|02-14-2013, 08:09 AM|
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SI Kansas City Chiefs 2013 Offseason Preview
2012 Record: 2-14
Key Pending Free Agents: Branden Albert, OT; Dwayne Bowe, WR; Dustin Colquitt, P; Glenn Dorsey, DE; Peyton Hillis, RB; Brady Quinn, QB.
List of Draft Picks (pending compensatory picks): Round 1 (1st overall), 2 (34), 3 (63), 4 (96), 5 (127), 6 (160), 7 (191).
Available Cap Space: $14.0 million
GM/Coaching moves made: Hired general manager John Dorsey, head coach Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.
2012 Season Recap
The returns of running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki, each of whom missed all or most of the 2011 season because of ACL injuries, had Chiefs fans feeling hopeful going into 2012. Some pundits even predicted Kansas City would win the AFC West, just like it did in 2010.
The optimism vanished quickly, however, as the Chiefs lost 11 of their first 12 games. Their only victory during that stretch came in overtime in New Orleans. In fact, Kansas City never led in regulation until Charles' 12-yard touchdown run gave it a 7-0 lead over the Steelers in Week 10, a game the Chiefs would lose, 16-13.
The Chiefs' only other victory came a little more than 24 hours after the most tragic day in franchise history. On Saturday, Dec. 1, linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend before driving to the Chiefs' headquarters, where he thanked GM Scott ***** and coach Romeo Crennel for what they did for him before shockingly turning a gun on himself and committing suicide. Under the leadership and guidance of Crennel, a distraught Chiefs team managed to regroup and beat Carolina the next day at home.
Although five players were voted to the Pro Bowl -- Charles, Berry, linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, and punter Dustin Colquitt -- too many things went wrong for a team that finished last in the AFC West for the fourth time in five years. Neither Matt Cassel nor Brady Quinn provided much production. Before suffering a concussion in a Week 5 game against Baltimore, Cassel threw nine interceptions; he finished the season with 12 picks and only six touchdowns. Although Quinn quarterbacked the Chiefs to their win over Carolina, he was even less productive, with two touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
The team's dismal performance cost general manager Scott ***** and Crennel their jobs after the season.
Stat To Feel Good About
149.7. Average rushing yards per game by the Chiefs, who finished first in the AFC and fifth overall behind Washington, Minnesota, Seattle and San Francisco.
Must Fix It
Injuries are a concern for safety Kendrick Lewis, who missed the first five games of the 2012 season with a shoulder injury (he played in only nine games overall) and has been on the injury list all too often in his three seasons. Lewis needs to take a refresher course in fundamentals and refine his tackling technique. He isn't considered to be a hard hitter, and he often plays too conservatively. But as he frequently is the last line of defense, he needs to reduce his number of whiffs.
3.6. Number of tackling attempts by Kendrick Lewis for every tackle he makes, the worst ratio for any safety.
If it Ain't Broke ...
If there were any doubts he could return to form after suffering a serious, season-ending knee injury in the second game of the 2011 season, running back Jamaal Charles erased all concerns last season. Displaying his customary speedy, elusive style, Charles rushed 285 times for 1,509 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. Only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Washington rookie Alfred Morris and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch rushed for more yards. Charles set a franchise record with 233 rushing yards in an overtime win at New Orleans and also had a 226-yard game against Indianapolis en route to his second Pro Bowl selection.
More On The To-Do List
1. Find a new starting quarterback. Cassel was supposed to be the Tom Brady of the Midwest when *****, the former Patriots personnel guru, acquired Cassel from his old team in a trade during the spring of 2009. Except for the 2010 season, when he passed for 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, Cassel largely has been a disappointment. So has Quinn, who has played for three teams in five seasons and looks like he'll never be better than a journeyman.
2. Acquire another cornerback to pair with Brandon Flowers. Although Javier Arenas and Jalil Brown each played well at times last season, the Chiefs need a second high-quality corner who can consistently defend the pass. They might be better off finding a veteran in free agency instead of trying to fill this need in the draft.
3. Bring in some more playmakers at receiver. Even if the Chiefs re-sign wideout Dwayne Bowe, who led the team with 59 catches for 801 yards and three touchdowns, they need to get some complementary talent. Whoever winds up starting at quarterback will need more options.
What We'll Be Saying In July
Once Green Bay's director of football operations, Dorsey worked for many years under Packers general manager Ted Phillips, who believes the way to build a team is through the draft, not free agency. Dorsey likely will follow the same principal, but don't expect him to find a franchise quarterback in the 2013 draft. There may not be a quarterback with a first-round grade, so the Chiefs might consider trading out of the top spot and acquiring more picks.
BURKE: WHAT THE CHIEFS MIGHT DO WITH THE TOP PICK
If Dorsey and Reid decide they can live with Cassel, then they might keep the No. 1 pick overall and address other needs in the draft. If they don't believe Cassel is the answer, they may have to pursue a veteran. The free-agent quarterbacks are a weak group once you get past Joe Flacco, who is almost certain to be back with the Ravens one way or another, but perhaps Kansas City could make a play for Alex Smith, who is unlikely to return to the 49ers.
The Broncos will be favored to repeat in what looks to be a week AFC West. It's going to take Dorsey and Reid a couple of years to make Kansas City contenders again, meaning Chiefs fans and owner Clark Hunt will have to be patient.
Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl...#ixzz2Kt1TArhH
Examining Chiefs’ draft options at No. 1
By this time last offseason, the NFL world more or less knew that the Indianapolis Colts would select Andrew Luck No. 1 overall at the draft. Fast-forward to February 2013 and the situation could not be more different.
The Kansas City Chiefs, owners of a 2-14 record in 2012 and a new head coach in Andy Reid, are on the clock. But there does not appear to be a Luck or Robert Griffin III in the current draft class, ready to step in and fill the Chiefs’ void at quarterback. So, what’s a rebuilding team to do?
The uncertainty surrounding the Chiefs’ top pick should add even more intrigue during the run-up to the draft. And with the scouting combine just about a week away, we take a look at a few of Kansas City’s potential options at No. 1 …
Plan No. 1: Draft a quarterback.
The obvious choice, both because of what Kansas City’s depth chart looks like and what we’ve come to expect at the top of the draft. Is there a plug-and-play guy like Luck, Griffin or even Russell Wilson available, though?
The top QB prospects, should the Chiefs go this route: Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon, Ryan Nassib and Tyler Wilson. All had moments during their collegiate careers that made them look like superstars; all bring plenty of concerns to the table.
One key element in this whole discussion, for now: Matt Cassel remains under contract in K.C., with $7.5 million due to come his way for 2013. It is not a given that the Chiefs cut him loose — even if they take a quarterback at No. 1; having Cassel and that incoming rookie compete could be Reid’s plan.
2. Let Branden Albert walk, take Luke Joeckel (or Eric Fisher).
Why would the Chiefs have to sacrifice Albert to draft an offensive tackle? Well, because if Albert, a pending unrestricted free agent, re-signs to be the team’s left tackle, there would be no place to play Texas A&M’s Joeckel or Central Michigan’s Fisher.
Kansas City has the luxury of Eric Winston at right tackle. Albert, meanwhile, has called the notion of him moving to guard to accommodate a No. 1 pick, “ludicrous” — and he has a point, given how well he has played at left tackle. Albert probably will cost the Chiefs somewhere in the ballpark of $10 million per year to keep around. They may opt to instead save a little money and grab a replacement left tackle to start the draft.
3. Focus on defense.
The Chiefs’ defense should have been more competitive in 2012, given the talent on the roster. There are not a ton of glaring weaknesses there. One that may arise, though, is at defensive end, where Glenn Dorsey is set to be a free agent and Tyson Jackson could receive his walking papers. Jackson started 15 games for the Chiefs last year, while Dorsey lined up as a first-teamer in four before landing on injured reserve. Should the Chiefs find themselves shorthanded at defensive end in their 3-4 defense, there are a couple of potentially intriguing prospects on the board.
The first is Utah’s Star Lotulelei, who may project better as a defensive tackle but has the versatility to slide to an end spot in the 3-4. Another player the Chiefs might consider in this scenario is Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson. He provides a mix of power and speed that could make him a force along the defensive line. Kansas City also might contemplate some help in the secondary, either at corner (Dee Milliner is widely believed to be the top prospect there) or at safety (Kenny Vacarro leads that list).
No defender really jumps off the page as a potential No. 1 pick, but there would be a handful of guys from which to select.
4. Trade down.
This is easier said than done.
With no sure-fire No. 1 out there, the Chiefs’ best bet for finding a trade partner might come if Albert re-signs. In that case, Kansas City could cross its fingers that Joeckel becomes a highly-desired commodity, thereby making the No. 1 spot coveted. It’s hard to imagine any team taking the leap up for a quarterback (or anyone at the other offensive skill positions). But there might be additional markets at defensive tackle or with the pass-rushing DE/OLB players, although the depth this draft presents at those spots might convince teams to stay put.
5. Roll the dice.
There are a number of possible outcomes that fit under this subheading, including …
• Using the No. 1 pick on Chance Warmack — no guard has been taken No. 1 since the AFL-NFL merger.
• Re-signing Albert and drafting Joeckel anyway, then figuring out where to play everyone in training camp.
• Nabbing one of the draft’s very talented 3-4 rush linebackers, despite the presences of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston
• Or really getting kooky and taking a wide receiver to replace Dwayne Bowe.
The Warmack wild card presents the most sensible option, even if it would make for a jaw-dropping decision. The Chiefs will need to address their receiver spot, but the No. 1 pick is not the place to do it — not this year, at least.
The good news for the Chiefs is that they have a cornucopia of possibilities for that No. 1 spot. The bad news, however, is that none of those options appears to be an obvious solution at this point.