Thursday, September 1, 2011
Chiefs' intelligence report
By Bill Williamson
Here is Kansas City's team page:
1. Ready to air it out: The Chiefs' passing game excelled under former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis last season, and don't expect that to change now that Weis is at Florida. Offensive line coach Bill Muir has been promoted to offensive coordinator. Former Washington head coach Jim Zorn is the quarterback coach, and head coach Todd Haley will be involved in the passing game. Don't expect the Chiefs to shy away from throwing the ball. If you don't believe it, just look at two of their biggest offseason pickups -- receiver Jon Baldwin, their first-round pick, and free-agent slot receiver Steve Breaston.
2. It all starts with Jamaal Charles: The Chiefs are in fine shape at running back. They just signed fullback Le'Ron McClain, who runs the ball more than the typical fullback, and they still have veteran Thomas Jones. Those two will help keep pressure off star Jamaal Charles, who the team believes is most effective when he is fresh. Jones had 15 more carries than Charles last year. That will probably change because Charles is so explosive. According to the Football Scientist, KC Joyner, Charles is outstanding in his good blocking yards per attempt (GBYPA) metric. It gauges how productive a running back is when his blocking is effective. Charles had a 9.0 GBYPA last year, second best in the NFL.
3. Challenge will be stiffer in 2010: The Chiefs were a surprise division winner last year. They developed quickly and showed they are one of the NFL's most talented young teams. However, they benefited from an easy schedule. Kansas City played only two playoff teams in 2010. The schedule toughens this season. From Weeks 11 to 15, Kansas City plays five 2010 playoff teams, including the four teams that went to the conference championship games: Green Bay, Chicago, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets. The other 2010 playoff team in that mix is New England. Yes, it's brutal.
4. Varied weapons: Kansas City has a unique offense. No weapons are alike. The Chiefs will feature receivers Dwayne Bowe, Baldwin and Breaston. They all offer different things. Bowe is a classic No. 1 type. Baldwin is a big, vertical threat. Breaston is a chain-mover. Add field-stretching tight end Tony Moeaki and shifty running back/receiver Dexter McCluster, and the Chiefs will have many different schemes to keep defenses off balance.
5. Hali was not a one-hit wonder: Don't expect Tamba Hali to fade now that he got his big contract. The Chiefs recently gave Hali a five-year, $60 million deal with $35 million guaranteed. He is not a cash-grab type of player. He is very humble and is a hard worker. Expect Hali, who led the AFC with 14.5 sacks last season, to work even harder to live up to his big contract.