5 Areas Kansas City Chiefs Must Improve Upon During Training Camp

1 of 6

5 Areas Kansas City Chiefs Must Improve Upon During Training Camp

ddd
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

What happened? The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs were supposed to be competitive. They were a legitimate dark horse candidate. In the offseason, they added OT Eric Winston, CB Stanford Routt and RB Peyton Hillis to an already talented roster. How did they end up as the laughing stock of the league with a 2-14 record?

Well first off, those three signings turned out to be busts. Hillis matched career lows with 3.6 yards per carry and one touchdown, Routt was cut midseason, and Winston made national news bashing the Kansas City fans in a post-game rant.

However, a much bigger factor to the failure was the abysmal quarterback play. Together, Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn combined for 27 turnovers while managing just eight touchdowns.

Despite these setbacks, the Chiefs still had six players selected to the Pro Bowl. The number of a team’s Pro Bowlers should never triple their win total. When a team underperforms to that magnitude, an overhaul in leadership is inevitable.

Kansas City had arguably the busiest offseason in 2013, cutting ties with GM Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel, and hiring John Dorsey and Andy Reid in their place. Dorsey and Reid kept the changes going with a laundry list of free agent signings, most notably replacing Cassel with Alex Smith.

With so many major changes, there is a lot to get excited about in Kansas City. However, with big change comes big question marks. Last season’s worst team in the league have plenty to improve upon in training camp. Here are the five areas where they need to step up the most.

2 of 6

5. Defensive Line

ddd
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Former first-round picks Tyson Jackson (third overall) and Dontari Poe (11th overall) need to fulfill their potential. Free-agent DE Mike Devito was a decent pickup, but Poe and Jackson must take big steps forward for any success up front.

Poe has shed some weight and has had a nice training camp so far. He has the most potential and seems determined to fulfill it.

3 of 6

4. Wide Receiver

dff
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After Dwayne Bowe, last season’s next best receiving yard total on the team was 453 by tight end Tony Moeaki. Coach Reid loves to throw the ball and will work to improve upon that. Dexter McCluster, Donnie Avery and Jon Baldwin will be the breakout candidates.

Avery and Baldwin need to fix their problem with drops. McCluster has been lining up all over the place and getting the ball often in training camp. Hopefully, his 5-foot-7, 170-pound body can take a beating, because it looks like his workload will be increasing significantly.

4 of 6

3. Secondary

ggg
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Free agents Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson bring good talent, but also some inconsistency to a solid secondary. At 6-foot-3, Smith brings some nice size to the cornerback position and has looked good in training camp thus far.

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will employ some very aggressive defensive schemes this season. He has Eric Berry lining up all over the field and is using him in a lot of blitz packages. The rest of the secondary holding up will be vital for the team to prevent the big plays.

5 of 6

2. Leadership

sss
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This team is in dire need of discipline and focus. Reid is replacing a player’s coach in Crennel, which is a term that doesn’t get the negative connotation it deserves. A player's coach is essentially the cool parent that lets their kids do what they want and has very little control over them.

Reid has a lot of experience working with less-than-focused players, most notably DeSean Jackson and Terrell Owens. Hopefully, this experience will work to his benefit in Kansas City.

6 of 6

1. Quarterback

fff
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

With a career 79.1 quarterback rating and just one 3,000 passing yard season in seven tries, Smith’s career has been underwhelming. On the bright side, his quarterback rating has improved every season since 2007.

Reid and Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson do not plan on using Smith as a game manager like they did in San Francisco. They are getting very creative in using the tight ends heavily in the passing game, utilizing McCluster’s versatile skill set and even trying out some QB option packages.

Smith will be relied upon much more heavily than he has been in the past. Kansas City has a great rushing attack and plenty of talent. If Smith keeps improving as he has been in recent years, the Chiefs could have one of the best offenses in the NFL.


Around the Web