The Kansas City Chiefs are wrapping up their OTAs and there is a good feeling around the team, at least as they’ve presented it to the media. And there’s no reason to think the presentation is just for P.R. purposes. Whether it’s getting healthy or getting good play at the quarterback position, optimism is well-founded.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is in his first year on the job and he’s expecting a solid season from Matt Cassell. The Chiefs’ quarterback was beset by injuries in 2011 and Daboll will be in his third coordinator in as many years. But Cassell is a better quarterback than he’s given credit for. In a division with Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and even Carson Palmer, Cassell can get lost in the shuffle. But this is someone who quarterbacked a division-winning team in 2010 and led a team to 11 wins in 2008 when he had to suddenly step in for Tom Brady in New England.
Why then, the persistent belief in some quarters that Kansas City needs an upgrade at quarterback? Unless you can get a franchise quarterback—and last I checked, they usually aren’t sitting out there on the waiver wire—you want a quarterback who can win if you get a good running game and a competent defense in support. Kansas City has that.
Of course the problem was, that in 2011, Kansas City didn’t have that. Not when their best running back, their tight end and their strong safety were all sitting on injured reserve. The lack of Jamaal Charles in the backfield and not having Tony Moeaki as a third-down bailout hurt Cassell and then losing Pro Bowler Eric Berry had a ripple effect on the entire defense. With all three back, the structure of the Chiefs is back intact, and that means Cassell can again smoothly step in and run the show.
Training camp is just around the corner in the NFL, and Kansas City can feel good about where they stand, as well as the fact they’re flying under the radar in the AFC West.