Alex's 32 Teams in 32 Days: Team 28—Kansas City Chiefs

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Alex's 32 Teams in 32 Days: Team 28—Kansas City Chiefs

2008 Record:  2-14

2008 Season Review

The 2008 season was another disappointment for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Multiple quarterbacks saw the starting job before Tyler Thigpen took over the role for the last 10 games.  He also started in week three in Atlanta.

Thigpen had moderate success but the Chiefs were just 1-10 when he started.

The ’08 Chiefs were a very young and inexperienced club.  In fact, they were the youngest team in the NFL.

The inexperience showed.

They lost several close games, and gave up a big lead multiple times.

In week one against New England they couldn’t punch-in the tying touchdown in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

With just one minute remaining in the week eight game against the Jets, the Chiefs gave up a winning touchdown pass

The very next game the Chiefs fell apart after holding a 24-3 lead against Tampa Bay.  Kansas City ended up losing 30-27 in overtime.

One week later against San Diego, the Chiefs once again fell short.  They lost 20-19 after failing on a two-point-conversion attempt with 23 seconds remaining.

In week 15, once again versus San Diego, the Chiefs gave up 19 unanswered points after holding a 21-3 lead in the third quarter.  Kansas City lost 22-21.

It was a long season of falling short and losing big leads.

The offense finished 26th in points scored and 24th in yards gained.

The defense was even worse, ranking 29th in points allowed and 31st in yards against.

After Scott Pioli was hired as the new GM, Todd Haley was brought in to replace Herman Edwards as head coach.

 

Key Additions 

QB Matt Cassel, LB Monty Beisel, LB Mike Vrabel, G Mike Goff, C Eric Ghiaciuc, LB Zach Thomas, WR Bobby Engram, DE Tyson Jackson (draft)

 

Key Losses 

TE Tony Gonzalez, LB Donnie Edwards, G Adrian Jones, CB Patrick Surtain, LB Pat Thomas, QB Damn Huard

 

2009 Preview

With Scott Pioli, one of the key guys behind New England’s modern dynasty, now making the personnel decisions and Todd Haley taking over at head coach, the Chiefs are now moving in a new, brighter direction.

Pioli wasted no time putting his stamp on the team. He brought in the new face of the franchise; quarterback Matt Cassel was brought over in a trade from New England. 

One year ago, Cassel was just Tom Brady’s backup fighting to keep his job.  During preseason many Patriots fans and experts believed Cassel would be among the many players cut.  But the New England coaching staff and front office (Pioli) believed in him and kept him on the roster.

When Brady went down week one, against the Chiefs (talk about irony), Cassel was the man the Patriots turned to.

With Brady out for the season, Cassel would have to start for the first time since high school. After a rough first few weeks, he settled in and led the Patriots to an impressive 11-5 record.

Just months later, Cassel was shipped to Kansas City in a trade which also included linebacker Mike Vrabel.  Cassel then signed a six-year, $63 million contract.

As a part of the rebuilding process Kansas City traded future hall of fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta for a 2010 second round draft pick.

Without Gonzalez, Cassel’s top target will likely be third-year wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Aging veteran Bobby Engram was also added to help out the young quarterback.  Engram is expected to play a Wes Welker-like role in the offense.  He’ll be the guy to move the chains and come up with the clutch catches.

Former All-Pro running back Larry Johnson will need to get back to his 2005 and 2006 form if the Chiefs expect consistency out of their offense.  Johnson hasn’t reached 1,000 yards since ’06.

The O-line has been a weakness for the last few seasons but should be much improved in 2009.

The additions of Mike Goff and Eric Ghiaciuc will add much needed talent and veteran leadership to the Chiefs young offensive line.  Goff figures to replace Adrian Jones at right guard.

Second-year tackle Branden Albert has quickly emerged as the cornerstone of the Chiefs’ line. Albert will be blocking Cassel’s blindside at left tackle.  

As many changes are being made to the offense, there are even more changes on the defensive side of the ball.

Under new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, the Chiefs will be switching from a 4-3 defense, to a 3-4 scheme. 

To help the transition, Kansas City added veteran linebackers Vrabel and Zach Thomas.  They also used the third overall pick in the 2009 draft to select defensive end Tyson Jackson. Jackson is seen as a great fit in the 3-4.

The secondary will likely be the biggest weak spot on the defense.

Young safeties Jarrod Paige and Bernard Pollard will each need to step up and play to their potential.  Second year cornerback Brandon Flowers and rookie corner Donald Washington will both play significant roles in the defensive backfield

 

Bottom Line:  The Chiefs will be improved from 2008.  Look for somewhere between four and six wins.  They are heading in the right direction but it’s going to take more than just one season to get all the way turned around.

 

Previous Rankings

32. Detroit Lions

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

30. Cleveland Browns

29. Oakland Raiders

Be sure to check in tomorrow for the unveiling of team 27. 

 

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