Yahoo! Sports picks Chiefs as one of 5 possible cinderella Super Bowl contenders
Texans, Redskins poised to be next Cards - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
5. The Kansas City Chiefs
Offense: It sounds insane to even have the Chiefs on this list, considering the franchise only won two games last season. But the utter disrepair that occurred under former coach Herm Edwards had a lot to do with two things: the quarterback and the discipline. And general manager Scott Pioli took major swings at both of those problems by replacing Edwards with Todd Haley, an offensive mind who is a strict disciplinarian, and trading for quarterback Matt Cassel, who has the potential to immediately solidify this unit. Despite the lack of success, it is not an offense that lacks talent. Running back Larry Johnson, when properly motivated, is still a top-10 talent at his position. The offensive line already has its young franchise left tackle, Branden Albert, in place. And the skill positions are good enough to offer a serviceable passing game with the likes of tight end Tony Gonzalez and wideouts Dwayne Bowe and Mark Bradley. In short, it’s a unit that isn’t completely starting from scratch. It should be good enough to be middle of the pack as it is, and could be exponentially better if Johnson remains on the roster and can be brought around by the motivation tactics of Haley and assistant coach Maurice Carthon.
Defense: There still isn’t an official defensive coordinator, but there continues to be speculation in personnel circles that former Browns coach Romeo Crennel could eventually get the nod. If that doesn’t happen, it could go to Clancy Pendergast, who is on staff but hasn’t been given an official title yet. Without Jared Allen wreaking havoc on the other side, defensive end Tamba Hali was an utter disaster last season. The new coaching staff has to determine if that was an aberration and whether the former first-round pick can be salvaged by putting better pieces around him. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey had a lukewarm first year, but like most dominant interior linemen he should see dramatic improvement from this point forward. Linebacker Derrick Johnson should be very solid if he stays in the middle, particularly with Dorsey improving in front of him. The addition of linebacker Mike Vrabel will provide some desperately needed leadership amongst the front seven. Without Allen’s emotion, it was simply a flat group last season. Cornerback Brandon Flowers was a nice young addition who should fit well with the new regime.
Work to be done: Where to start? There is a ton of shuffling yet to be completed. Many of the coaches on staff still don’t have a title, and Haley is believed to have just recently finished his film evaluation of the current roster. That means virtually everything is still in flux, including the team’s base defensive alignment. Indeed, there are more questions than answers right now. But the top three to be figured are: (1) Find a defensive coordinator with whom both Haley and Pioli are comfortable, and take a hard step forward with the scheme. (2) Settle on the third overall draft pick, which could be traded or used on Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, who would go a long way toward helping shore up the team’s front seven. (3) Make a decision with Larry Johnson, whose status is still up in the air.
Bottom line: It would be staggering to see this team turn it all around in one season, and mind-blowing for a Super Bowl run to occur. But the team does have a nice talent base to work with, and Pioli has shown the ability to go on amazing hot streaks where talent acquisition is concerned. If Cassel solves a lot of the offensive problems … and Larry Johnson gets his head screwed on straight … and Haley and Pioli get this team disciplined quickly … who knows what can happen. Especially considering the ties of Haley and Pioli to the school of Bill Parcells, whose methods worked wonders in only one season in Miami.
What do you guys think? Can the Chiefs pull off one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history? It might not be a bad idea to put money on it considering the 100-1 odds.