The Kansas City Chiefs’ 2012 offense will look a lot different than it has in recent years. The goal of wanting to control the clock will be the same, but new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll brings in a new scheme with plenty of shiny new toys to play with.
Daboll, who is familiar with the “Patriot Way,” comes to Kansas City having already worked with head coach Romeo Crennel, general manager Scott Pioli and, maybe most importantly, quarterback Matt Cassel.
Pioli was the mastermind behind one of the most productive offseasons in Chiefs’ history, having signed right tackle Eric Winston, running back Peyton Hillis and tight end Kevin Boss. All three will play integral roles in the offense this season.
In addition to the other free agent signings that have made the Chiefs one of the deepest teams in the NFL, Pioli used the draft to plug any remaining holes on the offense.
Offensive linemen Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson will serve as the primary backups this season and will play huge roles going forward, with the futures of Brandon Albert and Ryan Lilja in Kansas City up in the air. Devon Wylie was also brought in at wide receiver and should get plenty of looks out of the slot position and in the return game.
In addition to all the acquisitions, the Chiefs return wide receivers Dwayne Bowe (assuming he eventually signs his franchise tender), Jon Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster, as well as running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki.
In short, Daboll could look like an offensive genius with all the weapons the Chiefs’ offense will feature. However, the biggest beneficiary will be Cassel.
Cassel will never be mistaken for Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers—three of the most talented quarterbacks in the league—but in Daboll’s system, and with as much talent as he has around him, he doesn’t have to be.
The upgraded offensive line and running game will set the table for the Chiefs’ offense, but having legitimate targets in the passing game to keep the opposing defense on its heels will be key this season.
Cassel performed quite well in 2010 with much less talent at his disposal. So it isn’t a stretch to assume he could surpass his totals of 3,116 yards and 27 touchdowns, which he accrued in just 15 games that season.
While the onus falls on the quarterback’s shoulders more often than not, Cassel is in a position to simply concentrate on doing his job in 2012. He doesn’t have to win games single-handedly like a lot of signal-callers around the NFL must do.
What Cassel has to ensure is that he plays within his limitations. While he may not be relied on to win games by himself, he can certainly be looked at as the sole reason for losing them.
However, if everything falls into place for the Chiefs in 2012, there might not be much blame to pass around.