By Shawn Buck (@buck4peace)
Andy Reid has been a good coach in the NFL. While coaching the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2012, he won 120 games. He won six division titles and went to the NFC Championship game five times. After being let go by the eagles at the end of the 2012 season, he was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs. His winning has continued as he has made the playoffs two out of three years with them. Can he finally get over the hump and hoist the Lombardi trophy? This year, the Chiefs have as good a chance as anyone to do it.
Last season, the Chiefs started the season 1-5 before winning 10 straight to earn a wild card spot in the playoffs. They also beat the Houston Texans handily in the first round before losing to the New England Patriots 27-20, the following week. Quarterback Alex Smith is what many call a “game manager”. He won’t make a lot of mistakes but he also will not take a lot of chances and throw many long passes down the field. In 2014, he didn’t throw one touchdown pass to a wide receiver. The addition of Jeremy Maclin last season helped that as he finished with 8 touchdowns and 1088 yards receiving. Smith may not be a big game changer a la Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady but he fits in with what Coach Reid wants to do. Smith is also a good scrambler as he finished with 498 yards rushing. Teams can win with a quarterback like Smith but the rest of the team components have to be above average.
The Chiefs have a very good running game. That is if star running back Jamaal Charles can come back from the knee injury he suffered in the fifth game last season, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. The running game will be the strong point of the offense. Even after Charles went down last year, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware held their own as the Chiefs went on their winning streak. This gives them depth at the running back position.
Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce is back. He should have another good year. Smith throws to his tight ends consistently. Last season Kelce finished with 72 receptions and 875 yards to establish himself as one the best tight end in the NFL. It shouldn’t be any different this season. He may be even better.
The Chiefs defense is a good one. This season a lot depends on the health of Justin Houston. He is arguably the Chiefs best player. He is a dominant pass rusher that opposing offenses can’t ignore. Unfortunately he had ACL surgery in February and there are questions of when he’ll be back, and if he does come back can he be the same player of last year.
The Chiefs have a great opportunity to win their division this season. Quarterback concerns in Denver and a young team in Oakland, the AFC West can be theirs for the taking. That is if they can get some home playoff games or even home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs Chiefs have a legitimate chance at going to the Super Bowl. Can they do it?
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