Team Profiles- Kansas City Chiefs by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
There’s only been 5 days, over the past 16 years that Andy Reid hasn’t been a head coach of a team in NFL. Reid was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 to December 30th, 2012, which was the day Eagles owner Jeff Lurie fired Reid. 5 days later, Andy Reid was the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Since joining the Chiefs, Reid has had 2 back-to-back winning seasons, and led the Chiefs to the playoffs in his first year, 2013. Reid took over for 2012 Romeo Crennel, who was fired after a 2-14 season. Andy Reid has had only 3 losing seasons in his entire NFL head coaching career, but has never won a Super Bowl.
2015 Team Outlook-
The Chiefs play in the AFC West division, which is a division they could win, if not for the Denver Broncos. Denver has won the division 4 straight seasons. Every team in the AFC West, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego and Oakland, has won the division at least twice since the year 2000. For the past 2 months, every Chief coach & player has secretly hoped and prayed that QB Peyton Manning would retire. It appears as though the Denver coaches and players are the ones that got their hopes and prayers answered, with QB Manning agreeing to play for at least one more season. The Broncos will win the division for the 5th straight year, and it will likely be Kansas City’s predictable offense duking it out with San Diego for 2nd place.
QB– Alex Smith, selected first overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 NFL Draft, was traded to Kansas City in early 2013. His first season with the Chiefs could not have started out better, with a 9-0 start and their first playoff berth in 3 years. I am going to give Smith the benefit of the doubt here and proclaim that the coaches in KC have handcuffed Smith so much, that he’s forced into being the ultimate “game manager”, if there ever was one. Smith has been limited to throwing only quick, short high percentage passes and dump offs to his running backs. (You might have heard, that no KC wide receiver caught a touchdown pass in 2014.) I remember watching Smith with the 49ers, and although he threw plenty of quick, short high percentage passes in SF, there was some nice deep passes thrown in. I doubt seriously that the 2 year conservative play-calling will suddenly get jiggy in 2015, so expect more of the same. (However, a Kansas City WR will catch a TD pass this coming season!)
RBs– So if QB Alex Smith isn’t throwing any TD passes to any wide receivers, how are they winning? 3 answers- RB Jamaal Charles…RB Jamaal Charles…and RB Jamaal Charles. (4 answers, if you count a pretty good defense, especially in 2013, when it ranked #1.) RB Charles is a special talent, who can hit a home run on any play with this crazy fast speed, and a double threat in the passing game. For the past 3 years, Jamaal has ranked #7, #1 and #8 among all NFL running backs. Despite his workload, he has only missed 2 games in those 3 years. RB Charles should be taken as the 1st or 2nd RB taken in September fantasy drafts. If Kansas City hopes to get into the playoffs in 2015 however, they have got to find some others weapons in their offense besides RB Charles.
WRs– Dwayne Bowe and few other unused guys. That’s the best way to sum up the KC receiving corps of 2014. If KC had not ended the 2013 & 2014 seasons with the winning records that they had (11-5 and 9-7 respectively) the coaching staff would have been crucified more than they were, for having such a conservative, boring and predictable offense. Kansas City’s #1 WR Dwayne Bowe didn’t even end the season in the top 60 among NFL wide receivers. That means that there were #2 & #3 wide receivers on other teams that had better seasons than Kansas City’s #1 WR. New Orleans Saint WR Brandon Cooks, a rookie who missed the last 6 games of the season due to injury, had a better season than Kansas City’s #1 WR. Remember all of those fantastic wide receivers that entered the draft last year, and who tore up the NFL? The WR needy team of the Kansas City Chiefs drafted NONE of them. There is another amazing class of wide receivers coming in April’s NFL draft, and if the Chiefs don’t draft one or more of them this time around, there will be riots in the KC streets…you watch. (KC released WR Donnie Avery.) UPDATE: Chiefs released WR Donnie Avery & WR Dwayne Bowe- Signed former Eagle WR Jeremy Maclin & re-signed WR Avant. Don’t expect great things from Maclin, his QB is Alex Smith.
TEs– KC recently cut TE Anthony Fasano, and many think that this is a sign that the Chiefs are ready for last year’s #8 NFL TE Travis Kelce, to go absolutely bonkers in 2015. Personally, I don’t think anyone except RB Jamaal Charles will go bonkers in this offense, but even staying conservative should net TE Kelce another 800+ yard season and 5 more TDs. This “break out” season that Kelce going to have is just chatter to me. Unlimited upside until HC Reid final loosens up that offense.
K– Rookie Cairo Santos has won the Chiefs’ kicking job, beating out veteran Ryan Succop, the most accurate kicker in Chiefs history at 81.0 percent last season. Santos played well enough to keep the job for another season hitting 25 of 30 field goal attempts and didn’t miss even one between Weeks 2 & 16.
DEF– The Kansas City Chiefs pretty much surprised everyone as the #1 defense in 2013. That year they had 47 sacks, 15 recovered fumbles, 21 INTs and 7 defensive TDs. 2014 wasn’t quite as impressive, with 46 sacks, 8 recovered fumbles, 6 INTs and only 1 defensive TDs. KC ranked #17 defense in 2014, and will need help from the draft to stay at #17.
2014 Kansas City Fantasy Surprises– (You might have heard, that no KC wide receiver caught a touchdown pass in 2014.) Also, TE Travis Kelce was ready for action last September, hauling in 3 TDs in the first 5 games. He then fell off the NFL radar scoring only 2 more in the next 11 games. His up-coming break out season is just chatter to me. For fantasy owners, it’s maddening to have any KC player other than RB Jamaal Charles. (I never draft any of them, because I never seem to get Charles.)
2015 Free Agents that Kansas City Needs to Address– RB Joe McKnight- WR Jason Avant-(re-signed)- TE Anthony Fasano (released)- OT Ryan Harris- OT Jeffrey Linkenbach- G Mike McGlynn- C Rodney Hudson (signed w/ Oakland)- DT Kevin Vickerson (signed w/ the Jets)- OL Justin Houston (franchise tag)- LB Josh Mauga (re-signed)- CB Chris Owens- S Kurt Coleman (signed w Carolina)
2015 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of Kansas City are on their O-Line, definitely at wide receiver and in the secondary. The Chiefs were 28th in pass protection last year and their center is a free agent (OL & C). You might have heard that no KC wide receiver caught a touchdown pass in 2014 (WRs) and strong safety is a major concern with the tragic news of Eric Berry’s illness. (DB) UPDATE: Kansas City’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- KANSAS CITY’S DRAFT
Did You Know– Coach Hank Stram put a “curse” on the Kansas City Chiefs in 1974? Following a bad season and managing differences with then General Manager Jack Steadman, Hank Stram was fired. Hank then publicly cursed the team saying they would never make it to the Super Bowl until he wore Chiefs red again! The Chiefs made the playoffs only once in 16 years after Hank Stram’s dismissal, followed by 25 years of post-season disappointments.
Team Home Page: www.kcchiefs.com