(This is part two of the following previous article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/175108-broncos-primed-for-a-playoff-run-a-look-at-the-afc-west-division )
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs went 2-14 last season and did not have a lot of highlights to discuss. In the off season they hired a new coach, Todd Haley, and a new GM, Scott Pioli. On defense, they will attempt to run a 3-4 scheme, which may suit their personnel better than the 4-3.
On offense they had an average rushing attack. The once dominant Larry Johnson, is becoming an injury risk and has missed the majority of the last two seasons.
Rookie speed back Jamaal Charles, showed some promise, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, but he's better as a No. 2 back. Johnson will need to stay healthy, if the Chiefs want to be any better then last year.
Matt Cassel is their newly acquired quarterback from New England. He showed a lot of talent, in his first year as a starter. I still believe he is a question mark though.
Was it the coaching that made him good? Was it the system?
Cassel is an upgrade over previous quarterbacks, Tyler Thigpen and Brodie Croyle, and their offense should be more efficient this season.
However, with the upgrade in quarterback came the huge downgrade in receiving, in the loss of Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez led the Chiefs in receiving last season with 1058 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Chiefs traded him to the Atlanta Falcons for a second round draft pick in 2010. Without Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe is their only receiving threat. The Chiefs can only hope that someone steps up their game in training camp.
The Chiefs acquired two lineman this off season in Eric Ghiaciuc and Mike Goff. Hopefully, they will be able to add strength to an offensive line that has been lacking, since the loss of Will Shields, Brian Waters, and Casey Wiegmann.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs didn't fair well either. Their overall NFL defensive rank was never lower than 28th in all four areas. They needed to make some huge changes from last year to improve upon this.
In the trade for Matt Cassel, Kansas City acquired veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel. They also acquired another veteran linebacker in Zach Thomas. Coupled with the promising right outside linebacker Derrick Johnson, this should be a much improved linebacker corps.
In making the switch to 3-4 defense, pass rushing specialist Tamba Hali will have a chance to make the transition from defensive end to left outside linebacker. If he is successfully in this transition, he should be pretty dangerous off the edge.
The Chiefs addressed their defensive line in the draft, taking LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson and Purdue defensive end Alex Magee.
Jackson was considered the best five technique defensive end in the draft and Magee was considered a very good fit in the 3-4 end spot as well. The Chiefs will have a big nose tackle in Tank Tyler. With their new additions, their defensive line should be better than last year.
One big problem that the Chiefs face is what to do with 2008 first round draft pick Glenn Dorsey. He is not a good fit for the 3-4 defense, as his strengths focused more on attacking the passer rather than holding blocks.
The Chiefs may be able to get another starter for Dorsey, if they trade him soon. Anquan Boldin anyone??
The Chiefs have a young backfield and they should be better this year, if the line is stopping the run and the linebackers are able to create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
All four players in the Chiefs backfield combine for only six years of experience, but show a lot of promise.
I see this Chiefs team as being better than last year, but not by a whole lot. The Chiefs have to play Pittsburgh, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Dallas this season, with some tough away games in Baltimore and Philadelphia.
I can see the Chiefs winning 5-6 games this year and being last in the AFC West for the second straight year.
The Broncos should not have any problems sweeping the Chiefs this season.