2013 was a bittersweet season with up’s and down’s for the Kansas City Chiefs, ending very bitterly. It started out sweet, starting 9-0 and being the last remaining undefeated team. Even though many of those nine games were against backup or first-year quarterbacks , the Chiefs were doing what they were supposed to be doing, winning.
With a defense led by OLBs, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, the Chiefs were on a record-breaking pace. The bitter part of those first nine was the Chiefs inability to score, and at times, to even move the ball.
The injury bug was bittersweet as well. Early in the season we remained healthy, but Houston and Hali both missed time in the second half of the season due to injuries.
The Kansas City Chiefs limped their way into the playoffs with a 11-5 record and a date with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. The Chiefs season would end bitterly as they jumped out to a 38-10 lead only to see five players get hurt and the Colts walk away with a 45-44 win.
Coming off of a 2-14, 2012 campaign, who would’ve thought that going 11-5 and making the playoffs would bring such angst? It wasn’t the final destination, it was the journey, that brought on the pain of losing to the Colts in the playoffs, once again.
With 2013 behind us and 2014 staring us in the face, it was apparent from last season, that the Chiefs desperately needed some help.
Through free agency and the draft, the Chiefs believe they have gotten better on the defensive side of the ball. The Chiefs did not make any big moves in free agency, much to the disappointment of the fans.
They lost Tyson Jackson and Quentin Demps but signed ILB Joe Mays and DT Vance Walker along with re-signing SS Husain Abdullah and OLB Frank Zumbo and CB Chris Owens.
The improvements on the defensive side of the ball were needed, you cant score 44 points in a playoff game and still lose the game.
On the offensive side of the ball, they let three OL and a Pro-Bowl WR/KR walk and only signed OL Jeff Linkenbach.
There is still a glaring need at WR and nothing was done to bolster it during FA, overall a very disappointing free agency period for the fans.
The 2014 NFL Draft would bring up many questions as well. With the 23rd pick, most fans and experts had the Chiefs selecting a WR, which seemed to be their most glaring need. To most everyone’s surprise, the Chiefs selected DE Dee Ford, from Auburn.
Don’t get me wrong, a very talented pass rusher that will probably be a star in this league but with Hali and Houston in town, it seemed like a wasted pick. With the acquisition of Alex Smith last year, the Chiefs didn’t have a 2nd round pick, so with their 3rd round pick, they selected, Philip Gaines, a CB from Rice. Again, not a pick most fans thought they needed. Up to this point, through free agency and the draft, the only WR the Chiefs had acquired was, CFL star, Wesston Dressler, far from an impact signing. The Chiefs 4th rd pick was a RB, a spot where Chiefs fans felt was one of the teams strongest positions with Jamaal Charles, and last years rookie Knile Davis, both still there. With questions surrounding Alex Smiths future in KC after the 2014 season, QB Aaron Murray from Georgia, was KCs 5th rd and best pick made by the organization in many people’s eyes. The Chiefs rounded out their draft by drafting an OG and OT in the 6th and 7th rounds.
The Chiefs organization has done exactly what they set out to do and that was create talented depth on the defensive side of the ball. They upgraded the KR position through the draft by drafting RB De’Anthony Thomas out of Oregon. With the future of CB Brandon Flowers, OLB Tamba Hali and QB Alex Smith past 2014 being uncertain, they’ve allowed themselves to let all that cap money walk without losing any production from those positions and still be able to sign talent around a young QB. At first, I wasn’t a fan of the Chiefs FA or Draft but after sitting back and looking at the big picture, it was the perfect off-season for GM John Dorsey & HC Andy Reid.
With an offense that averaged 26.9 pts/game in its first year together, the team is hoping it will take another step in the right direction. Going from one of the easiest schedules to one of the hardest, they’re going to need to take a couple of steps in the right direction. Many people see a six to eight win season for KC, I see another 11 win season with losses coming @ Denver, @ San Francisco, @ San Diego, Seattle @ home and Denver @ home. Of course, we could lose @ Pittsburgh and steal one of those home games against Seattle or Denver but I’m not counting on it. The acquisition of DT Vance Walker upgrades our DL, the drafting of Dee Ford & Philip Gaines, another year of experience for CB Marcus Cooper and CB Sander Commings, the defense as a whole should be better too and that should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL.
Matthew Wolf is an NFL writer for TPF and can be contacted at MWolf@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com