Chop till you Drop!
I have been tardy. I usually do my Chiefs analysis and forecast for the season before the season starts. I've been busy.
Perhaps it is no bad thing. Two games into the season gives me an opportunity for the scales to fall from the eyes and a more realistic mood to prevail. Two games in and the tribe are 1-1. They beat San Diego (a division rival) and lost to the Texans. The first game saw a great comeback and the second almost no offence at all in a 19-12 defeat.
As usual, the rock is on Alex Smith's shoulder. He was brilliant in Week One and very ordinary in Week Two. Consequence? We are one and one.
What are the Chiefs up to on offence this season. They brought in Nick Foles to back up Smith. Chase Daniel was the back up but went in free agency. Foles is a proven NFL QB with the Eagles. Hit me with a brick, but I can see a scenario where Alex Smith doesn't perform and Foles is at the helm. An NFL back up QB is always just one snap away from starting no matter what the coaches say to the media. Forget what Andy Reid says if he thinks Smith is not doing it he will change to Foles. They have kept Tyler Bray as third QB. Someday my dream will come? He has the size, the arm and is getting the experience. He may well be the future.
Running backs should be the strength of the team. Anthony Sherman is a mainstay at fullback. Jamaal Charles is still a class act. Spencer Ware is getting a lot of snaps. Chacandrick West is a capable back-up. Knile Davis has slipped down the pecking order, but still has a role in kick returns. The problem is Charles has yet to play. Ware and West have shared the work and whilst both are capable, Charles has really been missed. If the running-back-offence starts to click when he does then fine. If not – big trouble.
The wide receiver corps has been revamped. (About time too!) Jeremy Macklin leads. Chris Conley is now a second year receiver. Tyrek Hill is listed but is really a kick returner. The rest? De'Anthony Thomas who has mysteriously been inactive for the first two games, Demarcus Robinson, a rookie and Albert Wilson a 200 pound 5' 9” receiver (very out-of-date in the NFL). You can still make a case that this group is not going to scare anyone and not going to help Smith very much in his quest to become an elite QB.
How about the O-line. Lots of folks are very big on this group. I wish I could join them.
The eight listed linemen have a grand total of 17 years of NFL experience. That's not a lot. Eric Fisher is now a very solid tackle. He is moving forward from the burden of being a Number 1 pick in the draft. The Chiefs apparently love Mitchell Schwartz who was a free agent signing. The Canuck Duvernay-Tardiff is flavour of the month. Unfortunately, in game two Parker (rookie starter) and Tardiff were injured and inactive. The Texans pass rush had a field day. When they are all healthy we'll see. I'm not convinced that this is their year. Maybe in 2017-18 but not today.
Turning to the defence which, as everyone with a brain cell knows, is what wins titles and Super Bowls. What was a strength is now just about average. Justin Houston is injured and will not return for some time. Tamba Hali is just about past his sell by date. The corners look just about Ok with Marcus Peters a stand-out. The D-line should be good but has struggled to create any pass rush. On a one to ten grading system they get about a 5.5. This will not be good enough for the play-offs and may not even be good enough to get them there in the first place.
Special teams are very good. Santos kicks as good as most. Tyrek Hill may get you some touchdowns on punts and kick-offs.
The coaching is what it is. There is no pressure real on Andy Reid. They are stable. They have good, experienced and capable coaches on the staff. They need to earn their money now. Anyone can coach an exceptionally good team. Can they make winners out of some mostly average talent? We'll see.