As soon as the ball left Matt Cassel’s hand, he knew following it would be a vicious hit given by both Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller. What he didn’t realize is that it would be a season ending injury for him. This seemed to be a continuing trend for the Kansas Chiefs during the 2011 – 2012 season. With already season ending injuries to All-pro running back Jamal Charles, pro-bowl and hard hitting safety Eric Berry, and up and coming tight end Tony Moeaki, how much worse could it get for the Chiefs? They were predicted to reclaim their AFC crown that they had won the previous year. Even though it seemed that the world would come crashing down around them, it didn’t. Key players like Dwayne Bowe, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson stepped up and had solid seasons.
Unlikely contributions were also made by unknown running back Jackie Battle, disgruntled QB Kyle Orton (who was let go from our bitter rival the Denver Broncos), and a free agent receiver who still had something to prove in Steve Breaston. Together they were able to lead the Chiefs to a somewhat decent season with a 7-9 record. With the highlight defeating the seemingly indestructible Green Bay Packers. Still many questions were left unanswered and hopes not met.
The expectations for the Chiefs are sky high for the upcoming season to say the least. From injured players Eric Berry, Jammal Charles, Tony Moeaki, and Matt Cassel returning, the coming season is looking very bright for the Chiefs. A new coach will be the biggest change in the organization though. Previse defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was named interim coach with three games left in 2011-2012 season. This seemed to work out well, with Crennel leading the Chiefs to a 2-1 record and win over the undefeated Green Bay Packers at the time. I, for one thought there had to be a change in coaching for the Chiefs if there was to be any continued success for the future. Prior coach Todd Haley seemed to be a maniac who would go for it on 4th down no matter what the circumstances were. It seemed to be a daily discussion by various sports analysts on how controversial they really were. Adding Crennel as coach gave the players someone they knew and were fond of while keeping consistency within the organization.
A highly talked about topic in Kansas City is if the Chiefs made the right decision drafting DT Dontario Poe out of Memphis with their first round pick. Sure, Poe was a phenom at the combine and more than wowed every NFL scout there, but after having average college stats was Poe really worth a 1st round pick? With already having 1st round busts defensive lineman in Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, another is the last the Chiefs need. Or was it perhaps another genius move by GM Scott Pioli (also known as Scott Egoli which I like to call him due to his ego) who famously drafted both Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour who turned out to be elite players.
It seems that Pioli’s plan is to have head coach Romeo Crennel who also happens to be a defensive specialist, discover Poe’s inner talent and mold him into an elite defensive lineman, who can also help apply much needed QB pressure along with already established pass rusher Tamba Hali. We will have to wait to see how it turns out, but Crennel seems to be looking forward to the challenge. Also noted, is Dwayne Bowe who is coming off his second consecutive 1,000 yard season and “6”4 rookie receiver Jonathan Baldwin, (who I think has the capabilities of being a stand out receiver), who should give Matt Cassel two big targets to thrown down field with Bowe being “6”2. Not to forget Tony Moeaki and Steve Breaston doing their own damage.
The speculation seems to be that with the arrival of Peyton Manning the Denver Broncos are the front-runner to win the AFC West. I’m not saying Manning is going to have a bad season, but I do think he will be rusty due to not playing last season. Peyton will also find a rude awakening on the field when he ultimately realizes he’s not throwing to his two favorite targets and future hall of famers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, who helped stack up Manning stats throughout his career while ensuing his inevitable Hall of Fame career. Obviously I say this with no disrespect to the receivers of the Broncos J. Plus getting adjusted to a new offense and organization can be a taunting task for anyone, even Manning. My prediction is the Chiefs go 11-5 this season winning the AFC West while also winning their first playoff game since 1994. I know there hasn’t been too much excitement in the realm of Kansas City sports lately, but get ready Kansas City! When your Chiefs take the field this season that will all change..
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