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Admittedly, the past few years have been horrible for the Kansas City Chiefs. They’ve included missing on draft picks, bad coaching, awful quarterback play, and the inability to stop anyone on defense. Except for 2010, the last few years could not be any worse. 2008’s record was 2-14 and it also saw the end of the Carl Peterson era and introduced New England Patriots’ Scott Pioli as the new General Manager. In 2009, head coach Herm Edwards was fired and Todd Haley was hired as the head coach. Maybe most notably, Tony Gonzalez was traded to the Atlanta Falcons. That brought an end to a great era of Gonzalez essentially re-inventing the tight end position and infusing his basketball background to help in becoming a dominant force at the position. The Chiefs also brought in quarterback Matt Cassel and gave him a huge contract after he successfully took over for an injured Tom Brady in New England. The team subsequently ended up going 4-12. 2010 brought in new coordinators Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weiss, coincidentally from New England as they have a connection to Scott Pioli. The team made the playoffs and won the AFC West with a 10-6 record and were summarily bounced in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens at home. The team did send 6 players to the pro bowl in Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Brian Waters, Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. Many of these players are part of the core of this year’s team. I mentioned missed draft picks earlier and one of those players they missed big time on was 2011’s first round pick Jonathan Baldwin, who actually ended up being traded in 2013. The season ended up with the firing of Todd Haley with three games to go and an overall record of 7-9. Romeo Crennel took over the job duties at the end of that season and also coached in the 2012 season and that season was the culmination of the past few years’ road to ruin. A 2-14 record, along with the sudden suicide of Jovan Belcher made 2012 a very tough year ending in the purging of staff, GM’s and players. Would 2013 be any better than 2012?
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Currently the Chiefs sit at 9-0 and are on their bye week. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better time for them to have their bye. The Chiefs are scheduled to play the Denver Broncos in Denver the following week and the bye gives the Chiefs two weeks to prepare for Peyton Manning and company. How did we get to this point? I just stated that in 2012 the Chiefs finished 2-14. It’s incredible to even dream up a scenario where this is possible. So how did it happen? After the 2012 debacle, owner Clark Hunt cleaned house and went out and hired a new coach in Andy Reid, a new GM in John Dorsey and a new offensive and defensive coordinator in Doug Pederson and Bob Sutton respectively. They also went out a got a starting quarterback in Alex Smith who had just recently guided the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC championship game. The missing piece to the Chiefs’ struggles the past few years was easily at quarterback and Andy Reid needed a guy to help guide the West Coast Offense into Chiefs’ nation. Combine that, with a defense that had already been established from the previous regime and you’ve got a recipe for instant success. Players like Tamba Hali, Dontari Poe, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry have been here for some or all of the last few bad years but then new additions like Sean Smith, Mike Devito, and free agent corner back pickup Marcus Cooper have been the final additions to a defense that is the best right now in the NFL. Offensively, along with Alex Smith, Dorsey went out and got Anthony Fasano to shore up the tight end spot, wide receiver Donnie Avery to help complement Bowe, and drafted right tackle Eric Fisher with the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. These moves have solidified the offense to be steady but not terrific. When you combine all of this, and have a softer schedule than in years’ past, you have a recipe to start 9-0 on the season and be in a position to win the division and solidify home field advantage in the playoffs.
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I made the point in the title of this article that the future is bright if you are a Chiefs’ fan. Considering the age of some of their core players like Jamaal Charles (26), Dwayne Bowe (29), Alex Smith (29), Justin Houston (24), Dontari Poe (23), Marcus Cooper (23), Sean Smith (26), and Eric Berry (24) and the fact that they have contracts beyond next year; it’s easy to get excited about the prospect of success for the next couple of years. According to philly.com, the Chiefs are the 8th youngest team in the NFL. That’s really good news. Getting Alex Smith in the off season was huge, and maybe the biggest move the team has made in recent years was the hiring of Andy Reid to bring stability to the head coaching spot. If upper management can continue to lock down the players they feel are the core of the team and keep drafting well, this team will flourish going forward.