Kansas City Chiefs: Comparing the Chiefs to AFC's Best, the New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs fans go through this every year. They sit at home and watch two teams fight for the beloved Lamar Hunt Trophy. When will the Lamar Hunt Trophy return to Arrowhead Stadium? Will it ever return to Arrowhead Stadium?
The Chiefs and their fans sit at home to watch their favorite sport, aching in pain, wondering when it will be their time to see the red and gold streamers flow their way to the ground following a conference victory.
It will happen, one day. Can it happen soon?
In this slideshow, we will compare the Chiefs to the AFC champions, the New England Patriots, in all categories. Coincidentally, Chiefs general manager, Scott Pioli came from New England to try to help the Chiefs find the same amount of success. The Chiefs want to display what the Patriots have done in the past 10 years.
Many football fans have jokingly called the Chiefs the "Patriots of the West." The Chiefs earned this nickname when acquiring several notable players and coaches who were once with New England.
In what ways are the Chiefs similar to the Patriots? Let me know if you agree or disagree with these slides.
Chiefs: Romeo Crennel
Patriots: Bill Belichick
Romeo Crennel was recently hired as the official head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Both Crennel and Belichick earned their first head coaching gigs with the Cleveland Browns as both coaches struggled to find any success in Cleveland.
During their separate tenures as the head coach of the Browns, Belichick went 36-44 and Crennel went 24-40.
As an assistant under Belichick, Crennel will take some plays from Belichick's playbook and apply them as the Chiefs head coach. Crennel and Belichick were both former defensive coordinators and have had a lot of success defensively.
Belichick got a second chance and won three Super Bowl rings along with another appearance in 2008. This year will mark his fifth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach. Crennel wants to mimic Belichick and make the most out of his second chance.
The most notable assistant on New England's staff is probably Josh McDaniels, who returned to the Patriots in the postseason.
Many of New England's assistants have left and moved on. Coincidentally, at one point, Crennel and Charlie Weis were the top coordinators for the Chiefs in 2010. Both coaches played a significant role in helping the Patriots win three Super Bowls in a short amount of time.
Crennel is still going to be the defensive coordinator while serving as the head coach and Bill Muir is the currently listed as the offensive coordinator of the team. Despite the speculation that he might retire or get replaced, the Chiefs are still trying to find an offensive assistant that could do what Weis did in 2010.
The other notable assistant the Chiefs have is Emmitt Thomas as the defensive backs coach.
As of now, Weis was the only recent assistant to become a head coach, who is also from the Belichick tree. The Patriots have helped many assistants become head coaches as they've moved on to explore bigger opportunities with other teams.
Who says that can't happen with the current group of coaches with the Patriots? But would Chiefs fans feel confident to say the same thing about their own assistants? Maybe some assistants are not built to ever be head coaches.
The Chiefs have a strong core of assistant coaches, but do need to make a tweak at the offensive coordinator position.
The Chiefs also hired Tom McMahon as their new special teams coach.
Former special teams coach Steve Hoffman, wide receivers coach Richie Anderson and assistant offensive line coach Pat Perles will not be retained by Kansas City.
Chiefs: Matt Cassel
Patriots: Tom Brady
Here is another case in which a Patriot learned from another and eventually went on to pursue a big opportunity in Kansas City.
But let's not sugarcoat this. Matt Cassel and Tom Brady aren't even close when it comes to being a good quarterback. Brady is miles ahead of Cassel. While Brady is a successful quarterback, Cassel has shown a lot of inconsistency since becoming the quarterback of the Chiefs. That is not what you want from a quarterback when you give up a second-round draft pick for him.
Chiefs fans have been supporting Kyle Orton and want him to return as the team's quarterback. But right now, no signs are being shown that Orton could return and possibly take Cassel's spot.
Chiefs: Jamaal Charles
Patriots: BenJarvus Green-Ellis
With this comparison, we have another one-sided match. Kansas City was better than New England when it came to running the ball this season. Even without Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs had some flashes in the running game.
With Charles returning next year, the Chiefs could very well go back to being the best rushing team in the league.
Kansas City Chiefs: Le'Ron McClain
New England Patriots: No one
For those who have followed the Patriots by the national media this season know how much love their tight ends have been receiving. That is for a few reasons.
One of those reasons being that the Patriots employ a two-tight end system and do not have a fullback on their team.
Therefore, no comparisons can be made.
Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston
Patriots: Wes Welker and Deion Branch
Brady knows that he has two reliable receivers in Wes Welker and Deion Branch. He has played in the Super Bowl before with each receiver and will have the opportunity to play with both of them in a Super Bowl for the first time.
On the other hand, Dwayne Bowe is a hard player to evaluate. Bowe was close to being labeled a bust before he was unleashed and caught 14 receiving touchdowns in the final 12 games of the 2010 season. Just when everyone thought Bowe's drop habits and struggles went away, they came back this season. Steve Breaston, a newcomer who came to play for his former offensive coordinator (one who is now fired), only scored a touchdown in one game this season.
Let's look at the glass half-empty. Bowe has a lot of potential and could very well be considered the best receiver of this decade; he has shown that by making spectacular catches and having a monster season in 2010. It is up to him to improve from simple drop habits and become an elite player.
Chiefs: Tony Moeaki
Patriots: Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez
This is a little unfair to compare one tight end to two, but I have to because of how great Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are.
Tony Moeaki had high hopes of a huge sophomore season, but never had a chance to play in the regular season due to injury.
All three tight ends were drafted in 2010 and are highly valued by their teammates. Gronkowski is showing signs that he could be the best tight end in NFL history by the time his career is over. Hernandez and Moeaki will continue to be an alternative option on their team as pass-catchers to help their offense move the ball on drives.
(From Left to Right)
Chiefs: Branden Albert, Ryan Lilja, Casey Wiegmann, Jon Asamoah and Barry Richardson.
Patriots: Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Brian Waters and Nate Solder
The Patriots are very well known for having some of the best offensive linemen of the past 10 years. This offseason, the Patriots picked up Brian Waters after the Chiefs released him at the beginning of training camp.
Matt Light and Logan Mankins are some of the best offensive linemen according to many people in the league today.
At one point, the Chiefs did have a high-rated offensive line. But the departures of Willie Roaf, Will Shields and Waters have led to an inconsistent offensive line.
If the Chiefs decide to go with an offensive player in the first round of the draft, the Chiefs should not hesitate for one second and consider taking a right tackle.
(From Left to Right)
Chiefs: Tyson Jackson, Kelly Gregg and Glenn Dorsey
Patriots: Andre Carter, Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love and Shaun Ellis
The Patriots have mixed things up with their defense this season and played in the 4-3 scheme. However, the Patriots used the 3-4 alignment more than the 4-3 this postseason. The Patriots defense has not been perfect this season. Regardless, the defense has found a way to win games and it has led them to the Super Bowl.
The line is anchored by Vince Wilfork, who has been a force in this league. Wilfork came away with 3.5 sacks this season, more than any season since being drafted in 2004.
The Chiefs don't have a thrilling group of defensive linemen. The Chiefs spent their top-five money on defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle—eventual defensive end—Glenn Dorsey. While 3-4 defensive end position does not require a player to earn 15.5 sacks per season, Jackson and Dorsey haven't been great with the Chiefs, especially when you consider when they were drafted.
(From Left to Right)
Chiefs: Justin Houston, Jovan Belcher, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali
Patriots: Rob Ninkovich, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes
It is hard to compare the two because of the fact that they played in different defensive schemes in the regular season. In terms of which corps of linebackers just looked better and helped their team the most, you have to give it to Kansas City.
While Rob Ninkovich and Jerod Mayo had some career highs this season, the Patriots were ranked 31st on defense for a reason.
Tamba Hali continues to play at a high level in a position he is not used to playing while Derrick Johnson has fully evolved into an elite inside linebacker.
Crennel has played a big role in helping Johnson and Hali be some of the best at their position in the league today. With Justin Houston making big strides in the second half of 2011, the Chiefs defense might be one of the best in 2012 because of this corps of linebackers.
Chiefs Cornerbacks: Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr
Chiefs Safeties: Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis
Patriots Cornerbacks: Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty
Patriots Safeties: James Ihedigbo and Patrick Chung
Regardless of which defensive scheme teams want to run, the defensive backs won't have anything new to learn as their positions and priorities remain the same.
The Patriots get the slight edge in this category, thanks to Kyle Arrington. Arrington came away with seven interceptions this season and was one bright spot on this lackluster defense. Arrington has a reliable supporting cast with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung on board.
And had it not been for Arrington's pass breakup in the end zone late in the AFC Championship game, the Patriots would be at home.
The Chiefs have a rising star in Brandon Carr who has stepped up for the Chiefs lately. The Chiefs also have Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry, who might form a strong cornerback-safety duo in the National Football League.
With a strong group of pass-rushers for the Chiefs, their defensive backs could look great in 2012.
Chiefs Kicker: Ryan Succop
Chiefs Punter: Dustin Colquitt
Chiefs Returners: Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster
Patriots Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
Patriots Punter: Zoltan Mesko
Patriots Returners: Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater
The Chiefs and Patriots are really even in all three areas of special teams.
Ryan Succop and Stephen Gostkowski have been accurate and consistent.
Dustin Colquitt and Zoltan Mesko are pretty good at preventing touchbacks and pinning the opposing team deep in their own territory.
Javier Arenas handles most of the return duties and manages to gain a lot of yards on punt returns. But among the top tier of punt returners in the AFC, Arenas did not have a touchdown while Julian Edelman earned one against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football.