Last year was the classic tale of two seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs. Las Vegas had the over - under for season wins at 4 for the team. They quickly blew that away starting off with an impressive 9-0 winning streak leading into their bye week. However, they finished a disappointing 2-5 in their last 7 games proving there is still work to be done.
Bringing in Andy Reid proved to be one of the best moves possible for both the franchise and him. He has long been a very successful and well respected coach in the league, but things had gone from bad to worse with the ‘experiment' in Philadelphia. He essentially was tied to Vick, and once he fell through, the writing was on the wall. The team wanted to go a different way and Reid still had a lot to offer to the league. He showed just how much that was last season.
Smith came into the starting role after unceremoniously losing his job to Kaepernick mid-way through the 2012 season. In a way, he and Reid were tailor-made for each other at this point in their career. Both have proven their abilities, yet each one still feels like they have even more to show the naysayers.
This year's draft can't be completely evaluated unless you include Alex Smith in the conversation, why? Simple. He's the reason the team didn't have a pick in the 2nd round, they traded it away in the process of acquiring him. That being said, after his performance last season, it was certainly a wise move. With their first selection, 23rd overall, the Chiefs drafted Dee Ford, DE from Auburn.
A big reason the Chiefs lost games at the end of last season was a lack of pass-rush production. Dee Ford is expected to help solve that problem. He's an excellent edge rusher who has all the skills necessary to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. As the modern NFL continues to be an offensive driven game, and the offenses are driven by the pass, men like Dee Ford will always be very valuable to a team. I don't doubt his ability, and I realize just how important his skill set is. However, I think the Chiefs didn't maximize the value of the 23rd pick. He offers little help against the run which means starting out he may only play in passing situations. I don't know how much he'll be able to develop that either. A guy who couldn't stop the run in college is all of a sudden going to start stopping it against the best in the world? Seems unlikely. He also has the medical concern with the back surgery from 2011 and the knee injury that held him out of last year's season opener. Obviously, the Chiefs staff has much more information about him then we do and they felt confident enough to take him this high, but I do have some concerns.
With their 3rd round pick the team drafted Phillip Gaines CB from Rice. It seems like the team is trying to take a page from Seattle's playbook with the way it is building the defensive backfield. Gaines will add depth to Flowers and Smith and also help to turn the unit into one of the most physical in the NFL. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton likes to play an aggressive, press-man scheme and Gaines should fit well into that. He still needs to bulk up a little, he only weighed 193 lbs at the Combine, but he has the frame to do it. He has excellent ball skills and his length allow him to make plays that others can't. He needs to be developed a little but he has the potential to turn into a number 1 corner in this league.
I don't think the first half of last season was a fluke or lucky in any way, I think it was a flash of the potential this team has. They have veteran players, veteran leadership and a coach that knows how to win. They added solid talent through the draft which is only going to put them in a better position in the coming years. It's still going to be tough to win the division because of Denver, but 10-6 or even 11-5 will get us a wild card slot. I feel good about the future.