2009 Chief's Preview: Because This Year Will Be Different

Nick TysonCorrespondent IMay 12, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 21:  Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on during the game against the Miami Dolphins on December 21, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

In the 2009-2010 NFL season the only place to go from here is up.  After a miserable 2-14 finish in the 2008-2009 season, the Kansas City Chiefs look to wipe the slate clean this upcoming season.  The name of the game this year is progress and development.  Realistically, are we going to improve from a team in the cellar to one that reaches the Superbowl?  The answer is probably not.  But a record above .500 is certainly possible, and this is often good enough for a playoff berth.  And the fact is, this team is going to be much better than most give it credit for.

Many challenges are going to come the Chief’s way in 2009.  What was once a team known for its dominating offense and lack of defense, has recently transformed into a team with one of the weakest offenses in the game, and a defense that is not by any means spectacular either.

2009 will see the team with a new leader.  With no true “general” since Trent Green departed a few years back, the 2009 Chiefs will turn to Matt Cassel for superior play and leadership.  Cassel proved himself in the absence of Tom Brady in 2008, but will he be able to do it with the Kansas City offense?  Only time will tell.

In 2009 we can also hope to see a healthy and consistent Larry Johnson.  The past two seasons he has been injury plagued and ineffective, and in 2009 he will need to be consistent, putting down 100 yd games every week, instead of every four weeks, mixed between 20 and 30 yd rush games.

 Long time Chief icon Tony Gonzalez will see his first year in a non-Chief uniform, and it will be up to unproven Brad Cottam to make up for this loss.  And after a stellar rookie campaign and an equally successful second year, receiver Dwayne Bowe will have the opportunity to solidify himself as one of the top receivers in the league.

Improvements are needed on the defensive side of the ball as well. First round 2008 pick Glen Dorsey, will need to prove why he deserved his selection, and find the ball carrier more often in 2009.  2009 third overall pick Tyson Jackson will need to develop into a top defensive end, using his size and mobility to fill the void that was left with Jared Allen’s departure.

And the players who produced in 2008 will need to continue to produce to their full potential.  Brandon Flowers had one of the top rookie campaigns the Chiefs have seen at his respective position.  Safeties Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page seemed to have great reads on every play.  This will need to keep rolling into the 2009 season.

Rome was not built in a day, and neither is a great football team.  Progress is critical; any little step cannot be taken for granted.  The 2009 Chiefs have the pieces to surprise many teams during the regular season, but this may not be enough to carry them into the postseason and to a national championship.  But the pieces are falling into place, and the time when the Chiefs will dominate the league is approaching.