There are a few numbers the Kansas City Chiefs and its fans want to forget over the last two. The first is 2-14, as in the record of the 2012 team – the one that placed five players in the Pro Bowl and still had the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The second is 28 as in 28 points – the lead the Chiefs had in the 2013-14 playoffs. The lead that the Indianapolis Colts overcame and knocked the worst to first team out of the post season. Kansas City was the feel good story in the NFL last season, starting with the new head coach in Andy Reid, the new quarterback in Alex Smith and a defense that was pretty impressive in Missouri.
This season is a telling one for this team. The Chiefs have one of the best runners in the game in Jamaal Charles and a solid quarterback in Smith. The defense is still pretty good. All it needs to do now is get past Denver and worry about the Chargers and an Oakland team that may be better than people think.
These are five questions that need to be answered as training camp approaches.
HOW GOOD IS JAMAAL CHARLES?
I will stand by this and say Charles is the best running back in the AFC and one of the three best running backs in the NFL right now. The best thing about Charles and his game is he can run, catch and block. The fact he can play for three downs and can act as a receiver in four and five receiver sets. He is the real deal. And to think he was a second round pick.
CAN ERIC FISHER PROVE HE IS THE REAL DEAL?
Fisher was injured at the beginning of the season – a shoulder injury that lingered all year long. Fisher played on the right side last season while Branden Albert played on the right side. Now, with Albert in Miami, there is hope Fisher can become the left tackle this team envisioned when he was originally drafted. The Chiefs’ line may go through some changes and growing pains, but Fisher must stand and deliver.
CAN THERE BE BALANCE ON THE OFFENSE?
That is something the franchise must find. It is hard to ask Jamaal Charles to take on the entire load on the offensive side of the ball (19 touchdowns) while the rest of the offense remains missing in action. The arm of Alex Smith is good, not great, but he is a good game manager and will lead the team to wins. He does not lose games. Andy Reid’s influence will be a bigger this season.
DID THE PLAYOFFS HURT THIS TEAM MENTALLY?
According to CBSsports.com, the loss to the Indianapolis Colts exposed the Chiefs defense – one that lost steam in the second half of the season. The Colts fought back from a 28-point deficit because Andrew Luck was able to carve up the secondary and the front seven was blocked out of position. The team addressed the line needs by drafted Dee Ford of Auburn. The team should have known it was in trouble when it gave up 31 points to the Raiders late in the season.
CAN THE RECEIVERS DO THEIR JOB?
It remains to be seen. Dwayne Bowe is the new enigma at receiver in the NFL. He signs a new deal to remain in Kansas City and he barely shows up last season. Donnie Avery has a sub-par season. There are questions at tight end with Anthony Fasano. Charles may lead this team in receiving this season, which further makes matters worse on offense.