The only reason I know how to cuss is from watching the Chiefs from an early age. At first it was watching them on television with my grandfather. Boy, could my grandfather let out a line of expletives. He could have been a profanity instructor at Navy Boot Camp. When I got a little older my uncle would drive my cousins and I up to Arrowhead to watch the Chiefs play the Broncos. My lexicon was expanded even more when John Elway ran three yards past the line scrimmage and threw a touchdown pass. The play was not overturned by instant replay. I can still remember 80,000 people continuously yelling “bullshit”. All of this makes me a Chiefs fan weather I like it or not. It’s also an example that you should watch your language while at sporting events. Impressionable youths might think it’s cool.
Because I’m a Chiefs fan and I’m trying to establish a sports blog I should probably spend some time writing about them. If the previous sentence leads you to believe I’m not excited about this, you would be right. The 2010 Chiefs campaign was totally unexpected, and really fun to watch. There was even a playoff appearance that deep down Chiefs fans knew wasn’t going to end well. Because of last season’s success you would think I would be contentedly confident that my football team was headed in the right direction. That Scott Paoli is bringing this team out of the ashes.
I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m not confident that the team will take a step forward this year. Maybe its Paoli’s risky drafting of Jonathon Baldwin with the first pick and subsequent trouble he’s caused in the locker room. Maybe it has to do with Todd Haley as Head Coach. After three seasons I still don’t know what to think of him. In some ways he’s improved. Yet, in some ways he has a lot to learn. I’m not in the locker room so I can’t say for sure if the players are buying in. But there is the proverbial smoke emanating from behind closed doors. Haley often gets into embarrassing fits with opposing head coaches. There is a revolving door at the offensive coordinator position. Bill Belichick is often portrayed as an abrasive personality but all he does is win. There is not a revolving door on his coaching staff. I should remember football coaches aren’t there to be friends and popular. They’re there to win games. But Todd Haley is not proven, and these signs of trouble are not instilling confidence.
That’s just my concerns with the front office. The play on the field this pre-season did nothing to improve my outlook. Regardless of Haley’s decision to treat the pre-season games as scrimmages, the first team defensive line was blown off the ball almost every play I witnessed. Even when facing the opponents 2nd team defense. That’s not game planning. That’s just getting their ass kicked. I think the Chiefs may give up a lot of rushing yards this year. That will make it hard to win football games.
On the offensive side there are some positives. The Chiefs were first in the NFL in rushing last year. Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones should have good years again if the offensive line isn’t offensive. Because the Chiefs have two backs I’m not worried about their health and decline in performance late in the season. While not worrying about the running backs is good the rest of the offense is banged up already. Tony Moeaki has been lost for the year with a knee injury. That is a huge loss for the Chiefs. Moeaki was a primary target for Matt Cassel last year. I alo have concerns about Matt Cassel’s health. The Chiefs are never open with injury information, but most reports say he has some broken ribs. As of this writing Cassel should start Week 1 against Buffalo, but I’m concerned about his durability. If Cassel is healthy I’m not concerned about his performance. If he gets knocked around it will be a worse season than I am anticipating. The receiving core should be much improved with the addition of Jonathan Baldwin and free agent signing Steve Breaston. Of course, if Tyler Palko is the QB it won’t matter.
But my greatest concern is the play calling. Despite the rushing attack and improved receiver corp this offense has not been effective since Charlie Weiss quit caring. Weiss irritated me at times when he was trying to get cute with the play calling. But there is no doubt he made the offense more effective. I do not have the same confidence in the new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley errr excuse me, Bill Muir.
Despite this Chiefs team not displaying a lot positive indicators there are a few reasons to be positive about this season. After all, this is the NFL. There is parity, it is unpredictable. Every year people get paid to make prediction about how the season is going to go, and none of them ever pan out. They always base their prediction on what happened the previous year, and what happened in the off-season. Because of the lock-out I believe this season will be more unpredictable than most.
There wasn’t a lot for Chiefs fans to be excited about coming into last year either. And after the Monday night win against the Chargers everything changed. I didn’t expect a play-off run, but I knew the team would be fun to watch. This front office has improved the team to this point, and this front office has a winning track record before arriving in Kansas City. I put some stock in that. I just hope that stock doesn’t plummet after this season.
However, that’s a lot of general term positives to out weigh the specific concerns I have. Below I have a game by game breakdown of the season. I am picking the Chiefs to go 7-9. I believe this will get them 2nd in the AFC West. San Diego 11-5, Denver 6-10, Oakland 3-13. San Diego consistently never lives up to expectations. We’ll see what happens. That’s why the NFL is the most popular sport in America. But regardless of what I think will happen, I’m still wearing my Chiefs jersey this Friday.
Sept 11th Buffalo Bills – This game looks like a win on paper. But it took the Chiefs overtime to beat the Bills a year ago at Arrowhead. It’s Arrowhead on opening Sunday. I’m going to say Win! But I’m not real confident.
Sept 18th @ Detroit Lions – This years Lions team is different than your usual Lions teams. Mathew Stafford is healthy and has looked good in the pre-season. Ndamukong Suh will create a lot of problems for a Chiefs O-Line that was flat out embarrassing against St Louis. And it’s a road game. Loss.
Sept 25th @ San Diego Chargers – The Chiefs didn’t ever look good in San Diego. I’m not looking for that to change. Loss.
Oct 2nd Minnesota Vikings – I know this game is at Arrowhead. But the Chiefs will have to keep Adrian Peterson in check, and their run defense is a huge concern for me. I hope they keep him under 200 yards. Loss. That’s a 1-3 start.
October 9th @ Indianapolis Colts – A lot of this game goes how Peyton Manning goes. But I’m not going to figure that in. The Chiefs played the Colts close last year when they had Peyton Manning, and strange stuff happens a lot in the NFL. Win!
October 16th: Bye. I’m going camping this weekend. But I would have gone even if there was a game.
October 23rd @ Oakland Raiders – The second division game. Going to the Black Hole is always tough and this game could go either way. If the Chiefs beat Indy at Indy I can’t expect their luck to hold out in Oakland. Loss.
October 31st San Diego Chargers – Monday Night Football returns to Arrowhead. San Diego has the better talent, but like last years MNF Opener, the weather and the crowd will be the difference. Win!
November 6th Miami Dolphins – I’m not expecting much out of the Dolphins this year. I’m also expecting a Chiefs Win! Chiefs are halfway home at 4-4.
November 13th Denver Broncos – Denver may improve during the first half of the season but they’re not winning at Arrowhead. Win!
November 21st @ New England Patriots – Another Monday Night Football appearance for the Chiefs. The Chiefs front office wants to be like the Patriots, but they’re still not there. Loss.
November 27th Pittsburgh Steelers – The Chiefs do well against the Steelers in Arrowhead, but I’m not expecting any miracles. Loss.
December 4th @ Chicago Bears – I’m not too thrilled about this game. Loss.
December 11th @ New York Jets – I’ve never seen the Chiefs play well in New York. I’m not expecting them to change that here. Loss.
December 18th Green Bay Packers – A home game against the defending World Champs. If things go like I’ve picked, the Chiefs will be on a 4 game losing streak. I’m going to pick the Chiefs here for no other reason than it’s a home game and strange stuff happens in the NFL. Win!
December 24th Oakland Raiders – Oakland will be terrible. It’s a home game. Win!
Janurary 1st @ Denver Broncos – Through out the years. Regardless of what kind of season either team is having these teams split the series. That’s why I’m going with the Broncos. Loss.