Kansas City Chiefs: Dynamic Offensive Players Set to Explode in 2012
There haven’t been a lot of people willing to say this, so I’ll be the first to put it out there: This could be the best offense in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The talent is there. The offensive line is rock solid. They have a coordinator that’s known for being creative with ball distribution and making chicken salad out of…well you know.
The offensive attack, in general, is looking lethal as a unit, but there are a few players who could take their play to another level when the leaves start to turn in the City of Fountains.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
An impressive rookie season in 2010 led to heightened anticipations for the tight end’s sophomore season, but an ACL tear in the fourth preseason game ensured Moeaki would be watching 2011 from a physical therapist’s office.
Now that the year off is over, Moeaki is going to return to the Red and Gold offense with a vengeance, but not necessarily because of anything he does individually.
No, the reason the Hawkeye ballhawk is going to explode is because he’s surrounded by a myriad of other offensive weapons.
With the Killa B’s in Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston occupying the best cover men of any given defense, Moeaki is going to find plenty of space in the middle to work. His constant open presence in the middle is going to expose playmaking options for the Kansas City offense that the lumbering Leonard Pope just couldn’t provide.
If he can rid himself of the injury-prone label and stay on the field, he could just make the fans in Arrowhead forget the other Tony sooner rather than later.
Final Stat Predictions: 77 receptions for 860 yards and eight touchdowns.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
The Conway Cannonball used to be the great hope among old-school football fans that a power back could succeed again in the NFL.
The heir-apparent to Mike Alstott obliged by smashing and bruising his way to over 1,100 yards and eleven touchdowns in 2010, earning a place for his mug on the cover of Madden 2011.
Unfortunately, the digital version of Hillis turned out to be much better than the real thing in 2011.
With only 587 yards and three touchdowns in a season pocked by strep throat and contract disputes, Hillis faded from the forefront of NFL fans’ minds and couldn’t have been more undercover if he had gotten the CIA job he reportedly coveted.
But now in new surroundings, he’s going to return to his face-smashing ways.
The most important aspect of his new surroundings is being surrounded by players like Jamaal Charles and his old offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Daboll was the architect of the offense Hillis was so prolific in, and joining back up with his old coach should get him back in his bone-breaking groove.
With a shored up offensive line, one much better than he ever had in Cleveland, all signs point to a resurgence for the Animal from Arkansas.
Not to mention the two-back sets with Hillis and Charles that Daboll can dream up. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.
Final Stat Prediction: 1,070 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns, 215 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
The former Pitt Panther did not have an overwhelmingly encouraging start to his pro career. After missing the usual spring minicamps and OTAs because of labor issues, he assured a bad start by fighting with veteran halfback Thomas Jones and breaking his hand during training camp.
Missing the first five weeks of the regular season is no way to start an NFL career, but this specimen of a wide receiver is going to make up for lost time in 2012.
With a full offseason to learn the new playbook and get a rapport with Matt Cassel, he’s going to succeed in this offense. He will explode because he is in a receiving corps with two dangerous weapons in their own right.
With a better understanding of how to thrive in a professional offense and more than likely being matched up with the third corner after the defense accounts for Bowe and Breaston, Baldwin can realize his full, ridiculous potential.
Final Stat Prediction: 57 receptions for 760 yards and seven touchdowns.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Well, duh. Who’s the one getting the ball to all these weapons?
ESPN’s Ron Jaworski recently ranked Matt Cassel the 22nd best quarterback in the league. All the criticisms of Cassel are for the most part correct. He’s not a game-changing passer, not a particularly strong arm and don’t ever expect him to put the team on his back in do-or-die situations.
But put him in an offense like this and he can manage the heck out of it, and be very successful.
With an offensive line that no longer features the swinging gate formerly known as Barry Richardson and replaced by the bastion Eric Winston, he should be a lot more comfortable in the pocket.
In 2010, Cassel threw for 3,116 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. With the players Cassel has to work with, Drew Brees could throw for 7,000 yards.
Unfortunately, Matt Cassel is not Drew Brees, but he’s still lined up for an offensive renaissance of his own. The only reason he won’t be more productive is because this is a run-first offense.
Final Stat Prediction: 3,900 yards, 29 touchdowns, six interceptions.