Why the Kansas City Chiefs' 2013 Offseason Was a Successful One
The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up organized team activities last week and concluded their offseason with a three-day minicamp this week.
Players broke the huddle one last time after Thursday's minicamp and will meet again in six weeks for training camp in St. Joseph, Mo.
The Chiefs were heavily active this offseason and received a lot of attention from the national media since January. From front office changes to personnel moves and a focused group, the Chiefs accomplished a lot this offseason.
What are some of the big highlights and takeaways from this offseason? Let's review Kansas City's activity as it moves forward.
John Dorsey and Andy Reid Takeover
After a grueling 2-14 season, Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt made changes to benefit the franchise. After letting go of Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli, Hunt worked hard to bring in Andy Reid as the new head coach and John Dorsey as the new general manager.
Reid and Dorsey were both top available candidates in their respective positions, and Hunt moved quickly to lure them to Kansas City.
While Dorsey works on personnel moves, Reid is taking what Dorsey gives him and is establishing a new identity. He seeks to turn the franchise around after an abysmal two-win season.
After a failed attempt with Pioli, football fans in Kansas City are optimistic and hope the new regime will stay together for a long time and bring a lot of success.
Fans cried for a better showing from the quarterback spot all season. The Chiefs saw limited success from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. Both quarterbacks started eight games in 2012, and each found one win as a starting quarterback.
This meant necessary change. The Chiefs did not hesitate and struck quickly.
Smith turned his career around four years ago and began to play better, eventually playing a part in leading the 49ers to an NFC Championship appearance; however, he had his starting spot taken away after Colin Kaepernick produced during Smith's absence from an injury.
Like the Chiefs, Smith has a fresh start.
If Smith can carry over his consistent play, Chiefs fans will have fun watching the offense this season.
No Drama on or off the Field
While some teams try to focus on building a football team in the offseason, they run into unfortunate events that can cause distractions or overshadow their progress.
Most recently, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett did not confirm whether or not offensive coordinator Bill Callahan would call the offensive plays after owner Jerry Jones said Callahan will. This created a lot of buzz in the media.
Fortunately, Kansas City has avoided these issues.
The Chiefs had a minor issue with Branden Albert earlier this spring. Albert received the franchise tag instead of a new contract, and the team later drafted offensive tackle Eric Fisher with the first pick. According to Will Brinson of CBS Sports, Albert reportedly planned on staying away from the team, leading many to believe he would avoid practicing in OTAs.
However, even under the franchise tag, Albert showed up to OTAs and mandatory minicamp and participated with the team, offering a positive look on his contract situation and future with the organization—especially considering that Albert is practicing at left tackle, his desired position, while Fisher is on the right side.
Outside of Albert's small issue, the Chiefs have not had to deal with any distractions this offseason.
Limited Injuries During Offseason
Throughout the offseason, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster and several other players missed a small portion of OTAs or minicamp because of a minor injury, but they returned to action soon.
Tight end Tony Moeaki did not practice this offseason after having arthroscopic knee surgery at the end of last season, according to the Kansas City Star. He is expected to practice in training camp.
The Chiefs also missed Donnie Avery for parts of the offseason and know little about him in person.
Despite not being able to practice, both players showed up and watched their teammates.
Outside of Moeaki and Avery, Chiefs players have been healthy and practicing hard with the team. The Chiefs will be fortunate to have all of their players ready to go by the time training camp kicks off in six weeks.
Strong Draft for the Offense
The Chiefs used their first four draft picks of the 2013 NFL draft on offensive players. They traded their second-round pick for Smith. In the draft, they used the No. 1 pick on Fisher and both third-round picks on offensive players: tight end Travis Kelce and running back Knile Davis.
Fisher, being the top pick, is more than likely going to start at right tackle in Week 1. With Moeaki sidelined for now, Kelce has an opportunity to start, while Davis will compete for the backup running back spot.
Regardless of whether or not they start, Kelce and Davis will see plenty of action this year with the offense.
Expect to hear a lot about the offensive rookies this year under Reid's first season with the Chiefs.
Dwayne Bowe Is Very Optimistic
The NFL has been a challenge for Dwayne Bowe. Since he entered the league in 2007, he's played under three different head coaches, making Reid his fourth. Bowe has also played with seven different starting quarterbacks, and Smith will be his eighth.
But Bowe managed to put up big numbers and make a name for himself.
This offseason, he showed off a more optimistic side. He told the media that he will lead the league in receptions and touchdowns among all pass-catchers. He also said Charles will lead the league in rushing in 2013.
This past week, Bowe said the team is "ahead of the curve," per T.J. Carpenter of 810 WHB Kansas City.
It's better to see this side of Bowe. He's positive and showing he can't wait for the season to kick off with Smith as his new quarterback.
Bowe has some improving of his own to do, but with his attitude and a new quarterback and coach in place, it's likely that fans will see that improvement occur this year.
Tyson Jackson Is Showing Signs of Improvement
It is only June. A lot can happen between now and the start of the regular season. However, Tyson Jackson, who was quietly third on the team in sacks last year, could win over a lot of fans this year. He showed some flashes during the second half of last season, and that might carry that over to this year.
When I watched the team practice on Wednesday, Jackson surprised me the most. He's slimmer and in better shape. During scrimmage, he invaded the pocket a couple of times and batted down a pass at one point.
Jackson weighed in at 295 lbs during the combine and is currently listed at 296 lbs on the Chiefs' official website. Assuming the Chiefs update player information in training camp, expect that number to change when the team weighs in at St. Joseph, Mo.
Even Reid was vocal in a positive manner about Jackson's offseason.
Jackson is an early candidate to be named the most improved player on the team this upcoming season.