It’s clear that the best four teams in the AFC are still in the playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs had quite a season but they still have some things to retool and players to draft. With the unknown state of a new collective bargaining agreement, it hurts to not have the Chiefs in the playoffs anymore.
The Chiefs have arrived. Yes, they are still young but growing pains and rebuilding are terms that cannot be used to describe the what the Chiefs are doing. They’ll have a real schedule to tackle and realistic Super Bowl expectations to attain. This means the Chiefs have to own the AFC West this year, not just barely win it.
Baltimore Ravens 30, Kansas City Chiefs 7
The highlights were Tamba Hali’s sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery and Jamaal Charles’ touchdown run. That’s about it. The rest was Baltimore Ravens dominance and Todd Haley giving up on the running game. Shame on Haley for abandoning the facet of the offense that the Chiefs are better at than anyone in the league. Dwayne Bowe getting shut-out was probably due to great coverage and Bowe losing a step but Jamaal Charles needed to get more than 9 carries and a few receptions. Todd Haley was out-coached but what will be important going forward is that he learns from his mistakes.
Before the season started, I predicted that five not-so-obvious teams would be worse than the Chiefs. My assumption was that the Chiefs would be around the 20th best team in the NFL and the five teams I named would be worse. I was wrong about the Chiefs but right on four teams and dead wrong on one (Da Bears). The Chiefs were 3-1 against these teams, only losing to the Broncos but beating Denver as well as the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. The Carolina Panthers were the worst team in football and the Bears clinched a bye in the playoffs.
Yes, the Seahawks are still in the playoffs but the AFC is indisputably the better conference and the Seahawks have the worst modern record for a playoff team and, as far as 7-9 teams go, they aren’t even a good 7-9 team. Overall, it was a fun exercise but I could have added a lot more teams because the Chiefs are 10 teams better than my pre-season assessment.
Where do we go from here?
Who knows without a CBA in place but, whether or not a deal gets done, GM Scott Pioli will be preparing to improve the team in the draft and in free agency. Topping last year’s draft would be quite a feat but because Pioli did such a great job last year, there less holes to fill in. I have no expertise in the college football department and I am not ready to examine the holes that need filled.
I am ready to send some players packing. It’s a short list but I will start with Jon McGraw. The Chiefs have a promising free safety in Kendrick Lewis but McGraw isn’t even worthy of the role he filled this year. Mike Vrabel can leave as well. If the Chiefs D still needs a mentor, he can stay on as a coach but his days should be done wearing #50. Demorrio Williams saw little action beyond his special team duties but he can go as the Chiefs can bring in a younger player that can learn under Derrick Johnson.
On the offense, Chris Chambers should be released back into the market. We know why he has been passed around like he has. Brodie Croyle has no place on the Chiefs. He’s not a starter, he’s not a backup and, while he is a third-stringer, Brodie has too much experience to be in that position. Let some other team try him out at QB. Disappointment will ensue.
Five players is a short list. I am not happy with all of the other 48 players but the rest of them aren’t taking up space and have a purpose with the Chiefs at this point in my opinion.
Thanks for reading. It’s been a fun season to watch Chiefs football. Haven’t said that in a few years.