Five questions: Kansas City Chiefs

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The Chiefs followed a disastrous 2-14 season with an unlikely trip to the playoffs, followed by an even less likely 38-10 lead at Indy, capped by an even less likely second-half collapse.

For Year Two of the Andy Reid/John Dorsey regime much higher than a year ago, the bar moves higher.  Possibly, too high.

Here are five questions we (or at least I) have about the 2014 edition of the Kansas City Chiefs.

1.  Did they take too many hits in free agency?

A whopping 60 percent of the team’s offensive line bolted for bigger dollars in free agency, led by left tackle Branden Albert.  The team now hopes that Eric Fisher, the first overall pick a year ago, will be able to play better on the left side of the line than the right, where he struggled as a rookie.

Also gone is Dexter McCluster, a versatile weapon who may or may not be replaced effectively by rookie De’Anthony Thomas.

On defense, lineman Tyson Jackson and safety Kendrick Lewis signed elsewhere, and cornerback Brandon Flowers was cut late in the offseason.

The departures, which weren’t offset by many free-agent arrivals, will make it harder to run the streak of playoff appearances to two.

2.  Can they put the playoff collapse behind them?

Maybe it’s good that so many of the old players are gone.  It’ll make it a little easier to get past the playoff collapse if guys who weren’t part of it aren’t still around.

But plenty are still there, and they’ll need to learn from what happened against the Colts without having a wedge arise between the offense and the defense.  Otherwise, whenever the offense builds a lead in 2014 and the defense starts to blow it, “Here we go again” will be the refrain (spoken or otherwise) up and down the Kansas City sideline.

The offense will likely follow the lead of quarterback Alex Smith on this point, especially since his stellar day (378 passing yards, 57 rushing yards, four passing touchdowns, no interceptions) was barely noticed in the aftermath of one of the most deflating losses in franchise history.  If he stays positive when the defense starts to show signs of falling apart, others will be inclined to do the same.

3.  Is Alex Smith the answer at quarterback?

There’s a chance Smith eventually won’t be the guy leading, or cutting off, resentment of defensive failures.  Andy Reid has shown over the last 15 years a knack for getting great performances out of any and every quarterback he coaches, and rookie Aaron Murray could easily become Big Red’s next star pupil.

Smith has one year left on his contract, with the two sides still far apart.  If Smith won’t do a deal on the team’s terms, the team could turn to Murray.

And if the 2014 season goes south quickly, Murray may get a chance at some point to show what he can do before the Chiefs have to essentially choose between Smith and Murray.

4.  How good will Dee Ford be right away?

Before the draft, Dee Ford declared he’s better than Jadeveon Clowney.  Chiefs owner Clark Hunt cautiously has compared Ford to the late Derrick Thomas.

If Ford lives up to either of those assessments, the Chiefs will be able to let Justin Houston walk in free agency and install Ford as the four-letter complement to Tamba Hali.

Or maybe it’s Hali who’ll become expandable after the 2014 season, with the Chiefs opting for the two youngest options at pass rusher.  If we’ve learned nothing else in the past few years, it’s that no high-priced veteran on any team is safe.

5.  Are they nearly done with Dwayne Bowe?

Speaking of high-priced veterans who may be in danger of not being with the team, receiver Dwayne Bowe could be on the outs.  With $11 million in cash due come 2015, Bowe may be on the verge of being a former Chief if he doesn’t increase the production in 2014.

His first season under a five-year, $56 million contract resulted in only 57 catches for 673 yards.  That’s 13 fewer catches and 20 yards less than running back Jamaal Charles, who also ran the ball for 1,287 yards.

Bowe knows that his time is running short if he can’t produce a better return on the investment the Chiefs made not long after Reid and Dorsey arrived.  Otherwise, that cash and cap space will go to someone else.

25 responses to “Five questions: Kansas City Chiefs

  1. We lost two starting offensive linemen: Branden Albert, who we drafted Eric Fisher to replace, and Geoff Schwartz, who got paid a hell of a lot of money in Free Agency. Asamoah wasn’t a starter.

    Not sure why it’s that hard for people to understand, but there it is.

  2. first off, they lost 2 starters on the oline… not 60%

    Asamaoh was benched a few games into the season for Swartz

    Fisher, hudson and allen are still there starting.

  3. Was the problem Dwayne Bowe or Alex Smith? I’m a Smith supporter, but he’s not exactly known for chucking the rock down field, and unless Bowe had double digit drops, he’s not exactly in control of how often the ball comes his way.

  4. Compared to last season they will underachieve, but that’s only because they overachieved to begin with last year. KC lost way too much on their roster, had a disappointing draft (on paper) but most importantly Andy Reid has proven his track record (yet again) of questionable schemes, predictable playcalling, underwhelming clock mgmt., etc.

    Dude may very well be a GREAT guy and he obviously knows how to achieve during the regular season. But at best all you’re left to say at the end of the day is he hasn’t reached his potential.

    Best of luck to you, KC.

  5. How the Chiefs lost that game against Indy, I’ll never know. I was rooting for them for sure.

    Everybody in KC should run out and buy an Alex Smith jersey. He embodies everything you want in a QB, a football player and a leader. And yes he is the answer at QB, don’t even question it. And, don’t give Andy Reid that much credit either.

  6. Dee Ford fits in right away, what with his “Walk loudly and carry a little stick.” mantra.

    KC should be able to eke out 4th in the AFC West. They would do worse than that, only if they could.

  7. Well, they lost bc sutton let off the gas. they lost bc they couldn’t play a single high safety correctly. they lost bc charles and davis got hurt. they lost bc bowe couldn’t tap his toes in bounds. they lost bc they couldn’t recover the fumble on the goal line. oh geez, this is just too hard on me. have to move fwd.

  8. A) Flowers was terrible last year in our system and graded out near the bottom of the ProFootballFocus rankings for CB’s.

    B) ANYONE is better then Kendrick Lewis. Tyson Jackson is just.. meh..

    C) Alex Smith got better as the year went on and got more comfortable with the system.. May not be a superbowl QB but the way he finished the year was promising..

    D) If we let Houston walk and keep Hali.. I don’t even want to think of that happening..

    E) Schwartz is a replacable lineman who got overpaid in free agency.. Albert is a loss but Fisher can now move to his natural position.. which is why we drafted him.

    F) I’m not expecting the Chiefs to repeat what we did last year, but I’m not ruling out another shot at playoffs.. Once your at the dance, who knows what can happen..

  9. Love the Chiefs, but it’s hard to see them getting back into the playoffs this year. The free agent losses were pretty brutal and they play the NFC West, which doesn’t have a bad team (on paper) in that division.

  10. Does anyone know less about the Chiefs than PFT?

    You’re off on virtually ALL of your observations.

    And finally, the ONLY player any Chiefs fan had a problem with losing was Albert, and no sane person was in favor of giving him anything close to that money.

  11. 1. Did they take too many hits in free agency? No. They didn’t lose anybody worth overpaying to keep (i.e. what they did yesterday with JC)
    2. Can they put the playoff collapse behind them? Exactly how do you quantify this?
    3. Is Alex Smith the answer at quarterback? Alex is good, but don’t no one expects him to be Peyton Manning. With a good enough defense, Smith can get a ring. But that could be said for any of the top 15 QBs in the league.
    4. How good will Dee Ford be right away? Only game time can answer that.
    5. Are they nearly done with Dwayne Bowe? I would hope so. He had one good year when Matt Cassel locked onto him every play and hasn’t done much since.

  12. First off, I’m a Denver fan. I’m saying that so I can emphasize the second part: Glad to have KC back to being a relevant team. It’s always fun to have your archrivals playing at the same standard as your guys are, and at this point I’d have trouble saying Denver would get better than a split with KC this season between their two games. Great to have them back.

    That said… that’s a lot of changes for a team to go through. I’ll be interested to see how the first couple of weeks of the regular season go to see if they adjust to the new look and changed team chemistry quickly or not- if they come out of the gate swinging, they’re just as capable of winning the division as the Broncos- remember, more than halfway through the season last year they were in the lead for the division despite Denver’s gaudy numbers!

    There’s two teams every Broncos fan hates down in his gut- Oakland and KC. It’s still hard to look at the Raiders with anything but pity, but MAN is it nice to be able to feel hatred for the Chiefs again. Looking forward to another fun season against you guys!

  13. I think the Chiefs might find their treatment of Charles has some nice rewards for them in the future for potential free agent signings. What they did by voluntarily and properly rewarding an important player for them is the kind of thing that doesn’t go unnoticed by the players. It showed integrity. It showed that if you play for the Chiefs, they take care of you when you deserve it.

  14. higheriqthanyou..just saying? Umm..just saying what..that Smith is better than Kap? I think its too soon to really tell. Smith has several years under his belt; Kap really only has a couple at best.

  15. touchdownroddywhite says: Jul 24, 2014 1:27 PM

    Was the problem Dwayne Bowe or Alex Smith? I’m a Smith supporter, but he’s not exactly known for chucking the rock down field, and unless Bowe had double digit drops, he’s not exactly in control of how often the ball comes his way.
    Bowe was thrown at 101 times in the regular season.

  16. Everybody is conveniently forgetting about the Alex Smith fumble in the midst of that collapse.

  17. Wow, lots of homers today on this post. I have been a huge fan of the Chiefs ever since Super Bowl #1. But I live in the “real world” not the “homer world”. I would say they will be real fortunate to go 7-9 this season at best.

  18. Heres’ why the KC defense will be much improved:
    1. Hali, Houston, and Ford will terrorize.
    2. Sanders Commings will ball. Kendrick Lewis was awful: the man cannot tackle.
    3. Allen Bailey’s prime will be better than good.
    4. Eric Berry is the man.
    5. Derrick Johnson is still on his game.
    6. CB play will be good enough to hang.
    7. Dontari Poe figures to be 16 strong this year.

    If A.J. Jenkins steps up and Knile Davis stays on track, keeps improving then the offense will be better than good, most of the time.

    Chiefs could go 10-6 against a tough schedule. Hey, that Broncos fan is a good writer.

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