Well, the Chiefs 2016-17 adventure is over with the 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Am I disappointed? Who wouldn't be. Am I upset. Oh, yes. Am I despondent? No, not really, for the whole thing was fairly predictable.
Way back in September I wrote: “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.” For one and one read one and done.
Reams have been written about the Pitt loss and a lot of it makes sense, about the lack of a run game on our side and the inability to stop theirs; about the way the Chiefs kept them out of the end zone all day for all the good it did them; about the play-calling, the penalties, the dropped passes, the everything.
At the end of the day, Alex just wasn't good enough. Not for this game. Maybe not for any game.
Let's be fair. Back in September I thought that Nick Foles might get a shot at starting if Alex faltered. That didn't happen. I thought that the running backs would be the mainstays of the team. I foresaw Charles coming back and having a big year. He didn't. How much better would Alex be with a real running game? How much was Charles missed swinging out of the backfield catching passes in the flat? Who knows, but you ought to be able to put a number on it and the number would be large.
I wrote then: 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.
I was right again.
On to the real problems. Here's what I had to say about the receivers:
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been inactive for the first two games, Demarcus Robinson, a rookie and Albert Wilson a 200 pound 5' 9” receiver (very out-of-date in the NFL).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.
What about the O-line: I'm not convinced that this is their year. Maybe in 2017-18 but not today.
I just about got this right.
Defence? 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.
Yep, nailed it!
Finally, I turned to the coaches: 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.
They made us winners all right. We won the AFC West. We got a play-off bye. Compared to the other 31 teams we did very well. But in the NFL only one team wins the Super Bowl. I have a notoriously bad record of picking the Super Bowl winners. I seen New England as too good in Foxborough for the Steelers to handle. I can't see the Packers stopping the Falcons. It's always hard to bet against Coach Belichick, but I'm picking Atlanta.
We move on. The draft. WR! WR! O-line O-line Linebackers Linebackers
Next year may be our season. At the end of the day (cliché) it was injuries that hurt us most, but that's true of all the other teams as well!