Two years ago the Kansas City Chiefs were in the playoffs. I thought heading into the 2012 season, the Chiefs had a chance to rebound from a down 2011 season and chase the playoffs again. I have rarely been more wrong.
Last season was a disaster in Kansas City and it took down yet another coach. Andy Reid was brought in from Philadelphia as Romeo Crennel’s successor and the Chiefs have the top pick in the draft. Can a potentially exciting offseason rekindle the momentum this team had after the 2010 season?
Zoneblitz: This team had six Pro Bowlers but went 2-14. What went wrong in 2012?
Allen: In the NFL, the line between being a very good team and a very bad team is often very thin. The Chiefs, I think, were just snake bit this season. I think that Romeo Crennel is just a bad coach. That, combined with a lack of talent at the QB position, just killed the Chiefs.
The team played with a lack of focus all season and they were not mentally tough. When one thing would go wrong, they’d basically fall apart. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my 20 years as an NFL fan.
One thing for people to remember is that the Chiefs are a very young team in a lot of areas. There is some talent here and I think with some decent coaching and QB play, they can turn things around quickly.
Remember, the 49ers weren’t so good back in 2010.
Zoneblitz: Two years ago this was a playoff team. Now, after two disappointing seasons, it’s drafting first overall. Just where are the Chiefs at as a team right now?
Allen: I still think the Chiefs are a team on the rise. I think they overachieved slightly in 2010. In 2011, I think their 7-9 finish was about right. They will be a middle of the road team until the get a QB.
Zoneblitz: Was Romeo Crennel given enough time to succeed as coach?
Allen: That is a loaded question. One season is never enough time for any coach but the Chiefs just performed too poorly to keep Crennel. It would have been irresponsible. The team has too much young talent to be finishing with the worst record in the league.
And Crennel was making too much money to allow that to happen.
Zoneblitz: Do you like the hiring of Andy Reid and John Dorsey as coach and general manager?
Allen: I do. Both mean have a proven track record of success. I also like that they came in and decided to keep running the 3-4 defense despite Reid having run the 4-3 in Philly. This team is set up to be a 3-4 team and I think the decision not to tear down the team and force their own system in is encouraging. It shows they have the ability to adapt to the talents of their players and I think that serves NFL teams well.
Zoneblitz: Reid has at times been guilty of forgetting about the run and focusing on the pass. What does Reid’s hiring mean for Jamaal Charles’ role on offense?
Allen: I think it is great for Jamaal. Reid’s west coach system will probably mean more catches for Charles in space and that is where he is the most dangerous. If he stays healthy, I think Jamaal Charles could have his best season ever net year. Reid will get him in the end zone.
Zoneblitz: What is Matt Cassel’s future with the team?
Allen: He doesn’t have one. I expect he’ll be cut soon. He’ll find traction elsewhere but the Chiefs aren’t going to pay him what he is owed to be backup.
Zoneblitz: Will the team attempt to retain Dwayne Bowe? And who else on the roster at tight end and wide receiver is ready to step up whether Bowe stays or goes?
Allen: It is hard to say. Bowe doesn’t fit the mold of the typical Andy Reid receiver. That said, if the Chiefs decide to go young at quarterback, it would be wise for them to have a veteran security blanket in Bowe. Kansas City can franchise Bowe one more time so that could be a way to go if they aren’t sure if they want to pay him top dollar. But there are other free agents the team may want to keep so Bowe could be the odd man out.
The Chiefs drafted Jonathan Baldwin out of Pitt a couple of years ago and after having a tremendous camp last year, he was a huge disappointment in 2012. He may be a late bloomer and some of his problems may have to do with the poor QB play but he has to step up and step up soon.
At tight end, Tony Moeaki is also very talented. He got off to a slow start in 2012 coming off ACL surgery but he came on at the end of the year. I look for Reid to get him heavily involved in the offense.
Zoneblitz: Five of the Pro Bowlers were on defense. What are the strengths on that side of the ball and what is lacking?
Allen: The linebackers are a big strength. Three of the four of them were in the Pro Bowler. Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson all made it to Hawaii. If the team can add one more solid inside linebacker they could have one of the strongest units in the NFL.
The defensive line, though loaded with high draft picks, is average at best. The secondary has some nice pieces in Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry but lacks depth.
With the right defensive coordinator and scheme, I think this unit could be very strong in 2013.
Zoneblitz: What would you like to see the Chiefs do in the draft and free agency?
Allen: In free agency I want to see them retain their own players in WR Dwayne Bowe, LT Branden Albert and P Dustin Colquitt. I would like to see them bring in two veteran QBs and preferably a veteran WR and secondary depth.
In the draft, I want them to suck it up and draft Geno Smith #1 overall. He is the best quarterback in the draft and the Chiefs are desperate for a future at the position. I don’t care if they start him right away but they need to select him. If they try to get cute and pick up someone in the second round, it could blow up in their face. I’d rather have them whiff on Geno than whiff on a worse quarterback later.