Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chiefs at the Crossroads

Chiefs 2014-5 Review

Well the dust has just about settled on the 2014 NFL season. There is the small item of the Super Bowl to come this Sunday, but for most of us it's time to evaluate last season and look forward to a draft day and a long hot summer before we get back to the action in September.

BTW, do you know which team owns victories against the Super Bowl contenders this season? Yep – it's the Chiefs. The destroyed New England on 29 September 41 – 14 (I was at Arrowhead) and they beat Seattle 24 – 20 in November. Did they peak too soon? Certainly looks like it.

Summing up the season: if the Chiefs had not imploded against the Oakland Raiders and failed to show up against the Tennessee Titans in the opener; they would have waltzed into the play-offs and might still be playing. But, as they say, that's football.

So, how did it all come about? What lessons are to be learned? Where do we go from here?

Number one – the Chiefs had no production from the wide receivers. This has already been well-documented. This is probably the reason they didn't make the play-offs, so we can move on to other more interesting topics.

Lessons to be learned – it's becoming a game of inches – literally. More and more there are imponderables that affect the result of games. The officials miss a call – the wide receiver drops a sitter – the cornerback slips at an inopportune moment – the list is getting longer every season. Hence we have the NFL's stated goal becoming more and more to the fore. Any given Sunday. It's a fine line between winning and losing and most teams can make a good case for “we wuz robbed”!

Where do we go from here? Firstly, I found on Arrowhead Pride a chart grading the Chiefs players for this season. Interesting reading.

According to the grading system used the Tribe had only three Elite players: Justin Houston, Sean Smith and Anthony Sherman. Hard to argue with these but when your blocking fullback is one of your elites – it says a lot (BTW the NFL average is 2).

In the Good category we have only two – Travis Kelce and Rodney Hudson. Two offensive players I will grant you. (Can't see how Kelce gets in - the man drops too many easy catches!) The NFL Average is 4.3.

We have 18 Average players. Tamba Hali, Jamal Charles and Alex Smith are in this category. Surprises might include Dontari Poe (too low) and Zac Fulton (too high). The NFL average is 21.

In the Bad category we find 8 Chiefs. Eric Fisher is in. So is Knile Davis. The NFL average is 5.8.

So anything interesting here? Well for starters comparing your team to the NFL average is not very useful. I'd like to see how we stack up against the play-off teams. That's a better area with which to make a meaningful comparison.

In any event, 2014 was a rebuilding year. We won more games that I predicted at the start. We had some excellent wins and some surprising losses.

What does 2015 hold in store?

As the song says, the only way is up!

The Chiefs are two or three players away from a guaranteed play-off appearance next season. And, once you make the play-offs anything is possible!

The draft will have to improve (where is Dee Ford – top pick in 2014?)

With improvements on the offensive line and also at wide-out we could easily improve on the season's record. (Added bonus – Peyton Manning will almost certainly retire!)

2015 should bring better times.