May 24, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) throws a pass as running back Peyton Hillis (40) watches during organized team activities at the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
NFL Network's Michael Lombardi recently took a look at the most pressing questions for every NFL team as we enter training camp. For the Kansas City Chiefs, Lombardi writes that the play of Peyton Hillis is critical to the team's success in the 2012 season.
The Chiefs must successfully pound the ball on the ground, but which Peyton Hillis will show up? Hillis could give Kansas City a legitimate power back (like he did for Cleveland in 2010), but he also could miss games (like he did in 2011). There is no other full-time runner on this team, as Jamaal Charles is a change-of-pace back. The Chiefs managed just five rushing touchdowns all season in 2011.
I can see that. I'd probably put the health of the team and the play of Matt Cassel ahead of it but Lombardi hits on something that will be arguably the most important part of the team -- how well they rush the ball.
It's no secret the Chiefs plan to use their running backs quite a bit in 2012 and if they're going to make the playoffs they'll need one of the top rushing attacks in the game. Matt Cassel thrives when he has a solid running game, which then creates a legit play-action.
This season is all about returning to what they did well in 2010, the AFC West title year. Establish one of the league's best rushing attacks, allow Cassel to not make mistakes and capitalize when he needs to and play above average defense. That's the formula right there. Easier said than done, though.