I’ve taken some pretty good verbal beatdowns over the past three or so years from some close friends as well as Twitter followers and readers in regard to my belief in the potential of the Kansas City Chiefs.
I’m starting to feel vindicated.
I’ve maintained all along that if the Chiefs could get some stability at head coach and quarterback, there is elite talent on the roster that you could see meshing and developing into a contender. It looks like that may well be the case here in 2013. Here are a few reasons why I think so.
They finally have the right guy at head coach – In terms of offseason acquisitions of head coaches, you can’t do much better than landing Andy Reid, who is 22nd all-time in NFL wins as a head coach. His 132-91-1 record puts him at No. 39 in terms of winning percentage historically. In his 14 years as the head coach in Philadelphia, Reid’s win total hit double digits eight times. He finished .500 or better in 11 of those seasons, piling up 10 playoffs wins, eight division titles and a conference championship along the way. If it’s a winning team you want, there aren’t a lot of better choices to guide your team in that direction than Andy Reid. He’s well on his way to winning Coach of the Year and for good reason.
Alex Smith is the perfect fit for the offense – The idea is simple: get the ball to the playmakers and limit mistakes. Kansas City has playmakers. Alex Smith doesn’t make many mistakes. He only has four touchdown passes on the year, but he also has not committed a single turnover. Smith is completing 61 percent of his passes through the first three games – better than Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Tom Brady. Those guys own eight Super Bowl rings collectively.
We shouldn’t be shocked by Smith’s efficiency. Before the game against St. Louis where he was injured in 2012, Smith had completed 70 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He led the 49ers to a 6-2 record up to that point. Not counting the tie against the Rams, Colin Kaepernick finished the season with a 5-2 record, completing 62 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Apparently that was enough for the 49ers to consider Smith disposable. As of right now, the people of Kansas City couldn’t be more appreciative.
Jamaal Charles is getting it done as always – When healthy, there may not be a more consistent running back in the league than Jamaal Charles. He’s proving just that again in 2013. Through three games, Charles is averaging 125 total yards and one touchdown per outing. Quick math on those stats: he’s on pace for 2000 total yards and 16 touchdowns. I’ll take it and so will the Chiefs.
The Defense is for real – There is All-Pro talent at every level on this Chief’s D. Kansas City starts five former first-round draft picks and two second rounders. None of those players is named Justin Houston, currently the NFL’s sack leader. He was a third round pick. This talent is being guided and directed by Bob Sutton. Sutton knows a thing or two about coaching and mentoring high-quality people and instilling discipline. He cut his teeth as a coach and defensive coordinator at Army from 1983 through 1999, winning the Bobby Dodd Award in 1996 as College Football’s Coach of the Year. Sutton’s scheme is all about discipline, attacking but staying aware and limiting the big play. The win over the Eagles this past Thursday was a testament to what Sutton teaches, as his team stifled a Philadelphia offense that was averaging over 31 points a game. The Chiefs nearly cut that total in half.
The schedule is shaping up nicely – The record of Kansas City’s next six opponents is currently 7-10. Only one of those teams, only one (Houston) qualified for the playoffs last season. It is a very real possibility that the Chiefs could head into Denver in Week 11 fresh off a bye week with a 9-0 record; setting up what could at that point be the game of the season.
We all understand that the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint, but it’s hard for anyone to not be excited and intrigued at how well the Kansas City Chiefs have exploded out of the gates. We’ll keep a close eye on whether or not they can sustain this early success.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
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