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NFL PREVIEW: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

July 18, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



NFL PREVIEW: Kansas City Chiefs

BY Kelci Baker, EIHSS SPORTS

 

Last year: 7-9, 4th in AFC West, missed playoffs

Ever since the overhaul of the organization in 2009, stability has been lacking for the Chiefs with the hiring of general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley. In 2010 they welcomed a new defensive coordinator and in both 2010 and 2011, they received new offensive coordinators. Promoted from defensive coordinator is their new head coach Romeo Crennel and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Although Crennel will continue to work the defense, the Chiefs are hoping they don't have a repeat of last years’ failures.  In four years this team as dealt with four offenses. In nine games, quarterback Matt Cassel struggled, throwing 10 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, before breaking his right hand to end his season. Replacing him first was unproven Tyler Palko and then journeyman Kyle Orton. Three injuries took out three starters in tight end Tony Moeaki, running back Jamaal Charlies and strong safety Eric Berry. Due to the defense’s strong second half performance, they managed to produce the teams only Pro Bowl participants in inside linebacker Derrick Johnson with 131 tackles and outside linebacker Tamba Hali with 12 sacks. On the flip side, the defense and special teams added nothing to the team with no game-changing plays.

Offensive coordinator Daboll has gone with the run-oriented and two tight ends style. Cassel has valuable weapons with Charles, Moeaki and wide reciever Dwayne Bowe on the field. Better depth was lacking last season. Added to the team via free agency are power running back Peyton Hills and tight end Kevin Boss. Rookie wide out Devon Wiley should also contribute. What's unclear is how the offense will attack with Daboll calling the plays. The Chiefs will probably go at it game by game, creating a new attack each week based on the opposing defense. What they're looking for is an offense that can run the ball effectively to set up the play-action pass. They'll need Cassel, Charles and Moeaki to return to pull this off. 

The return of Berry will stabilize the defensive unit under coordinator Crennel who runs a two-gap 3-4. The teams’ strongest position is at linebacker where Hali and Johnson went to the Pro Bowl as well as outside linebacker Justin Houston, was the team's top rookie. Now that four-year starting cornerback Brandon Carr left for the Dallas Cowboys, ex-Oakland Raiders starter Stanford Routt will be replacing him. What Kansas has to do is to be better at stopping the run. Last year, they averaged giving up 132 yards a game. Hoping to fix it will be nose tackle Dontari Poe, the teams’ first-round draft choice who will work alongside ends Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson. They have to find more ways to put pressure on the passer. Hali and Houston had 17.5 sacks, while the rest of the team combined for 11.5 

Tom McMahon is the coordinator of special teams. He will replace Steve Hoffman as the kicking game coordinator is McMahon who is coming from the St. Louis Rams. There are several key spots on the team where the kicking game is solid which include kicker Ryan Succop, punter Dustin Colquitt, and snapper Thomas Gafford. Also firmly in place are three of the top four tacklers. Where they lack is in a reliable returner. Dexter McCluster, Charles, and other running backs have handled the returns in previous seasons but have failed to score a TD. Replacing Steve Hoffman as the kicking game coordinator is McMahon who is coming from the St. Louis Rams. 

After closing out the 2011 season with a 2-1 record, Crennel keeps the top job but will get help from linebackers coach Gary Gibbs developing a new defensive plan each week. Some veterans are gone such as offensive line coach Bill Muir who is being replaced by Jack Bicknell Jr. from the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

2012 draft recap 

After eight picks, the Kansas City Chief's best pick was T Jeff Allen from Illinois. He started for four years at left and right tackle. He will compete with veteran Ryan Lilka for the starting left guard job.

 

NT Dontari Poe. Memphis

First round. 11th pick overall.

He has the things that head coach Crennel seeks for a nose tackle but lacks experience

 

T Jeff Allen. Illinois

Second round. 44th pick overall.

 

T Donald Stephenson. Oklahoma

Third round. 74th pick overall.

A native of Kansas City he's a development project

 

WR Devon Wylie. Fresno State

Fourth round. 107th pick overall.

He could become the Wes Welker of the Chiefs' offense

 

CB DeQuan Menzie. Alabama

Fifth round. 146th pick overall.

He played opposite of Dre Kirkpatrick at cornerback. He has the type of skills where he could play either safety or be a slot receiver

 

RB Cyrus Gray. Texas A&M

Sixth round. 182nd pick overall.

He can run, catch, block, return, and cover the kicking game which will increase his chances of becoming a starter

 

DT Jerome Long. San Diego State

Seventh round. 218th pick overall.

He had 69 tackles and five sacks last season

 

WR Junior Hemingway. Michigan

Seventh round. 238th pick overall.

Caught two TD passes

 

2012 CHIEFS SCHEDULE

For all that went wrong last year, Kansas City Chiefs fans should still have plenty of optimism to believe they can reach the playoffs in 2012. Maybe Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry will have their struggles in returning to the field after both suffered ACL tears in September, but even at less than 100 percent, they are much better than their replacements from a year ago.

While Charles will still be a game-breaker, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll had great success back in Cleveland with Peyton Hillis, and should continue to do so in Kansas City. On paper, the Chiefs also have the easiest schedule to run against this year, and that is the same situation they were walking into back in 2009, when they won the AFC West.

Quarterback Matt Cassel tends to play at his best when the running game is effective. And that means good things for Dwayne Bowe, as defenses are forced to bring eight in the box, giving Bowe free releases off the line of scrimmage.

 

Defensive State Of Mind

The loss of Brandon Carr will hurt in the secondary, but as mentioned above, they will be getting Berry back, and Brandon Flowers is still a solid press-man corner. Adding depth up front is a must in the draft, but at least they have a good core of linebackers that can make plays at the second level.

Like all defenses, they need the offense to sustain drives, even if they're not necessarily scoring many points. And for that to happen in Kansas City, they need a strong running game. With that likely to happen, this defense should have no problems staying fresh over the course of the season. That is going to be a problem for opposing offenses coming to the always hostile and loud Arrowhead Stadium.

 

Week 1

9/9:

Atlanta Falcons

vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1:00 PM ET

 

FOX

Week 2  9/16: Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills, 1 PM ET, CBS

Week 3  9/23: Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints, 1 PM ET CBS

Week 4  9/30: San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 PM ET CBS

Week 5 10/7: Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 PM ET CBS

Week 6 10/14: Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 PM ET FOX

Week 7 10/21: BYE

Week 8 10/28: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:05 PM ET, CBS

Week 9 11/1: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers, 8:20 PM ET NFL Network

Week 10 11/12: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 PM ET ESPN

Week 11 11/18: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 PM ET CBS

Week 12 11/25: Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 PM ET CBS

Week 13 12/2: Carolina Panthers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 PM ET FOX

Week 14 12/9: Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns, 1 PM ET, CBS

Week 15 12/16: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders, 4:15 PM ET, CBS

Week 16 12/23: Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 PM ET CBS

Week 17 12/30: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, 4:15 PM ET CBS 

 

KANSAS CITY ROSTER

#

Name

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Age

Exp.

College

76

Albert, Branden

T

6-5

316

27

5

Virginia

71

Allen, Jeff

OL

6-5

315

22

R

Illinois

21

Arenas, Javier

DB

5-9

197

24

3

Alabama

73

Asamoah, Jon

OL

6-4

305

23

3

Illinois

97

Bailey, Allen

DE

6-3

285

23

2

Miami (Fla.)

90

Bair, Brandon

DL

6-7

272

27

 

Oregon

39

Baker, Mikail

DB

6-0

200

25

1

Baylor

89

Baldwin, Jonathan

WR

6-4

230

22

2

Pittsburgh

38O

Bannon, Shane

FB

6-3

245

23

1

Yale

59

Belcher, Jovan

LB

6-2

228

24

4

Maine

8

Bellamy, Josh

WR

6-0

206

23

R

Louisville

29

Berry, Eric

DB

6-0

211

23

3

Tennessee

48O

Biere, Tim

TE

6-4

260

22

R

Kansas

80

Boss, Kevin

TE

6-6

255

28

6

Western Oregon

82

Bowe, Dwayne

WR

6-2

221

27

6

LSU

15

Breaston, Steve

WR

6-0

189

28

6

Michigan

30

Brown, Jalil

DB

6-1

205

24

2

Colorado

60O

Bruggeman, Rob

C

6-4

293

26

1

Iowa

57

Campbell, Caleb

LB

6-2

237

26

1

Army

7

Cassel, Matt

QB

6-4

230

30

8

USC

25

Charles, Jamaal

RB

5-11

199

25

5

Texas

75

Cheadle, Justin

OL

6-2

290

23

R

California

2

Colquitt, Dustin

P

6-3

210

30

8

Tennessee

10

Copper, Terrance

WR

6-0

207

30

9

East Carolina

34

Daniels, Travis

CB

6-1

195

29

6

LSU

72

Dorsey, Glenn

DE

6-1

297

26

5

LSU

32

Draughn, Shaun

RB

6-0

205

24

R

North Carolina

45O

Eachus, Nate

RB

5-10

212

22

R

Colgate

32D

Elam, Abram

DB

6-0

212

30

6

Kent State

45D

Ellis, Dominique

DB

5-11

195

22

R

South Carolina State

42D

Fanor, Jean

DB

6-1

200

23

R

Bethune-Cookman

48D

Fenner, Chandler

DB

6-1

189

22

R

Holy Cross

24

Flowers, Brandon

CB

5-9

187

26

5

Virginia Tech

43

Gafford, Thomas

LS

6-2

250

29

5

Houston

49O

Gentry, Taylor

FB

6-2

250

22

R

North Carolina State

99

Gordon, Amon

DE

6-2

305

30

6

Stanford

42O

Gray, Cyrus

RB

5-10

198

22

R

Texas A&M

93

Greenwood, Cory

LB

6-2

235

27

3

Concordia University

91

Hali, Tamba

LB

6-3

275

28

7

Penn State

66

Harris, Darryl

G

6-4

300

27

1

Mississippi

46

Hartman, Tysyn

DB

6-3

206

22

R

Kansas State

88

Hemingway, Junior

WR

6-1

225

23

R

Michigan

53

Heyman, Dexter

LB

6-3

238

22

R

Louisville

40

Hillis, Peyton

RB

6-2

250

26

5

Arkansas

68

Holland, Cam

C

6-2

320

23

R

North Carolina

11

Horne, Jeremy

WR

6-2

193

25

2

Massachusetts

50

Houston, Justin

LB

6-3

258

23

2

Georgia

61

Hudson, Rodney

C

6-2

299

23

2

Florida State

94

Jackson, Tyson

DE

6-4

296

26

4

LSU

56

Johnson, Derrick

LB

6-3

242

29

8

Texas

70D

Johnson, Ethan

DL

6-4

300

22

R

Notre Dame

17

Kinnie, Brandon

WR

6-3

220

23

R

Nebraska

23

Lewis, Kendrick

DB

6-0

198

24

3

Mississippi

65

Lilja, Ryan

G

6-2

290

30

9

Kansas State

60D

Long, Jerome

DL

6-5

285

22

R

San Diego State

87

Maneri, Steve

TE

6-6

280

24

2

Temple

5

Markshausen, Zeke

WR

5-11

185

25

1

Northwestern

41

McCarthy, Kyle

DB

6-1

205

25

3

Notre Dame

22

McCluster, Dexter

RB

5-8

170

23

3

Mississippi

49D

Menzie, DeQuan

CB

6-0

198

22

R

Alabama

51

Miller, Gabe

LB

6-3

257

24

2

Oregon State

70

Mims, David

OL

6-8

335

24

1

Virginia Union

81

Moeaki, Tony

TE

6-3

252

25

3

Iowa

84

Newsome, Jamar

WR

6-1

201

24

1

Central Florida

85

O'Connell, Jake

TE

6-3

250

26

4

Miami (Ohio)

31

Parks, Terrance

DB

6-2

218

22

R

Florida State

77

Patterson, Luke

DL

6-4

295

24

1

Texas A&M

77D

Pitoitua, Ropati

DE

6-8

315

27

3

Washington State

92

Poe, Dontari

NT

6-5

350

21

R

Memphis

95

Powe, Jerrell

NT

6-2

335

25

2

Mississippi

9

Quinn, Brady

QB

6-3

235

27

6

Notre Dame

67

Ranglin, Rich

OL

6-2

315

27

1

Central Connecticut State

35

Reeves, Jacques

CB

5-11

188

29

7

Purdue

26

Routt, Stanford

CB

6-1

195

28

8

Houston

55

Sheffield, Cameron

LB

6-2

257

24

3

Troy

52

Siler, Brandon

LB

6-2

239

26

6

Florida

12

Stanzi, Ricky

QB

6-4

228

24

2

Iowa

79

Stephenson, Donald

OL

6-6

312

23

R

Oklahoma

96

Studebaker, Andy

LB

6-3

248

26

5

Wheaton

6

Succop, Ryan

K

6-2

218

25

4

South Carolina

14

Szymanski, Matt

K

6-1

196

23

R

SMU

4

Tanney, Alex

QB

6-4

220

24

R

Monmouth College

38D

Thorpe, Neiko

DB

6-2

185

22

R

Auburn

98

Toribio, Anthony

DT

6-1

315

27

2

Carson-Newman

27

Washington, Donald

CB/S

6-1

197

25

4

Ohio State

13

Weaver, Aaron

WR

6-2

220

24

R

Syracuse

66D

Williams, Leon

LB

6-3

248

28

5

Miami (Fla.)

74

Winston, Eric

T

6-7

302

28

7

Miami (Fla.)

19

Wylie, Devon

WR

5-9

187

23

R

Fresno State

 


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