2011 Record: 7-9 (4th AFC West)
Projected 2012 Record: 8-8 (4th AFC West)
Key Arrivals: DE Ropati Pitoitua, QB Brady Quinn, OT Eric Winston, TE Kevin Boss, RB Peyton Hillis, CB Stanford Routt
Key Departures: OT Barry Richardson, TE Leonard Pope, FB Le’Ron McClain, CB Brandon Carr, QB Kyle Orton, LB DeMorrio Williams
The Chiefs started 2011 on a rough note, sliding down to 5-8 and firing Coach Todd Haley, replacing him with defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Crennel led the team to a 2-1 record down the stretch, including knocking off the then undefeated Green Bay Packers with their stout, underrated defense. The Chiefs have brought in QB Brady Quinn to challenge Matt Cassel, who has been underwhelming in his tenure as the Chiefs starter (based on the pay he got), but I doubt he’ll provide much of one, and the Chiefs do too, that’s why they bolstered their running back stable and added another TE. Peyton Hillis will team up with Thomas Jones (who is currently a FA but will likely re-sign) and Jamaal Charles to provide a 3-headed horse in the backfield. His main purpose will be to provide a change of pace from Jamaal Charles, but to alleviate pressure on both Charles and Cassel, and if he’s come back down to Earth, this could be one of the league’s better tandems. Kevin Boss will allow the Chiefs to line up in tighter formations and use bigger sets, utilizing their run-heavy schemes, Offensive Coordinator Brian DaBoll likes to run the run-first, double TEs, heavy offensive packages, putting less emphasis on the QB, and more on ball control.
The offense may be okay, the problem will be the loss of Brandon Carr on defense, and replacing him with Stanford Routt. While Routt can be a strong CB that is able to hold his own, Carr was a playmaker that will surely be missed. This was a defense that was ranked 6th against the pass, allowing only 201 ypg, the removal of Carr and the adjustment to Routt could cause a few problems. Add that to a defense that wasn’t spectacular at stopping the run (132 ypg), and you have a recipe that calls for a seasonal adjustment. It may take a little while for this defense to come together the way Crennel wants it to, and while I have no doubts that he will get the defense where he wants it to be, it’s going to take a little while. The Chiefs open with the Falcons, then go to Buffalo and New Orleans before facing San Diego and Baltimore at home. Good luck with that.
They will face former Head Coach Todd Haley when they head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (who is now their OC) in Week 10, but that will be the extent of potent offenses they face in the second half of the season (minus SD, CAR and DEN).
The Chiefs defense will tell the tale for their season…with an offense that cannot carry the load or score points on a whim, the defense will have to provide this team with a backbone to rest on. If they are slow to start, the Chiefs will be too.