Jun 28, 2010
All last offseason and summer, I asked anyone who had a chance to answer intelligently the following question: what will be the Chiefs’ offensive identity in 2009?
No one had a good answer, and as we know the team never did have an offensive identity. It was really bad for most of the season, as QB Matt Cassel proved to have serious limitations, and head coach Todd Haley failed to effectively make the jump to head coach.
It’s easy to second-guess their judgment now, but it was ultimately a mistake to keep Jamaal Charles under wraps for about half the season. Really, had Larry Johnson not made his idiotic comments midseason, we still might not know what Charles can do in a featured role. Haley also had his run-ins with WR Dwayne Bowe, which didn’t help the offense. The OL was also brutal and WRs Bobby Engram and Bobby Wade were busts.
Fast forward to this year and things are really looking up in KC. While this offense is certainly a work in progress and will probably need another year to develop, and while Cassel is still a guy with some issues, I see a ton of reasons to be optimistic about the KC offense in 2010.
Let’s cover them here.
- The addition of veteran RB Thomas Jones should give them what Larry Johnson didn’t last year, which is a sustaining rushing attack that can help keep their shaky defense off the field and take pressure of Cassel. When you can run it effectively, it opens up a world of possibilities in the passing game. Jones won’t be great behind an inferior line, but he’ll be much better than that dog Johnson was.
- A full offseason working Charles into their offense, and the knowledge that he’s really talented and needs to be on the field.
- The addition of new OC Charlie Weiss, who while a disappointment at Notre Dame, knows a thing or two about designing and implementing an effective offensive attack in the NFL.
- An offensive line that has improved on paper. They should be at least a little better.
- A better offseason for Dwayne Bowe, who does have the talent to be a major difference-maker. He may not be a typical NFL #1 WR in terms of teams needing to game plan for him, but he can be a #1 in the way that Marques Colston is in New Orleans. There was that odd Facebook thing in the news earlier this year, but from all reports Bowe’s turned a corner this year, and if he can stay out of Haley’s doghouse he has an excellent chance to go down as a tremendous value in 2010.
- A full season of WR Chris Chambers, who is a solid #2 and a guy who can make big plays.
- The addition of RB/WR Dexter McCluster. We absolutely LOVE McCluster, and while it was a bit of a buzz kill seeing him go to KC, he’s here, and he has a lot to offer. If they use him right and he’s able to handle a variety of responsibilities, he’s going to make a lot of defenses look silly. We’ve compared Charles to Chris Johnson in the past, and I think McCluster’s speed/quickness and dynamic ability to seemingly glide through defenders compares to Johnson as well. I just hope Weiss and Haley do a good job using him.
- Although severely underreported, the addition of veteran WR Jerheme Urban gives them more options, specifically from the slot inside. Urban’s hands are a little shaky, but he’s a sizable guy who could potentially flourish in a spread attack. He was very decent at times in Arizona (where he played for Haley) and with QB Kurt Warner.
- The addition of rookie TE Tony Moeaki could finally give the team a viable option at the position. It does not appear Brad Cottam has what it takes, while Moeaki has been impressive. The best news here is Moeaki doesn’t have to do much at all to improve the team’s TE production.
- A good schedule. Here’s where playing in a shaky division with a last-place schedule comes in handy. There is not one really tough matchup on the schedule on paper right now and a good number of favorable ones. Oh, and since they’re playing the worst division in the NFC this year (West), things are really looking up for this team schedule-wise.
- A full season and a second offseason in the books for Cassel, which can only help.
So as you can see, there are a lot of thing to be optimistic about in Kansas City. The team has to understand Casell’s limitations, so you’d think they’re catering their offense around his strengths. That should entail a lot of shotgun and spread formations, which is an environment he excelled in when he played all those games for the Patriots in 2008. The OL is probably the key to it all, since it looks like they have enough receivers to spread defenses out and throw the ball all over the field, plus they should implement some serious trickery with guys like Charles and McCluster on the roster. If that line is just decent, this is a fantasy-friendly offense for sure. To me, this will be one of the more intriguing offenses to watch in 2010.