5 Kansas City Chiefs Facing Most Pressure in 2nd Half of Season
The Chiefs haven't been perfect, nor have they played mistake-free football this season. But they are doing whatever it takes to win.
As the reigning AFC West champions, the Chiefs have climbed their way to the top of the division from the bottom in the span of eight weeks.
Todd Haley has said many times that he is not interested in how they win, as long as they win. However, the ugly wins could turn into losses if the Chiefs don't make any adjustments. Especially with a rough five-game stretch coming up.
Which five players are facing the most pressure in the second half of the regular season? Let me know what you think!
QB Matt Cassel
This has to be Matt Cassel's most inconsistent season since being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009.
As of right now, Cassel has nine touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He has already passed his 2010 interception total of seven; we continue to see a different side of Cassel each week.
Cassel threw five touchdowns and no interceptions for two consecutive weeks against Minnesota and Indianapolis, but threw three touchdown passes and four interceptions the following two weeks against Oakland and San Diego.
What side of Cassel will we see in the remainder of the season? Can we get some consistency from him? Will he be able to keep the team competitive throughout the tough five weeks that are coming up soon? Will the addition of Jonathan Baldwin help him get better?
There are a lot of questions surrounding the $63 million quarterback as he still has a lot to prove.
If he is able to limit his mistakes, he could take the Chiefs to the postseason for the second consecutive season, which has not happened in franchise history since 1994-95.
Jonathan Baldwin did not make a big impact when he made his NFL debut. But he made some noise this past Monday night with his first career touchdown reception.
With Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston on the team, Baldwin is going to be another big piece to the puzzle.
While Baldwin did drop a couple of passes in his second game, he spent extra time in practice working on maintaining possession of the ball this past week.
Cassel will need Baldwin if the Chiefs hope to have a more three-dimensional offense for the rest of the season.
WR Dwayne Bowe
With all the injuries that took place earlier this season, most fans may agree that Bowe is the best player on this football team.
Last year, Bowe led the league in receiving touchdowns with 15, despite playing for a 31st-ranked passing team.
This year, Bowe has some help at the receiver position, but it is ultimately up to him to help the offense. He currently has more touchdowns than any receiver or rusher on the team.
As an elite player, Bowe has to educate Baldwin on how hold on to the football, which is something he had to learn before the 2010 season.
Bowe will soon be facing some of the best cornerbacks in the league today and must be able to play well against them in order to help the team win games.
OLB Tamba Hali
After being known as one of the most underrated defensive players in the league, Tamba Hali shined in front of the world on Monday Night Football when he sacked Philip Rivers twice and forced one fumble.
Last year, Hali had the most sacks among all AFC defenders with 14.5. But he had a little help from his teammates—Wallace Gilberry, a backup defensive end, had the second most sacks.
This year, the Chiefs only have nine sacks with six of them coming from Hali.
Hali is consistently able to apply pressure and get to the quarterback, but there is no support from Justin Houston, Andy Studebaker or Cameron Sheffield at the opposite outside linebacker position.
Hali is once again the lone leader when it comes to sacks on the team. Until someone else steps up, Hali will be considered the Chief's only reliable pass-rusher.
K Ryan Succop
Ryan Succop started off by making only two of his five attempted field goals. Now those three misses he had are the only ones he has had all season long.
Succop came away with eight successful field goals, giving him 10-of-13 on the year.
In his third year in the league, Succop has kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime once every season. Succop has never kicked a game-winning field goal with only a few ticks left before the end of regulation. However, that could change soon.
Everyone knows the Chiefs have a tough road ahead with some powerhouse teams on their schedule. Chances are, the Chiefs might be involved in a lot of close contests. It will be up to Succop to come away with the game-winning field goal in the end.
Succop has never attempted to kick a field goal when the team is down by one or two points before the end of regulation. Succop must continue to split the uprights—the opportunity to kick some game-winning field goals is coming up.
This season, Succop will prove to us how clutch he can be in critical moments.
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