Thursday, January 2, 2014
All-AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs
By Adam Teicher
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs were appropriately honored with nine players on ESPN’s All-AFC West team.
Each of the nine players deserves his spot on the all-division team. No strong argument could be made for any Chiefs player who didn’t make the team.
Running back Jamaal Charles and left tackle Branden Albert were the offensive players selected. Charles had a strong all-around season, emerging as a legitimate threat as a pass-receiver. Charles beat out some strong competition from Denver’s Knowshon Moreno and San Diego’s Ryan Mathews.
Albert had a solid season despite missing three games late in the year with a knee injury.
On defense, nose tackle Dontari Poe, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and strong safety Eric Berry were chosen. Poe, Johnson, Houston and Berry may have had their best NFL seasons. Poe was a force against both the run and the pass and was so valuable to the Chiefs that he rarely came out of their lineup.
Johnson and Berry showed outstanding all-around games. Johnson tied his career high in sacks. Berry set a career high in sacks and scored twice on interception returns. Houston was among the NFL leaders in sacks in late November before dislocating his elbow, an injury that forced him out of the lineup for four games.
Hali was among the AFC leaders in sacks.
On special teams, punter Dustin Colquitt and punt returner Dexter McCluster were selected. Colquitt didn’t have the best average in the division but landed a huge percentage of his punts inside the 20, an important statistic for a team that relied on favorable field position.
McCluster scored a touchdown on two punt returns, including an electrifying 89-yarder against the New York Giants.