Saturday, August 22, 2009

2009 NFL PREVIEW- Kansas City Chiefs


2008 RECORD: 2-14
(4th in AFC West)

HEAD COACH: Todd Haley

Key Additions: QB Matt Cassel (trade/Patriots) LB Matt Vrabel (trade/Patriots) LB Corey Mays (FA/Bengals) WR Terrance Copper (FA/Ravens) LB Zach Thomas (FA/Cowboys)

Key Losses: TE Tony Gonzalez (trade/Falcons) QB Damon Huard (FA/49ers) LB Pat Thomas (FA/Bills) LB Donnie Edwards (FA) CB Patrick Surtain (FA)

Offense: The Chiefs will have a mixture of new faces and familiar faces on the offense in 2009.
Gone is perennial Pro-Bowl Tight End Tony Gonzalez, traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Back is running back Larry Johnson (874 yards, 4.5 ypc average and five touchdowns in '08) and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who made 86 catches for 1,022 yards and seven TDs last season.
Also in the fold for 2009 is quarterback Matt Cassel, who comes over from the New England Patriots after putting up respectable numbers while filling the shoes for injured Tom Brady.
Cassel was pressed into the starting role in '08 and threw for 3,693 yards with 21 TDs and 11 interceptions. Not too shabby after holding the clipboard on the sidelines for his first two seasons in the NFL.
Along with Cassel, Kansas City has Johnson at running back, Bowe at wide receiver and new starting Tight End Brad Cottam. The other wide receiver may be Mark Bradley, who had 30 catches a year ago for 380 yards and three touchdowns. Bobby Engram and Devard Darling are also competing for a starter's role at wide receiver.
The offensive line will have Rudy Niswanger at center. The guards are Brian Waters and Mike Goff. The tackles are Branden Albert and Damion McIntosh.
The Chiefs ranked 24th overall in the NFL in total offense in 2008, gaining 309 yards per game.

Defense: The Chiefs were awful on defense last year, allowing 393 yards per game, which was 31st in the league. The run defense allowed 159 yards per game and the Chiefs gave up an additional 234 yards per game through the air.
Up front, Glenn Dorsey is the nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme. The ends are Tyson Jackson and Alfonso Boone.
The linebackers are Derrick Johnson and Zach Thomas (free agent from Dallas) on the inside and veteran Mike Vrabel, along with Tamba Hali on the outside.
The secondary will have Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers at cornerback and Bernard Pollard at strong safety and Jarrad Page at free safety. Page led Kansas City with four interceptions in 2008.
The defense has got to be able to stop the run and get some pressure on the quarterback. The Chiefs recorded just ten sacks all of last season.

OUTLOOK: With a new Head Coach in Todd Haley, the Chiefs will have a new enthusiasm on the field. How that translates in the win-loss column remains to be seen.
The offense isn't too bad with Cassel coming in to team with Johnson, a former All-Pro rusher who seems to have lost his intensity during the last two seasons.
If the Chiefs can get Johnson going again and Cassel plays like he did for the Patriots a year ago, the Chiefs may spring some surprises in 2009.
The defense however, MUST improve if the Chiefs are going to contend at all in the AFC West. Kansas City finished 2-14 and in last place in their division. To be fair, seven of their 14 losses were by seven points or less, including two nail biting, one-point losses to reigning division champion San Diego.
The AFC West is one of the weaker divisions in the NFL, which means the Chiefs should avoid last place again. The again, they have to stop their opponents in order to have a chance. Kansas City will do well to finish near .500, but that's even asking a lot coming off the type of season they had last year.
The schedule is brutal and a 5-11 record is more likely with perhaps a third place finish in the AFC West.

Week 1- at Baltimore (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Oakland (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Philadelphia (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. NY Giants (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Dallas (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at Washington (Oct. 18)
Week 7- vs. San Diego (Oct. 25)
Week 8- BYE WEEK
Week 9- at Jacksonville (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at Oakland (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Pittsburgh (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at San Diego (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. Denver (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Buffalo (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Cleveland (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Cincinnati (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at Denver (Jan. 3)

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