32 teams in 32 days: Kansas City
Expected W-L (based on PF/PA): 4.5-11.5
Franchise record: 379-333-12
Playoff record: 8-13
Last five seasons: 43-39
Best game of 2007: Week 4, 30-16 win at San Diego. The Chiefs were the front-runner to win the AFC West after this one, and again when they stood at 4-3 following a Week 7 win over Oakland. But nine straight losses to close out the season will put a dent in anyone's playoff plans.
Strength: DE Jared Allen. Although we made a good case for Indy's Bob Sanders as Defensive Player of the Year (and he did win it), Allen could have won the award. He was among the dominant defensive players in the league for 2007. He registered 15.5 of the KC's 37 sacks, and the Chiefs allowed just 3.7 yards per rush despite two journeymen in the middle (Ron Edwards/Alfonso Boone).
Weakness: Offensive line. Not only did the Chiefs not score touchdowns (24 for the season), they barely even got into field-goal range (27 attempts). An anemic 14.1 PPG isn't going to cut it in the NFL, or any league for that matter. And while the blame could be placed on poor QB play or a bad season by RB Larry Johnson (3.5 YPA, the offensive line was the worst in the league last year. The Chiefs suffered a league-worst 55 sacks (tied with San Frann) and averaged 3.3 YPA (31st in the NFL), unacceptable numbers when you have players like Johnson and TE Tony Gonzalez in the fold.
Most underrated player: Punter Dustin Colquitt. The league is lousy with top-notch punters these days, but Colquitt is among the best. He had a great net average (45.5 per boot, 9th) in 2007, and dropped 27 of 95 punts inside the 20 (28.4 percent). He's improved in each of his three seasons in the NFL (averages of 39.4, 44.3 and 45.5), and has almost justified the third-round pick the Chiefs spent on him in 2005.
Unit on the rise: Defensive line. With Allen on one end and Tamba Hali on the other, the Chiefs have one of the best pass-rushing combos in the game. And with 2007 draft picks Tank Tyler and Turk McBride both having a year to learn, the rotation is deep – assuming that Tyler and McBride mature as expected.
Youth/experience: The scary news for a Chiefs fan is that 12 of the 22 starters from 2006 are over 30 – not a good thing when the team goes 4-12. However, the Chiefs did have 15 rookies on the roster last year, adding a strange dynamic to the team that showed on the field. All told, 29 members of the roster had two or fewer years of experience.
2007 Draft grade: B-. First-round WR Dwayne Bowe came a catch or two away from a 1,000-yard season, but the rest of Kansas City's class provided depth only. The jury is out on first-day defensive picks Tank Tyler and Turk McBride, both of whom were expected to see more time on the defensive line.
2008 Draft power: 1st (5), 2nd (36), 3rd (67), 4th (102), 5th (129), 5th (133), 6th (164), 6th (181), 7th (195), 7th (224)
General Draft strategy: The Chiefs are loaded with young players, and have 10 picks in this year's draft. They've drafted winners with each of their last four first-round picks (Bowe, Hali, LB Derrick Johnson and RB Larry Johnson), but have swung and missed most of their Day 1 picks (2nd-3rd rounders). Three terrible drafts from 2000-02 and again in 2004 (although they got Jared Allen in the fifth round) have left the cupboard pretty bare. They've also avoided going for a franchise QB for over 20 years, with Todd Blackledge in 1983 their last No. 1 pick. That cost them last year as Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle looked not to be the answer. This No. 5 pick is KC's highest since 2001, when they missed badly with DE Ryan Sims.
Coaching: Herm Edwards and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham are a great mix, and the defense has consistently improved since the exit of Dick Vermeil. But the offense is in shambles. Mike Solari got two shots at the OC job, failed with both and was fired after the season, replaced by Chan Gailey. In Gailey's six years as an offensive coordinator or head coach in the NFL, his offenses were 11th, 7th, 11th, 9th, 16th and 8th in scoring. Solari had made his name with the offensive line, and his promotion seemed to set the Chiefs back in two ways – the offensive line fell apart and the play-calling was under constant question. Solari is in Seattle now, as the O-line coach.
Overview: The Chiefs are a mess. They were either too old or too young last year, a prime example being the QB position. Croyle was too green, Huard was too slow, and neither looks to be the answer for 2008. Their terrible offensive line was made up completely of players on the wrong side of 30, and has a first-year line coach in Bob Bicknell for 2008. Without significant improvements there, the Chiefs are doomed to be a losing team again this year – and they have already parted ways with three starters from 2007. Upgrading those spots is the key for the KC offseason, even more important than finding a QB. If the offense can be at least average, the defense shows signs of being very good. The three best players (Johnson, Hali and Allen) are in their mid-20s, and there's a lot of young talent in the secondary. The Chiefs will probably use 75 percent of their draft power on offense, and if they hit some winners they could certainly be back in the playoff mix. Don't forget, they made the postseason in 2006.
- Wise Guys: Broncos, Patriots, 49ers Top Expected Win Totals In 2013
- Hockey Announcer Gone Wild: You Want To Party (Maybe) With This Guy
- Best Pass Defense Ever: Ronde Barber And The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Reese Witherspoon Arrest Video: Hot, Bothered And Handcuffed
- Sam Adams In A Can, Just In Time For Summer Drinking Season
- 'Cheeseheads' Reality Show Destined To Suck
- The 5.0 Club: Best Rushing Teams in NFL History
- Sieves: The Worst Run Defenses In NFL History
- 2013 NFL Schedule: The Year Of The Denver Broncos
- Boston, Sports, Patriotism And Terror
- Monsters of the Midway: We Need The Chicago Bears More Than Ever
- The 100 Stingiest Defenses In Football History
- NFL Crown Rule: Will It Dethrone Rushing King Adrian Peterson?
- Big Tease: 2012 New England Patriots And NFL's History Of Offensive Failures
- Epic Fail: The Wide Receiver Draft Class Of 2012