The 2010-2011 Good, Bad, and Ugly series will start with the AFC West. This division has been run by the San Diego Chargers for a few years now, but this season is the best time to end that streak.
The Kansas City Chiefs knew they were rebuilding last season and their record of 4-12 showed it. They had two losing streaks lasting 5 games and had no offense or defense to rely on. Their only moment last season was when they decided if they were going down, they were bringing the Broncos down with them and scored 44 points in their final game.
Last season I wrote that Jamaal Charles could be the speed back the Chiefs needed. Little did I know he would not only be a speed back, but an all-around good back. He rushed for 1120 yards and averaged almost 6 yards per carry. Plus, he was second on the team in receptions with 40. Now he has help, though, as the Chiefs look to have a dynamic 1-2 punch.
The addition of Thomas Jones will be a huge help to the offense and the survival of Charles. Thomas may be old, but he still rushed for over 1400 yards last season. He brings experience, but most of all he can bring the physicality that completes Charles’ agility and quickness. This duo will make or break the team.
Another strength will be the receiver position. Dwayne Bowe is still a No.1 receiver, but he needs to stay on the field and not be suspended. He will also have help this season in Chris Chambers and Jerheme Urban. Chambers was a solid performer for the Chiefs after being released by the Chargers. He led the team with 608 yards receiving and averaged 17 yards per catch. Urban on the other hand is just looking to be on the field on a daily basis. The Cardinals pretty much breed receivers and when Steve Breaston was 3rd on the depth chart, there was little hope of seeing substantial playing time. Here Urban will have a chance.
Whether he plays running back or receiver, I know Dexter McCluster will bring an explosive element to the offense.
The schedule is a huge strength for them as they play the NFC West and the AFC South along with their own weak division. The AFC South is a good matchup because have the division is struggling at passing and the other half struggles running the ball.
Quarterback Matt Cassel didn’t have a good year, but it was not a horrible year either. He threw 16 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. Granted, he did not have much to throw to for most of the season as Bowe was suspended and Chambers was a mid-season pick-up. This year he should turn things around and improve an offense that only scored 27 points or more three times the whole season.
The offensive line was ugly last season, but now they are just bad. I expect Casey Wiegmann to come in and give leadership to the young line, and Brian Waters is a strong guard so the interior should be good this season. The tackles need some work as Albert had issues with pass protection and O’Callaghan will need to show he can keep the starting job for the whole season.
To no surprise, the defense is the glaring weakness of the Chiefs.
Romeo Cronnel has a big task in front of him.
The defensive line is made of former first rounder picks like Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey, but both struggled with the 3-4 system last season. They just could not create any pressure on the quarterback. The linebackers are not much better. Tamba Hali has not been the same since Allen left, and the rest are mediocre linebackers at best.
The strength of the defense just may be the secondary. Not only is it home to the best player on their defense, Eric Berry, but I think the addition of third round pick Javier Arenas could fill in as a good cover corner, or at least do a better job than his predecessors.
Once again I believe Dwayne Bowe is a good fantasy receiver. He is not suspended this season and has other receivers who can draw attention.
Chris Chambers was a nice surprise for many owners last season and could be a good No.3 receiver for your team.
A word of caution when it comes to the Chiefs’ running backs, both were great but stick with Charles until it is clear how the two work together.
The sleeper pick is Jerheme Urban because he is from the Arizona system and will look to impress in his new city.
2010-2011 Record: 6-10 (Last season I predicted the exact record the Chiefs finished with)