AFC West: Eirc Berry

Moving on: Kansas City Chiefs

September, 19, 2011
Here are some areas the Kansas City Chiefs need to focus on after a 48-3 loss at Detroit on Sunday:

Recap: Kansas City has troubles unlike any team in the NFL. Then Chiefs have been decimated by injury and humiliated in lopsided defeats. This was a 10-win team last year. Now, folks are wondering if the Chiefs will finish with the worst record in the NFL and win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Todd Haley is officially on the hot seat. That’s what happens when a team is hammered by a combined score of 89-10 in its first two games. Dating back to Week 17 last year, the Chiefs have been beaten by a combined score of 150-27. Their plight got worse with the loss of superstar running back Jamaal Charles, likely for the season with a likely torn ACL. He is the third key players (joining Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki) to be lost for the season in the past two weeks.

Biggest area to fix: Everything. The Chiefs have been terrible in every phase of the game. Players and coaches all have to pick it up, or the hammer is going to fall.

Biggest area to build on: Seriously?

What to watch for: Will Haley make it past Monday? If Kansas City general manager wants to make a change, why would he wait? But if Pioli still believes in Haley, the question will be for how long? If the Chiefs bet blown out on the road by an angry Chargers’ team next week, changes could be on the horizon. This situation is bleak. There’s no other way of putting it.
The AFC West as a whole appears to be a division set to succeed down the road. I could see all four teams being competitive by the time 2014 rolls around.

The Chargers have a strong program, and as long as Philip Rivers, who turns 30 this December, is the quarterback, San Diego will be relevant. Oakland snapped a seven-year streak of losing at least 11 games by going .500 last season and has a good core of young players. Denver has new leadership and some interesting young pieces. If Denver can draft well and figure out its quarterback situation soon, it can be on the right track by 2014.

But the team I have to go with is the Kansas City Chiefs.

How can I ignore the surprise 2010 AFC West champions?

The Chiefs remind me of the Green Bay Packers. The young Packers won the Super Bowl last season probably ahead of their time. The same thing goes for the Chiefs’ division crown.

This team had won a total of 10 games in the three seasons previous to 2010. Yet the young club jelled and won 10 games in coach Todd Haley’s second season.

There are no signs that the Chiefs are going anywhere but up in the next few years.

As long as quarterback Matt Cassel, 29, continues to make positive strides, there aren’t a lot of question marks in Kansas City. If Cassel fails, the Chiefs have Ricky Stanzi, a fifth-round pick this year, waiting in the wings.

The Chiefs have young stars Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and Tony Moeaki on offense and excellent youngsters such as Eric Berry, Glenn Dorsey, Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr on defense. The team has drafted well in recent years and appears to have drafted well in 2011. Rookies such as Jon Baldwin, Rodney Hudson, Justin Houston and Allen Bailey seem as though they have a chance to contribute right away.

It is a very well-coached club, so player development should come quickly.

This appears to be a team that has a strong master plan. In fact, the Chiefs are further along than the Scott Pioli-Haley tandem expected. So there is no reason to think Kansas City shouldn’t be a team to reckon with in the middle of this decade.