of this is great, but it's the offseason. We still have to play the games. That's true, but it's the offseason for other teams as well. At this point, every fan is assuming. Anything could happen. Who would have believed that Philip Rivers would have had the kind of year he had last year? And on the flip side, not very many people would have thought that Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton would have had the success that they had.
And it's funny how some people are all "It's the offseason!" when it comes to our Chiefs, but they will in the same breath say that Denver will win the West because a future HOF is there........a FHOF who just came off of multiple neck surgeries.......a FHOF who hasn't taken a snap in a complete season.........a FHOF who hasn't taken a hit in over a year. If you can see him having major success, then you should be able to see this lineup have success.
Long story short, it seems as if the Chiefs as an organization have turned a corner and there is a lot to be excited about. Usually, I want the season to start as soon as the Draft ends. But this season, I want to take the time to soak up the offseason. Do we have positions and things that could be better? Probably. But do we have a brighter future than we have had in a very long time? Absolutely. On both sides of the ball. This is a good time to be a Chiefs fan.