Nationally, the Kansas City Chiefs look like a joke. They finished on an eight game losing streak to end the season 4-12 a year after a playoff appearance.
However, I have a few reservations about counting this team out. Here's why:
1. Larry Johnson is still a beast - Anytime a team can just line up and go at you like the Chiefs usually can, you're going to be in trouble. The best thing that ever happened to the San Diego Chargers is the fact that the Chiefs' offensive line got old.
2. Tony Gonzalez is still a major threat - Gonzalez may be the greatest tight end in NFL history and he isn't over the hill yet. The big TE is still capable of taking over a game and becoming unstoppable at any moment.
3. Dwayne Bowe is only going to get better - Bowe was a formidable weapon last season as the AFC West Champion Chargers found out in a hurry as they incurred a rare home loss with Bowe high-stepping into the end zone. If the Chiefs can keep Tony Gonzalez and Larry Johnson healthy, regardless of who lines up at QB, opponents could have some serious issues contending with the Chiefs offense.
With the above three weapons on the field, a defense cannot double everybody. In the Chiefs' loss to the Chargers last season, the Bolts simply double covered Gonzalez and Bowe and dared the rest of the Chiefs' offense to do anything. The result was a 10 point, 9 sack fiasco in which the Chiefs looked foolish in the second half.
If there was a healthy Larry Johnson commanding eight men in the box, the Chargers would not have had a chance of getting away with double teaming Gonzalez and Bowe the whole game. The outcome might have been different. Not just in the Chargers' game, but also a bunch of other games the Chiefs lost.
If these guys can get anything from the (entire) defense and offensive line with the quarterback playing the role of caretaker, they could easily return to the playoffs while once again preventing the Chargers from going undefeated in the AFC West.