With another eventful season looming on the horizon, NFL rookie and veterans report to training camp in several weeks. Based on a combination of statistical analysis and general wisdom, every team has specific areas of concern, to assess strengths and weaknesses. One of the teams that have seen the most turnover is the Chiefs. With a new quarterback and hopefully another successful season from Kareem Hunt, along with an entirely new defense, it’s time to take a look at the change of some of the key Kansas City Chiefs position groups.
During training camp, every NFL team focuses on abilities and liabilities from the past season. Football, just as any other sport, is a fine-tuned engine. Every element has to function correctly and cohesively to improve their chances.
The Kansas City Chiefs faced significant position challenges moving into the offseason. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has specific expertise at addressing his team needs, which translate into a winning formula. Reid and new general manager Brett Veach put together a strategy to add younger players to an already talented roster.
In other words, the Chiefs are only a few steps away from mirroring the team Reid coached with Philadelphia Eagles. As we studied the Chiefs current roster, there are many winning possibilities within the position groups.
Kansas City Chiefs most improved position group
Let’s start with the Chiefs most enhanced position groups that will make or break their playoff probabilities in 2018. When training camp opens in St. Joseph, Missouri on July 22nd and 25th, the race is on to make the critical adjustments.
The most improved position belongs to the quarterback and wide receiver groups. Reid’s decision to add a younger starter to the quarterback position is a game changer. Why? Because of a young quarterback named Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is a big, and energetic leader who brings a new dynamic to the already West Coast offensive strategy. Mahomes is a significant and robust gunslinger who will keep defenses honest.
Under Reid’s tutelage, Mahomes will shine with his decision making, mobility, and passing abilities. Mahomes is the X-factor to manage the game and keep opposing defenses guessing. At his best, Mahomes will help the Chiefs overcome the past midseason letdowns and make them genuine contenders in the AFC conference.
The second most improved position group is the receiver corps with the addition of free agent WR Sammy Watkins. Although Watkins spent a great deal of his NFL career injured, he provides the big possession receiver weapon needed. He can catch the ball across the middle, break tackles, and has enough speed to run deep streak routes past safeties.
Kansas City Chiefs least improved position group
Now the robust conversation begins with the least enhanced position groups on the Chiefs defense. There have been inconsistencies with the entire Chiefs defense, but it’s clear the defensive line and linebackers are the least improved for now.
First and foremost the Chiefs 3-4 defense lacks a consistent dominant interior and edge rusher. Based on NFL history offense entertains and defense wins Super Bowls. The Chiefs ranked 28th in total defense in 2017, allowing 5,842 yards. With injuries to safety Eric Berry and Dee Ford, the Chiefs defense lacked precision and consistency, especially against the run.
The key to any dominant defense is an alpha male, which creates double or triple teams along the offensive line. A quick and powerful front three can disrupt offensive lines and set up different defensive disguises.
The Chiefs drafted nose tackle Derrick Nnadi and end Breeland Speaks for their youthful enthusiasm. Nnadi’s brute power combined with Speak’s leverage and burst off the line will help in due time. These additions into the lineup via specific defensive packages should add the much-needed depth.
All in all the Chiefs will need a blue-collar lunch box mentality to see significant gains on both sides of the ball to reach the Super Bowl in 2018.