Going into the NFL off-season, teams have a plan. Or we as fans would like to believe they have a plan. The Kansas City Chiefs started their plan out early on with wholesale changes across the board. Now that their coaching and front office situation has found its way to stability, the time comes for personnel decisions, and there are really 2 big moves this team has to make in order to be competitive in the AFC West in 2013.
The first move, and the most obvious one is they must improve the quarterback situation. An Andy Reid run offense is very much quarterback intensive, and so whomever they have under center is going to have a huge responsibility for the success of this team. While we will dissect the possible permutations of this quarterback situation, for now it really comes down to 3 possible choices.
They can sign or trade for a veteran free agent quarterback, draft a quarterback, or they can continue with the status quo. Whichever they choose, the Chiefs must understand that the level of talent they have at quarterback will directly effect how efficient the offense can run.
The free agent pool of quarterbacks to underwhelming, and the talent on the roster impresses even less, so I can’t see any way this team does not move forward without drafting a quarterback in 2013. It may not be in the first round, but someone in the first 2 or 3 rounds, they have to roll the dice on a new signal caller.
The second and more complicated priority for this team has to be to create an identity on defense. What I mean by that is, this defense was not physical at the point of attack like others, wasn’t particularly fast or athletic like some, and didn’t rely on an innovative or exotic defense to make plays.
Assuming that new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton sticks with what he knows, we can look to the 2012 New York Jets defense for some clues. That defense was physical and tried to push teams around, not relying on the speed and athleticism on the edges like many 3-4 teams with rush linebackers who fly off the edges.
If the Chiefs choose to adopt that same philosophy it’ll be up to Reid and Sutton to not only instill a more physical mindset on a defense that got pushed around a lot last season, but they will also need to improve the personnel in the defensive secondary, particularly the cornerbacks. One thing that allows this 3-4 scheme to be effective without committing a large number of blitzers is the ability of the cornerbacks to cover man on the outsides.
If I were the Chiefs front office, and it’s true the Jets are considering a trade of cornerback Darrelle Revis, I would reach out to them and try and work a trade for him. While Revis may not be the top cornerback in the league at this point, but he’s close, and he understands Sutton’s defense and would be a perfect fit opposite fellow cornerback Brandon Flowers.
So let’s review. The Chiefs must get better at quarterback, and assuming they run the Jets defensive scheme, they must get better at cornerback. I would address quarterback via the draft where the potential is higher and cornerback via free agency where the fit is better.
What do you think, Chiefs fans? What are your top 2 priorities for the Chiefs this off-season? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard for more football ramblings.