The Chiefs developed faster under Todd Haley than anyone expected. Now comes the hard part.
With a much tougher out of division schedule this year — they face the Colts, Steelers, the NFC South, and the AFC East — the Chiefs will have a lot of work to do if they want to repeat their 2010 record. They are up next in our team checklist series.
1. Find an offensive tackle
Take a quarterback with shaky pocket presence, put Barry Richardson at right tackle, and hope. That doesn’t sound like much of a plan.
The Chiefs surprisingly passed on tackle in the draft. They have no depth behind Richardson and left tackle Branden Albert. Perhaps Matt Light of the Patriots could be an option.
2. Fortify defensive line.
Scott Pioli has work left to do here. Shaun Smith and Ron Edwards are free agents. Rookie sixth-round pick Jerrell Powe is probably the best nose tackle on the roster. They can get by with their defensive ends and Glenn Dorsey can move inside sometimes, but they need another veteran in the middle. Re-signing Edwards makes sense.
3. Make a quick decision on Brian Waters.
The Chiefs drafted Rodney Hudson and reportedly want to promote guard Jon Asamoah. That has led to speculation the team could cut five-time Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters. If they are going to do it, they should do it quickly. Waters has been one of the classiest guys in the league for a long time.
4. Add a wide receiver to play a big role.
Drafting first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin was a start. But who is this team’s third receiver? (Or No. 2 if Baldwin takes time to develop.)
The best current options include Jerheme Urban and Verran Tucker. Chris Chambers should be cut. Don’t forget Dwayne Bowe is on the last year of his contract. Signing a solid second-tier free agent wideout like Steve Breaston who worked under Todd Haley in Arizona makes a lot of sense.
5. Find quarterback insurance.
With Brodie Croyle expected to leave, rookie fifth-round pick Ricky Stanzi is the presumptive backup. Expect him to get veteran competition.
6. Get the ball to Jamaal Charles more.
Few players were more effective on a per-play basis last year. So give Charles more plays!
7. Find an appropriate uniform for Kermit.