NFL Preview: The Kansas City Chiefs
by Mark Hereford on August 4, 2010

2010 Chiefs Schedule

Monday Sept. 13th   San Diego   

Sunday Sept. 19th @ Cleveland

Sunday Sept. 26th   San Francisco

Sunday Oct. 3rd   Bye

Sunday Oct. 10th  @ Indianapolis

Sunday Oct. 17th @ Houston

Sunday Oct. 24th  Jacksonville

Sunday Oct. 30th  Buffalo

Sunday Nov. 7th @ Oakland

Sunday Nov.  14th  @ Denver

Sunday Nov.  21st   Arizona

Sunday Nov 28th  @ Seattle

Sunday Dec 5th  Denver

Sunday Dec.  12th  @ San Diego

Sunday Dec. 19th  @ St. Louis

Sunday  Dec. 26th  Tennessee

Sunday Jan. 2nd   Oakland

Draft Picks in 2010.

  • #5 (First round) Tennessee S Eric Berry;
  • #36 (Second round) Mississippi RB/WR Dexter McCluster;
  • #50 (Second round) Alabama CB Javier Arenas;
  • #68 (Third round) Illinois G Jon Asamoah;
  • #93 (Third round) Iowa TE Tony Moeaki;
  • #136 (Fifth round) Mississippi S Kendrick Lewis; and,
  • #142 (Fifth round) Troy LB Cameron Sheffield.

Being a Kansas City Chiefs’ fan the last three years has been an unpleasant experience to say the least. The loyalists must feel like they are forced to watch a movie about the Titanic and they keep hoping in vain for a different ending. 2010 should be different for those fans. There is actually hope this year won’t be as bad as the last three. Some of that hope came from not signing free agents of having a top pick in the draft. The hope begins with the hiring of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel as offensive and defensive coordinators this season. The duo were integral parts of the coaching staff that lead the Patriots to three Super bowl wins. Todd Haley has already turned the offensive reigns over to Charlie and will allow him to call the plays in 2010. Crennel gets the same treatment on the defensive side as well, allowing Haley to be the head coach and not a coordinator as well.

However, will there be enough talent on the team to avoid another 4 win season in 2010? Surprisingly the answer is yes. The Chiefs do have enough players on this roster to be better than 4-12. Let’s start with the offense. Matt Cassel will be the starter. Like Trent Green when he came to KC, the second year should see marked improvement. He’ll be running a system he is familiar with and Weis should know how to use him. If Matt goes down to an injury, the new Freddy Kruger of NFL QB’s, Brodie Croyle will step in since I see no other QB on the roster that has any major experience at all. Chief’s fans have gotten rid of Brodie so many times in their minds that his presence on the roster seems supernatural. Yet here he is in 2010, clearly the only choice for backup. He has put on weight and stayed healthy for the first time in 2009. Here is an area that probably has Haley and Weis scouring the waiver wires constantly. I have to think another backup is a priority for the team.

Running back should be strength in KC this season. Jamaal Charles came on strong the last 8 games of 2009 and Thomas Jones is a young 32 and coming off a 1400 yard rushing season. Both complement each other and Jones presence should keep Weis from overusing Charles. Jamaal is not a 25 -30 carry per game back. If Charles gets around 20, and Jones 15, this will be a very effective running game and will improve from their 11th place ranking in 2009. The fullback will be Tim Castille in all probability. He is an adequate blocker and has good hands out of the backfield. Second round pick Dexter McCluster will see some time in the backfield too, my guess in certain passing situations. Dexter has speed-a-plenty and will also get work at WR and kick returner. Might even see a little Wildcat with him as well, if Charlie is so inclined to use it. This area should be one of the strongest ones on the team.

Wide receiver is a different story. This could be a good group led by 2007 first round pick Dwayne Bowe and uber-veteran Chris Chambers. They could be good comes from a propensity to allow the football to somehow elude their grasp at key times. If this duo can somehow channel their inner Freddy Biletnikoff and catch the pigskin, (or if the NFL rescinds their ban on stick-em) Matt Cassel can have a good year and the offense can be very effective. If they can’t, you’ll be seeing a lot of Dexter McCluster (in the role Dante Hall filled in 2002-05), Jerheme Urban (the Cardinals fourth receiver last year), Lance Long, TE’s Leonard Pope and Tony Moeaki, and a lot of prayers for Mr. Cassel.

Speaking of prayers, Matt will be saying a lot of them for a better performance from the offensive line this year. If they play like they did the last half of ’09, they will be adequate. They seem to be able to run block well enough. Can they improve enough at protecting the QB though? Veteran Casey Weigmann is back in KC and that should help at center. Brian Waters is long in the tooth now but having Casey back should help him with his guard duties. Jon Asamoah, a third round pick from Illinois should be able to earn a guard spot by midseason or at least some playing time. Ryan Lilja, a hometown player, should step in at guard right away. His experience should be a big help to a line that has little real depth. The tackles will be Branden Albert and Ryan O’Callaghan. There is only one other true tackle listed on the roster at this time. Look for KC to scour the waiver wires to add some depth here. This line is not deep, but they do seem to be improving. If they can give Cassel some time to throw and continue to open holes, they’ll be fine, but a mid pack line at best. Any injuries or players having bad seasons will hurt the offense considerably. This is the weakest part of the offensive equation for 2010 and they need to be better than last year for Weis to have an effective offense.

Romeo Crennel has his work cut out for him in 2010. How will he take a defense ranked 30th last year and get them to being a respectable mid-pack defense? Well, he does have a wealth of number one draft picks on the defense. Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, and Tamba Hali have all been first rounders since 2005. Yet the defense struggles year after year. Romeo has to come up with a scheme that puts players in a position to make plays, a rare occurrence for KC in the past three years. The playmakers are there though. The defense line began to do a decent job of stopping the run until Glenn Dorsey suffered a late season injury. His absence was felt heavily in the Cleveland game as the Browns ran for over 300 yards against the Chiefs. Glenn will have to continue to improve and show he can be a force on the defense line. Tyson Jackson will need to improve in his second year and should with improved coaching. Shaun Smith had two decent years under Romeo in Cleveland and will be counted to provide some depth. This line doesn’t have a premier end pass rusher yet. Jackson will be counted on to improve and give the defense a sack threat from the side opposite Tamba Hali. Tamba was a feel good success story in 2009. Converted from being an undersized defensive end, he became a linebacker and gave the team their main pass rush. His 8.5 sacks were just 4 less than the whole team in 2008. Derrick Johnson has to become the man for Crennel at linebacker in 2010. If he can play at a high level the whole season and not in just a game or two, the defense will automatically get better. Mike Vrabel becomes the player coach for Romeo, showing how his system works and is to be executed. He’ll see some playing time but it should be less than last year. The team has 12 LB’s in camp and that may show the need to find some depth and players who can improve on 2009’s poor overall showing.  The secondary will be the strength of the defense. First round pick Eric Berry will add much needed speed and size to the safety position. Dos Brandon’s (Carr and Flowers) will benefit from one more year of experience and covering the oppositions # 1 and 2 receivers. Getting Jerrad Page back into the fold would be nice but appears to be highly unlikely at this time. Javier Arenas, another high pick from BCS national champion Alabama will get a lot of PT as well because of his cover skills and speed. Overall it is one of the few areas on the team with quality depth and a lot of athletic players. If the front seven fails to pressure the QB in 2010, they’ll have to endure another year of chasing WR’s all over the field for way too long.  A pass rush will help this group increase their interception totals and help them be game changers in 2010. Overall, much improvement for the defense is expected by the fans in KC over the 2009 season. Crennel may need one more year to make it a firm reality. They will be better but by how much remains to be seen.

Special teams should once again be strength in 2010. Except for a miserable game against the Browns last year, the front office and coaches have found much better players than in previous years. There is speed there in both the return and coverage areas. Kicking is covered well too with second year PK Ryan Succop, the 2009 draft’s Mr. Irrelevant. He hit 25 of 29 FG attempts, had a couple of pressure packed game winners, and didn’t miss an extra point. Punting duties are capably handled on the good left foot of Dustin Colquitt. Special teams should remain a positive for the Chiefs this year.

So what does all this analysis actually mean? How will the Chiefs do in 2010? They should be better in spite of what many fans from other AFC West teams think. With Weis and Crennel as coordinators, improved speed and athleticism, another year for Matt Cassel to become familiar with his team, and a team a bit more hungry and wanting to build some late season victories, this team should be 8-8.  7-9 being acceptable if some injuries hit and at best 9-7 if everything went 100% their way this year. .500 should be the logical progression to getting a winning playoff team back at Arrowhead in the future.



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