A buddy of mine asked me the other day what I thought the Chiefs’ record would be this year.
My answer: Hell if I know.
I truly mean that – I have no clue what this year will bring for the Kansas City good guys. We may go 10-6. We may go 3-13. We may see the first ever dual quadruple cardiac sideline episode between Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel this season. Nothing is off the table right now.
So, with that in mind, let’s set some reasonable expecations for this year. Keep in mind, the definition of “reasonable” is coming from someone who thinks Derrick Thomas should be on the $1 bill.
Expectation #1 – Matt Cassel breaks the 30 TD plateau.
This isn’t too much of a reach, honestly. Consider the following:
Cassel in his second year in KC + Charlie Weis calling the plays + Jamaal Charles in the backfield + some upgrades (not that this is saying much) at the key offensive positions = increased success.
I think the key is Charles. He immediately loosens up the offense by keeping the opposing linebackers and safeties at home, if not a step back to keep an eye on him. That should give Cassel and extra second or so to make his reads and get rid of the ball. Way too often last year, Cassel held the ball…and held the ball…and held the ball…and then the offensive linemen were picking pieces of him off the ground. Having the corpse of Larry Johnson in the backfield didn’t help, either. Remember in the original Tecmo Bowl game, when you would call your opponent’s play on defense – and then as soon as the ball was snapped, it looked like a jailbreak scene? That was what happened every time “No yards and a cloud of pot” Larry Johnson took a handoff last year. Now that Charles is back there – heck, now that someone with some heart and some balls is back there – that should only provide support for Cassel, and let him be the quarterback we traded for.
Expectation #2 – Eric Berry wins “Defensive Rookie of the Year”
No pressure, kid. Just upgrade one of the worst defenses in the NFL, play on a team who traded their pass rush to Minnesota and forces their DB’s to cover for 8-10 seconds every pass play, and cover up the mistakes of some of the worst run stoppers in the league. Other than that, your job should be easy.
Berry’s a stud – and even if the Ed Reed/Troy Polamalu comparisons are only 75% right, then we have one of the top playmakers in the league. Berry should provide a couple of “Holy S#@#!” plays this year – and I will even predict a game-winning pick-six this year.
Expectation #3 – The Chiefs make the playoffs
Yeah, I said it.
Consider the following:
Josh McDaniels has done everything but give John Elway a Cleveland Steamer the past two years – and trading away your top two offensive weapons (regardless of the size of pain they are in your team’s collective ass) has not done much to endear him to Denver or his team. Sure, they started great – and then, reality set in. I think Denver COULD be good – but not this year.
San Diego is still the class of this division – so even in a best case scenario, the Chiefs are playing for a wild card. However, injuries, some bad luck…maybe….
And then…Oakland. I will resist the urge to bag on Oakland right now, as they made some solid moves this offseason, which may or may not be the result of Al Davis being stuffed in a trunk by Tom Cable. However, when you just outright released your former #1 overall pick – you still have a lot of ground to make up. I don’t consider them a threat this year.
So – there’s the big three in terms of what I expect. Better quarterback play, an improved defense, and trip to the playoffs. Not too much to ask for, right?
(Right? Guys? Anyone?)