PFT preseason power rankings No. 8: Kansas City Chiefs

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While the Chiefs may not be knocking on the door of the Super Bowl, they’ve been loitering on the porch. For 2017, the question is whether they’re deliberately taking a few steps down toward the sidewalk in order to getting a running start that will knock it down.

In three of coach Andy Reid’s four seasons with the team, the Chiefs have made it to the postseason. But a bye in 2016, their first first-round bye since 2003, led to the same outcome as each of the other three times they skipped wild card weekend and hosted a game in the round of eight: The Chiefs lost.

They last made it to the AFC title game in 1993, and most perceive a gap between Kansas City and Oakland even though Kansas City, not Oakland, most recently won the AFC West. Contributing to the confusion regarding the Chiefs was the curious decision to invest two first-round pick in a work-in-progress quarterback when Alex Smith still has gas in the tank. The move became an obvious admission that they believe Alex Smith is a guy who can keep them on the porch, but not much more than that.

Biggest positive change: In an offseason that didn’t feature much in the way of veteran player acquisition or departure, the effort by the franchise to get a franchise quarterback stands out — if they’re right about Patrick Mahomes. For now, it’s a coin-flip proposition at best, especially with Mahomes making the difficult transition from the college spread to Reid’s version of the West Coast offense. Given that the league has three types of teams — teams with franchise quarterbacks, teams trying to find franchise quarterbacks, and teams who aren’t quite sure whether their quarterback is a franchise quarterback — the Chiefs have decided after four years with Alex Smith that he isn’t. While the move may not bear much fruit in 2016, it sets the stage for filling the void that will emerge in the conference if Tom Brady is in the final year or two of his career.

Biggest negative change: The sudden, abrupt decision to dump receiver Jeremy Maclin surprised many and reinforced the idea that the Chiefs are focused more on developing for the future than pushing their chips to the middle of the table right now. And while Reid knows Maclin well enough to know when to get out from under an eight-figure salary, the fact that the Chiefs didn’t try to get him to take less and stick around means that they simply wanted to clear him off the roster so that younger guys can get the reps. If the younger guys can’t get it done, however, that won’t help the Chiefs get to the divisional round again, and it definitely won’t help them get past it.

Coaching thermometer: By getting an extension on the same day G.M. John Dorsey got a pink slip, Reid has as much security as any coach in football. And with Brett Veach replacing Dorsey, many believe Reid will now have even more influence over the roster. So if the Chiefs are indeed taking a step or two back in an effort to eventually take a step up, chances are that Reid will be there every step of the way.

We’d like to crack a beer with . . . Eric Berry. He overcame cancer and has returned as good as ever, becoming the heart and soul of the team and finally getting a contract that reflects it. What does he really think about undermining Smith and eventually replacing him with Mahomes? What does the think about the way Maclin’s exit was handled? Does he truly believe that the team is moving in the right direction, and that the team can put together a championship-caliber offense before the window closes on a quality defense?

How they can prove us wrong: If they decide to throw Mahomes into the fray as a rookie in the hopes of having the game slow down for him sooner than later, the Chiefs could quickly become not a top-10 team. Likewise, the apparent plan to thrust 2016 rookie phenom Tyreek Hill (who averaged only 5.3 touches from scrimmage per game last year) into a bigger role will mean more opportunities to take more of the hits that are more likely to lead to an injury.

31 responses to “PFT preseason power rankings No. 8: Kansas City Chiefs

  1. Alex smith is in the top half of QBs in this league which does make him good enough to win a super bowl.

    The problem has been their complete and total lack of pass protection combined with the highest amount of dropped balls in the league since Smith arrived. Fix that and they could be in the super bowl convo.

    Ps. Teaching Andy Reid clock management wouldn’t hurt either.

  2. I have to wonder why the owner didn’t sack Andy after the team lost to the Patriots in that excruciatingly botched ending to the playoff game in 2015.

    Andy did a great job of returning the team to perennial contention, and has continued to show that he can’t win the big one. Why not take that team and give it to someone else to fine tune?

    Now they’re going backwards. The window has closed.

  3. The window is closed?  They just went 12-4 and 6-0 in arguably the best division in football.  I know they have issues in the playoffs but to think they will not win a minimum of 10 games the next 2 years and at least make the playoffs is funny to me.  The O-line is finally come together, they have one of the best young cornerbacks in the league. Justin Houston is healthy again, they may not win the super bowl anytime soon but they are a good regular season team that I don’t wanna play. 

  4. Alex Smith is a dam good quarterback. He runs the offense he’s asked to run, to perfection. As a chiefs fan, he was a key part in turning the franchise around. I believe we will see him play lights out this year and take the chiefs to the Super Bowl!

  5. The Chiefs did what most organizations in the NFL wouldn’t have the guts to do and basically admitted to their entire roster and fan base that they know their middle of the pack starting QB isn’t going to get them where they need to be. No more sugar coating it and trying to sell him for what he’s not. They could have continued to build up the roster and acted like they had a franchise QB, but they did what needed to be done.

    They took a shot on a top flight young talent that the whole organization was sold on as their future QB, and what they traded wasn’t really that much compared to what some teams have dealt in the past to move up as far as they did.

    The Steeler playoff game was the nail in the coffin for Alex Smith. He was at home against a dreadful secondary and was seeing ghosts all over the field and couldn’t even eek out 20 points against a pretty bad defense that was torn to shreds the following week. He will never win a Super Bowl, and Andy Reid was finally convinced of that after last year. Only took him 4 years longer to realize it than everyone else.

    Mahomes might never win a Super Bowl either, but at least there’s potential. You’ve already seen the best Alex Smith has to offer, and it’s simply not good enough.

  6. Alex Smith’s noodle arm is what’s holding the team back. Remember he had a better team in San Fransisco and couldn’t get it done. He lost his job to a QB that’s no longer in the league.

  7. This team has hit its ceiling and is heading down hill this year. They could be sneaky bad with as difficult as their schedule is

  8. Tyrek Hil is a devin Hester clone- he’s a gimmick return guy at best- Expect him to put up the same avg numbers Hester did as a WR.. 400-500 yards… Tamba Hali is 33 and already complaing, Derrik Johnson will be 35 in November, Poe left for Atlanta.. Justin Houston is still hurt and is lucky to play 3 games a year… The Chiefs defense is not what it was- Expect them to finish in the 7-9 slash 8-8 area-

  9. It is a little strange that in your Coaching Thermometer you didn’t mention there is now a GM who didn’t hire the current coach, which you typically site as a source of friction and heat.

  10. “Long-time front-0ffice exec abruptly fired; Reid wins power struggle”

    Ask any Eagles fan how well that worked out before.

  11. I’m 37 years old and I would like to see the Chiefs in the super bowl just once, before I die. Not easy being a chiefs fan. 😕

  12. Patrick Mahomes should be the starting QB day one. He gives them the best chance to win right now. Andy Reid is probably the best game day coach in the NFL since Joe Gibbs. He has a QB with limitations, so he has to outcoach the opposing defense every play. People who don’t understand football regurgitate that crap about clock management, but that only shows their low football IQ. Andy hears Father Time’s footsteps, so he went out and got himself a legit QB. Mahomes should have been the overall number one pick. When was the last time a rookie QB was in the super bowl?

  13. My Raiders should not be ahead of the Chiefs, not until that horrid defense gets fixed

  14. The chiefs still own the afc west there record in the last 3 season speaks for its self. Don’t see that changing this year. Maclin did play much last year the offense still hummed on. They simply have the best coach/qb combo in the afc west. The move to get a young development qb is great idea. Let’s be honest the chiefs were not trading up for anything but the qb they drafted and if they stayed in the 20’s and drafted any best available position that player wouldn’t be as likely to make impact on this roster this yr or the next few years.

  15. nhpats says:
    Jul 22, 2017 5:13 PM
    Best team in the AFC West

    Likes 9 Dislikes 21

    —————————-

    Not sure why this post is getting so many dislikes when the Chiefs are 11-0 the past 11 games against the division, including absolutely owning the Raiders 4 straight times and making their $125 million dollar QB look as below average as can be.

    Andy Reid and Alex Smith may never be good enough to do much in the playoffs, but right now they flat out own this division until proven otherwise. Reid makes Del Rio look flat out foolish every single time they meet.

  16. The Chiefs window is definitely closing, and for a few reasons. No 1, the Chiefs primary issue is age to key players: Tampa Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Alex Smith, etc are all past 30 years of age, No 2 they have had great opportunities over the last two seasons, winning 10 straight in ’15 and going 12-4 last season, but have been unable to get it done. So the question is, how are they better this season? The lose Dontari Poe, they lose Jeremy Maclin. What have they added? No 3, after the a Patriots absolutely destroy the Chiefs on opening night, can they recover? No 4, Alex Smith is officially a lame duck QB. How long can he struggle before Chiefs fans start demanding Patrick Mahomes? Oh, and BTW, Mahomes is a major reach. The offense he is coming out of leaves him ill prepared for the NFL. If he ever becomes legit, it will take a while. He’s no quick fix, that much I know.

  17. The Chiefs are a solid overall team. A bit lacking on offense and their D pretty good but not close to being a 2000 Ravens type D, which is close to what they would need to carry their O thru the playoffs.

    They have kind of took the Bengals spot as that AFC team that will likely make the playoffs but cant advance.

    Trading up for Mahomes shows they know this too.

  18. “charliecharger says:
    Jul 22, 2017 7:43 PM
    Patrick Mahomes should be the starting QB day one. He gives them the best chance to win right now”

    HE’S A ROOKIE! Stop that right now.

  19. I like old Andy. Everybody likes Andy. But that in game coaching has been a killer. Interesting to see what he has cooked up for our Pats opening day.

  20. All the “noodle arm comments” to say any NFL QB. has a weak arm.. is ubsurd! If any of you clowns ever played football at a high level you wouldn know that if you make to the NFL, as a QB. you can throw the ball so well, someone will pay you millions! So please stop the weak arm comments

  21. Power rankings are not about the past, they are an evaluation of the coming season and where the team is now.

    The Chiefs have peaked and will take a drop of 3 or 4 wins this year, IMO.

  22. Chiefs haters need to get a life. The team lost virtually nothing. Maclin’s 500-ish yards weren’t enough to justify retaining him, even at a discount. Everyone will miss Charles, but he has not contributed much in the past two seasons due to injury. KC has young receivers that need reps, and a promising young RB was drafted (Kareem Hunt). Don’t forget that several important players are returning healthy from injury (Houston, DJ and Phillip Gaines).

    Making a move to draft and develop a franchise QB was absolutely needed. I watch all of the Texas Tech games, and I believe Mahomes is the real deal. The Texas Tech offense is not the completely brainless spread that some would ask you to believe. Alex Smith is a reliable, but deeply flawed player. He didn’t earn the nickname “Captain Checkdown” for nothing. He consistently fails to throw to open receivers down the field. If Smith would have thrown to open receivers, the Chiefs would have won the Steelers playoff game by 10-14 points, despite the absolutely horrific officiating.

    My take:

    2017 AFC West Final Standings:

    1. Chiefs
    2. Raydurz
    3. Bolts
    4. Donks

  23. black59razorblog says:
    Jul 24, 2017 12:54 AM
    Week One:

    Patriots 38 Chiefs 13
    Titans 23 Raiders 19
    Broncos 27 Chargers 10

    Broncos win the AFC West and go wire to wire in doing it
    —————————————————————
    I know the hippy lettuce is legal in in Denver but damn dude, you shouldn’t post while stoned.

    The Broncos won’t beat the Chargers and won’t win the AFC West with no QB.

  24. “huevos123 says:
    Jul 22, 2017 5:55 PM
    Tyrek Hil is a devin Hester clone- he’s a gimmick return guy at best- Expect him to put up the same avg numbers Hester did as a WR.. 400-500 yards…”

    Did you not watch a single snap Tyreke Hill played last year? He’s already proven he has very good WR skills.
    And by the way – he already exceeded your “400-500 yards” AS A ROOKIE.

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