It was as recent as 2 months ago that envisioning the Chiefs with a Super Bowl patch on the front of their jerseys at MetLife Stadium in New York was as delusional as a wanderer seeing an oasis in the sahara desert. We Chiefs fans were clamoring for a .500 season to mark a marginal improvement from last year's abysmal result. And yet, 5 weeks after we claimed that 2-3 would be a fantastic start to the season, the Kansas City Chiefs sit on a pedestal big enough for just two other teams at 5-0.
Part of me wants to rejoice and already claim the Chiefs Super Bowl contenders, and the other part of me, most likely scarred from the baggage that has weighed me down since 2006, wants to withhold judgment just one more week every week, sure that we'll lose the next, and start tumblin' again. Perhaps it is the more reasonable me, the realistic me that stands at the bottom of this valley swooped by my polar positions that tells me the truest of feelings. It is this me that says we are a marginally better team, but we are "playoff contenders", and not yet "Super Bowl contenders". I do not think that the Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders, and that is due to their offense. "But DCF, what about Trent Dilfer and the 2000 Ravens? Defense wins championships!" Well, you do have a good point, and the current Broncos are very comparable to the Rams of that time, but the difference is, we have to play the offensive juggernaut in our conference; in our own division, no less! So basically, there is no way we get to being true Super Bowl contenders without going through our own 2000 Rams, the 2013 Broncos. Now, I realize I've gone off on a bit of a tangent and ignored the point of this post, the Chiefs offense, but I had to address your question! The Chiefs' offense has already shown signs of being a problem and holding them back from being the best team they possibly can be. I know that Rome wasn't built in a day, and the 2012 Chiefs weren't turned into the Super Bowl champions in a year, but I think there is a way for the Chiefs to become a Super Bowl contender this year. How is that, you ask? We need more offense. It's as simple as that. If we could establish a better offense, then the weakest facet of our game would still be a relative strength (see "the Denver Broncos defense") In order to establish this offense, we need another weapon.
Jamaal Charles is doing a fantastic job shouldering the load, and we've had great and unexpected contributions from some players, namely Bloodbath and Donnie Avery. But Alex Smith only has the skills to take what the defense is giving him, and right now, defenses don't have to give us much. I'm becoming less and less of a Bowe supporter, and feel that he is simply a big, physical possession receiver with not enough speed or skill position type attributes to be a true weapon all by himself at the receiver position. Without another receiving weapon to take the double coverages off of him, he is no more than a scrawny tight end lined up outside. Donnie Avery is good, but inconsistent and predictable. McCluster comes and goes, shows flashes of a weapon, and flashes of true suckage. I do think that this offense will improve a bit when Fasano returns, but the sad fact of the matter is this: this offense is something that will kill us in the future: predictable. We don't have enough weapons to be unpredictable; we can only use what we got. So what do I believe is the catalyst to a more potent offense? A shiny new weapon!
Having a new weapon would make defensive coordinators hesitate when they draw up their gameplan. They won't be able to use a stock plan against us, or predict our gameplan. They will have to gameplan for more than just Jamaal Charles and a few other occasional contributors. Not only that, but having another receiving weapon will free up Bowe, and give him the opportunity to do what he's good at: using his physicality to beat and establish position against single coverage. There are two widely talked about options for a new offensive toy over here at Arrowhead Pride: Josh Gordon, and our old pal Tony Gonzalez. Let's talk about them.
You know what you're getting with Tony Gonzalez. You're getting a fantastic work ethic, a true leader, and one of the best players to ever play his position. Having one of the most consistent red zone quarterbacks in Alex Smith, combined with one of the best red zone players of all time, Gonzo himself, is a truly tantalizing (or terrifying, if you're loyal to one of 31 other teams out there) thought. Not only would Tony play at a consistently stellar level throughout the game, but he would demand double teams during key moments, freeing up other options for the keen IQ of Alex Smith to mull through as he sits back in the pocket, such as D Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Anthony Fasano, or Bloodbath. Some other pros to acquiring Gonzalez would be Alex's awesome history with tight ends, 2 tight end sets with Fasano and Gonzo, and Kelce learning under him. We all know about how Smith loves to throw down the middle of the field. He's freaking good at it too. He has shown the ability to throw it on the money to seam routes down the middle, and he has also shown that not only are tight ends an asset to him, but he can be an asset to them. He jump started the career of Vernon Davis, and has made the likes of undrafted, for-all-intents-and-purposes-rookie Sean McGrath look like the second coming of the Gonzo. Imagine how fantastically Smith would do with the best tight end of all time. Having the likes of Tony and the above average Anthony Fasano to throw to over the middle of the field would be making Smith a happy, happy quarterback, especially when Bloodbath is waiting in the wings. Having Gonzalez on this team could definitely turn the Chiefs into a Super Bowl contender, but there are some cons as well. One huge problem is that TG is, in all likelihood, retiring at the end of this season. It's tough to justify giving up too high of a pick for a player that will only last 3/4 of one season, and it's also tough to justify, from Atlanta's perspective, giving up a player the caliber of Tony Gonzalez and effectively throwing the towel in for the season for too low of a pick. Some magic will have to be worked by the front office to reasonably acquire the man of many reds. Another downside would be that we would be taking our cap room down to almost nothing. An easy solution to this would be to wait until the trade deadline, but there is something to be said for getting him as soon as possible, too. Gonzalez is an interesting option, but let's move on to our next prospect.
Josh Gordon has quickly become a rising star in the NFL, since being drafted by the Browns in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft. He has good size and decent physicality for a wide receiver, blazing speed, and definite big play ability. He will beat you deep, which is something that Gonzalez doesn't really bring to the table at this point. Josh Gordon would effectively add another home run hitter to our offense, which is an awesome thought. A big credit to Gordon's potential is the quarterbacking he's been producing with. Brandon Weeden is, certainly in my opinion, one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL, and Gordon hasn't seemed to let that drag him down. Having Bowe and Gordon on the outside, with Avery in the slot, and Fasano/McGrath playing TE is a potent possibility. Another advantage to Gordon is his age. A second year player, Josh Gordon is 22 years old; that's a staggering 15 years younger than Tony Gonzalez, the 37 year old robot. Gordon could become a weapon for this Chiefs offense for many, many years. Gordon's stats have been impressive for his experience. In 2012, he had 50 receptions for 805 yards with 5 TDs in 16 games, averaging 16.1 YPC, and 50.3 yards per game. So far in 2013, Gordon has had 18 receptions for 303 yards with 2 TDs in 3 games, averaging 16.8 YPC, and an impressive 101 yards per game. Now, you may ask, "why has Gordon only played in three of five games?" Well, while Gordon's stats have impressed, he has had some behavioral issues, namely a two game suspension at the beginning of this season after testing positive for codeine. This may not seem like a huge problem, but when you take into account that one more positive test results in a year-long suspension for Gordon, it is worrying. The Browns are reportedly taking offers for Gordon, which will come across as a pro for some and a con for others. He will be easier to acquire than Gonzalez, but one has to wonder why the Browns would be looking to get rid of him. The compensation level for Gordon would depend on the Browns desire to get picks combined with their desire to rid themselves of Gordon. Keep in mind that Cleveland management gave away Trent Richardson for what we can all assume will be a very late 1st round pick, so Gordon will most likely go for a mid-round pick. Josh Gordon would supply the Chiefs with a home run hitter in the receiving game, and a budding star that has many, many years ahead of him, if he can keep his head on straight.
So, fellow Chiefs fans, you've heard my layman's analysis, and now I want to hear your opinions! Who would you rather have as a shiny new toy for this Chiefs offense to turn them into super bowl contenders: Tony Gonzalez, Josh Gordon, neither (save those picks and protect cap room), or other (leave the name of other potential players in the comments!)