Kansas City Chiefs 2009 NFL Projection:
We must apologize to Kansas City fans. Last season we projected the Chiefs to finish (2-14),
and that’s exactly where they ended up.
Certainly the Chiefs could have won more games,
but their defense
couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain, no thanks in part to the trading away
of Jared Allen.
Fast forward to this season; GM Scott Pioli, QB Matt Cassel, and LB Mike Vrabel of
the Patriots are in. Todd Haley, former offensive coordinator of the Cardinals is the new head coach.
Before we discuss Matt Cassel, let’s agree that Tyler Thigpen kind of got the short end of the stick.
He played very well in the spread offense. Just ask Tony Gonzalez.
On second thought,
Tony Gonzalez was traded to Atlanta. That trade at least made more sense
from a rebuilding perspective compared to the trading of Jared Allen last season– given the age difference of the players.
Although it can be argued that Gonzalez seems ageless.
Let’s move on to Matt Cassel. He was drafted by the Patriots in the image of Tom Brady;
height, weight, and intelligence.
What I saw from Cassel last season was a quarterback growing with every start.
Of course he was surrounded by an amazing offensive line in New England, and
grade A receivers. But he also made a lot of plays on his own.
What I liked most was Matt Cassel’s after-the-scramble throwing ability.
Cassel can sprint towards the line of scrimmage and just at the moment defenders
are convinced he is running, he can pull up and complete a quick throw to the recently abandoned, now open receiver…
Or if he decides to tuck and run, he can gain 10 yards in a flash.
On the downside, Cassel could have been even better. There were several occasions when he missed Randy Moss
wide-open deep, for what could have been at least 4 or 5 easy touchdowns.
To be fair, Tom Brady had issues with his deep ball in his rookie campaign and early going– so Chief fans
want to keep an eye on this aspect of Cassel’s game.
However, one of the many weak points of the 2009 Kansas
City Chiefs is their inexperience and effectiveness at offensive line. They may not be capable of providing adequate protection
for receivers to get deep often. And if/when receivers do get deep, there’s always the chance that it’s Dwayne Bowe who might
have trouble hanging onto the ball, assuming Cassel can deliver the ball on target.
Furthermore, poor blocking won’t make life on the field easy for running back Larry Johnson.
On the other side of the ball, the only team that finished with a worse defense than the Chief’s last season were the
infamous Lions (0-16).
Linebackers Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas will bring experience and credibility to the middle of the defense.
To improve their defense further, the Chiefs used their first two draft selections to address their line, adding Tyson Jackson of LSU and Alex
Magee of Purdue.
The Chiefs are wanting to switch to the 3-4 and that doesn’t exactly
suit last year’s first round pick Glenn Dorsey… This is an inexperienced group
that may have trouble standing up at the point of attack.
At least Kansas City’s secondary is fairly decent led by cornerback Brandon Flowers.
In 2009 the Chiefs have the misfortune of drawing the NFC East.
What’s worse is they play all four NFC East teams in a row, followed by the Chargers
before getting their bye in week 8… Check out the brutalness of the Chiefs first half of the season;
Have mercy! At least the Chiefs’ schedule softens up after their bye.
It’s a real
Jekyll and Hyde schedule…
In other words, if you play fantasy football, you might want to trade for some Chiefs’ players after the bye week.
Chances are they will have underperformed against the tough early slate of competition,
and can be traded for at a discount…
Such a strategy could prove to be a smart move as K.C. will face weaker defenses such as the Broncos twice,
the Browns, the Jaguars, and the Raiders in the second half of the season.
Of course with weakness on offensive line, the potential benefits might come out in the wash.
The Chiefs continue to rebuild. Their defense might not be as pitiful as last season’s unit thanks to improvements
but Kansas City faces a much tougher schedule overall in ’09 compared to last year with 4 games against the NFC East,
as well as @Baltimore week 1,
Pittsburgh week 11,
and the customary two games versus division rival San Diego
who get pass rush specialist Shawne Merriman back from injury.
Overall we now project the Chiefs to finish (1-15) in 2009, a downgrade from our initial projection due to what might be a season-long
inability to protect the starting quarterback.
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