Wow. Training camp is going full steam. It seems like the draft was only yesterday, and 2009 was the week before that. Fellow Chief's fans, regardless of what happens, WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY.
Ok. I know it is still technically the offseason, and right now everyone is set up to be SB Champions....except many of them aren't. I know that was an odd statement, but it came about for a reason. I have read several times (not only on AP) in the last few days that "everyone thinks their team is going to the SB this time of year". That's just not true. In fact, I can remember thinking "we aren't looking very good". I remember thinking "we need more depth". I remember thinking "Who is that guy?"
As hard as it was to admit, we weren't a very good organization when it came to consistently putting a good product in the field. But through it all, I tried to stay positive.
I was positive because I chose to be. Now I am positive because I should be.
Fast forward to today and just about everything is not only different, but better than it was a few years back. I am going to throw some more fuel on the fire by giving 5 reasons I am feeling good about this season. These are not in any particular order nor are they the only things to get excited about, but I want to put them out there.
1. Matt Cassel seems to be playing the part. - I can hear some of you now, "training camp means nothing". I agree that training camp is not a game, but the reports out of camp definitely mean something because we have never gotten these types of reports before. Sure, someone always says that Cassel is looking pretty good in camp, but we never had consistent positive information about actual plays. There has been very little negative info coming out about Cassel. I personally think that there are a few reasons why. Let's start with Daboll. Even though he hasn't accomplished much yet, I really like the way he runs an offense. When I went back an watched the Dolphins game from last year, he did some things that I would love to see from the Chiefs this year. And I can't put enough emphasis on Cassel having ONE offensive mind, and ONE person calling plays. I have heard some people say that having a new coordinator every year is not a big deal, and while it definitely doesn't help, I tend to agree. But having a different system every year is a big deal. And having 3 different people telling you what to do is awful.
I can relate. I have had jobs where every year we had a new system to learn. And yeah, I learned it, but no one wanted to do that every year. And I have also been micromanaged by multiple people. I can't think of much that is worse than having multiple bosses telling you what to do. Everyone has a different opinion on how you should do things, and then you have to hear it when you don't do it that particular person's way. That can create a miserable environment. Now that all of that is out of the way, it is time for us to see what we have in Cassel.
2. Jovan Belcher - Let me guess. Some of you are looking like O_o .
Well I am excited about Belcher. You know why? Because he has shown steady improvement EVERY YEAR. I used to group him with Brandon Carr in that regard. Since 09 he has been solid at the position. I think he is a little undersized and could be upgraded, but he is solid. He has been a longshot his whole career. If he continues to improve, then it makes the D that much better, and it gives us another position to focus on. I remember that people used to say that Mike Singletary was too small. We could only hope that he ever comes close to what Mike was in the middle.
3. Let's go back to Daboll. - I believe that he is going to be great for this offense. Everything about our playcalling last year was horrendous. It took too long to get the play out, and when it did finally get to Cassel, it usually sucked. If I never see Dex run a draw up the middle again, it would still be too soon. I don't know who was actually calling the plays, but I am glad that Daboll is calling them now. What he did with Miami the second half of the season was amazing. And who he did it with was even more amazing. I believe that Cassel is probably a little better than Matt Moore (definitely no worse) and I know that Charles is better than Reggie Bush as a RB. In fact, I think that offensively, we are better at every unit than the Dolphins were last year, so I am really excited to see what he is going to do.
4. Depth - People, we now have depth. Do you know that our current 2nd unit could likely have beaten our starters from 2007-2009? We have what seems to be quality depth at just about every position now. Remember back in 2003 when we were, dare I say, offensive Juggernauts? Those were very exciting times, but anyone who was paying attention noticed that we had several All Pro starters, but no depth. That never changed. An injury here combined with a retirement there turned us into one of the weakest rosters in the NFL. Depth was no longer an option as we needed starters. The most telling stat of all was the number of players from our 07-09 squads who are not even in the league anymore. I don't remember the exact number, but it is staggering. No one wanted many of the players we had starting. Now, we have young depth that can be really good for us for years to come. This leads into the last reason I am feeling good about the season.
5. We are drafting and developing talent in house. - I know I have said it before, but this is huge, and for years was our team's biggest problem IMO. When you have to depend on FA to build your team, then you are already playing from behind. FA is almost as big of a crap shoot as the draft. Most of the time, teams don't let great players leave (unless they were playing for us a few years ago). Usually if a team allows a player to hit the streets, it is for a reason. Combine that with the fact that we were awful at evaluating talent, and you have Kendrell Bell, Shawn Barber, Amani Toomer, Bobby Wade..........(Say uncle or I will keep going!)......Mike Brown!!!...Did I hear uncle? I thought so. Now we build through the draft filling the occasional hole with FA, and we continue to develop players once they are here. This has allowed us to create depth, and in the future, it is going to translate into draft picks. When you can develop talent, you can trade good players for draft picks without having to get rid of your core or set the team back.
And once you are really good at it, you can time it just right. You can get rid of a player when they still look like they are great, but you know that they really don't have it anymore. How many players have we had who the front office thought were on 'E' but they still had alot in the tank? Lawrence Tynes (how many years did we need a kicker?), Donnie Edwards, and Rich Gannon quickly come to mind. Now we take guys and squeeze every bit of talent out of them. Guys like Carr, Belcher, Shaun Smith, Amon Gordon (and apparently Toribio is on the way) have made contributions that most of us didn't think they would be able to make. This is arguably the most exciting aspect of our team right now.
We are not only the youngest team in the league, but on paper we are stacked. If we can get everything to translate over to the field and stay healthy, then we should do some damage. We also have playoff experience now. Again, these are just 5 things that I wanted to quickly highlight. Let's go Chiefs!!