The Chiefs brass had some high expectations last year and several objectives that they wanted to accomplish. They wanted to make an impact in the AFC West, make the Playoffs, get depth at key skill positions, and turn the defense around. At the end of the season the MBL saw a team on the rise. Finishing with a 10-5-1 record, the Chiefs have a solid fountation to build on for the future.
Drako Defense is back bay bay!!!
The Chiefs had one of the worst passing defenses a couple of years ago. The additions of Cliff Avril, DT Haloti Gnata, LB Keenan Robinson made a huge difference. Th team went from the #28 passing defense to the #1 ranked defense in the MBL. That's not the only #1 rank the unit had as they also were tops in the leaague in yards allowed and points allowed. This unit wouldn't be worthy of the Drako Defense moniker without the turnovers and they were top 3 in the league with 41 interceptions and 3 fumbles recovered. 51 sacks helped put QBs on edge to throw those picks. This season they Chiefs hope to keep the momentum going by signing DE Dante Fowler and moving Chris Jones to the inside to help on run defense. Veteran FS Ron Parker tested FA allowing second year man Angel Marshall to take over the staring spot.
Battle for the West
The Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are clearly the teams to beat with the Chiefs trying to rise to their level. Last season they did just that as they swept the Broncos and split the series with both Raiders and Chargers. The team out of Los Angeles is the powerhouse the Chiefs seek to overthrow. Last season they proved they are no pushover and punched them in the mouth. This season veteran Jay Cutler is the signal caller there. This is the opportunity or a new champion to come up in the West.
If there was one thing that didn't go the Chiefs way last season it was the uncertainty at quarterback. Patrick Mahomes struggled with both injuries and turnovers. He looked wildly inaccurate as clearly time off the field had him looking completely cold and not at all in the same page with his receivers. Veteran QB Alex Smith did a great job leading the team, but he is not the future of the team. During the MBL Draft there was no surprise for the Kansas City faithful as the team selected QB James Strzelczyk in the 1st round. Mahomes will be challenged by the rookie. It is his last chance to lead this offense. On the ground HBs Kareem Hunt and Treveon Marshall split the carries about 50/50. The surprise there was that Treveon Marshall was clearly the superior HB and proved it by outgaining Hunt by almost 300 yards and scoring 5 more TDs. He did suffer a serious injury late on the season and he missed the Wildcard game vs the Chargers. It is something the team is a bit worried about. The team also signed veteran WR Julian Edelman to help make those tough catches in traffic and in case Chris Conley gets hurt as he struggled with multiple injuries.
This season is a bit more dificult to predict. The team has a major question mark at QB. This is Mahomes' 3rd year in the league and he is still an enigma. Rookie Strzelczyk has talent, but is sure to have some growing pains. The skill positions are there at HB, TE, and WR. This is also a contract year for Tyreek Hill. It's a safe bet that QB play will be major factor in him signing long term as Chief. On the defensive side Chris Jones is also ona contract year and playing a new position. Will he like playing DT for the Drako Defense or will he want to return to a more familiar role as a 3-4 DE? If either QB plays around the same level as last year then this team is primed to make another playoff run and have a real opportunity to supplant the Chargers at the top of the AFC West.