Although it’s always fun for fans to cheer for a team that people believe will be very good—particularly if they’re expected to make a run at the Super Bowl—the most interesting stories that unfold as a season goes on are usually the ones you don’t see coming.
As the season begins and the weeks go by, there are going to be teams that nobody had on their preseason radar who will end up making the experts look like fools.
One of those teams could be the Kansas City Chiefs.
Although the Chiefs are unlikely to be a serious Super Bowl contender this season, they definitely have the look of a team that’s ready to begin its resurgence. They’ll be a team to keep an eye on this season.
Here are a few potential storylines to watch out for as the Chiefs look to avoid another season in the AFC West basement.
Can the offensive line protect Cassel?
While the Chiefs don’t exactly have the most explosive offensive talent in the league, on paper at least it seems like they should have enough to put together a pretty good offense.
Matt Cassel is a serviceable quarterback, Dwayne Bowe is a fantastic receiver, and Jamaal Charles really came on at running back last season, boasting an impressive 5.9 yards per carry.
The big question is whether the offensive line can hold up opposing defenses long enough to let the playmakers do their thing.
Although they did a decent job clearing the way for Charles to run the ball, they were 27th in the league in sacks allowed with 45.
The addition of Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann could help out here and will, at the very least, help out with depth.
Can Matt Cassel return to his 2008 form?
In fairness to Cassel, the drop off from the numbers he put up as a starter with the Patriots in 2008 was probably to be expected.
The Chiefs have one terrific receiver in Dwayne Bowe. Cassel came to Kansas City from a team with one of the best groups of receivers in the league.
With that having been said, for the Chiefs to turn the ship around Cassel has to put up better numbers than the 55 percent completion percentage and 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio he recorded last year.
An improved offensive line and a dynamic running game could help take some of the pressure off this season, so if he can’t make this offense work then there won’t be many excuses for him.
What Impact Will Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel Have?
Although both Weis and Crennel were both largely failures in their recent head coaching stints, there’s no denying the success they’ve had as assistants.
Both sides of the ball could use a bit more talent to help facilitate the turnaround process, but there’s potential for improvement on both sides of the ball based solely on the influence of Weis and Crennel.
Can the Defense Step It Up?
At the end of the day, while the offense was relatively mediocre last season, the biggest issue the Chiefs faced was keeping their opponents out of the end zone.
The Chiefs finished 29th in points allowed with 26.5 a game.
The Chiefs addressed some needs in the draft this season and may end up starting a couple of rookies in their secondary.
Tennessee safety Eric Berry was their first draft choice at No. 5 overall, and he’ll be looked to as a potential playmaker immediately.
Second-round pick Javier Arenas from Alabama and fifth rounder Keondrick Lewis from Mississippi will also get looks at cornerback and safety, respectively.