It was a bittersweet end to the season for the Chiefs, as they took down division rival San Diego, but also missed the playoffs. Fans were scoreboard watching, hoping that maybe, just maybe, Cleveland and Jacksonville could work some magic.
Of course, it didn’t have to come down to the last week. The Chiefs went 3-4 in the last seven games of the season, after an impressive 6-3 start that included a five game winning streak. They were one game better than last year (2-5) in the last half of the season, but not as impressive in the first half as last year (9-0).
Following Eric Berry’s lymphoma diagnosis late in the season, their motto was to “finish” but they did just the opposite. One week after defeating the defending Super Bowl champs, they fell flat on their faces against Oakland in a rather disappointing Thursday night Game. The slide continued against Denver on Sunday night at home, and finished with a late defeat against Arizona.
This team had plenty of chances to capitalize on games during the season, but didn’t. They controlled their own destiny heading into the final three games, but couldn’t get the job done against Pittsburgh. They fell just one game short of the playoffs, and it could have come in any of the 7.
Expectations weren’t high this year, as the team faced many difficulties. Uncertainty about the offensive line, no wide receiver corps, and questions about the secondary. Despite all of that, they managed to scrounge up 9 wins, and look like both a playoff team and a #1 pick team at the same time.
Chase Daniel started the final game, which naturally brought out the Alex Smith haters everywhere. I’m not saying Smith is the greatest quarterback every, but I am saying he gets the job done, and there is no reason he shouldn’t be back next season. As for Daniel, he might find a starting job somewhere, and certainly deserves one.
If there is one word to describe this season, it’s promising.
Sure, it had its ups and downs, but I’m staying optimistic for the offseason. We know this team’s needs, the first one being a wide receiver, or maybe four. Guys like Dwayne Bowe, Albert Wilson, Jason Avant and Donnie Avery just won’t cut it. There’s a reason none of them caught a single touchdown pass all season.
You might think I’m crazy for mentioning Bowe in that list, but am I really? Remember that touchdown he almost had, but fumbled it? Bowe just isn’t the same as he was when he entered the league, and I think he’s expendable. His release would free up some money, and there are plenty of players available in free agency and the draft that all have more to offer than Bowe.
John Dorsey has some very important moves to make this offseason, and I won’t be surprised if he shakes things up. He’ll be looking to free agency and the draft for wide receivers and secondary players, but I think he’s got the offensive line starters already on the team. Remember, Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen didn’t play this year due to suspension and injury, respectively.
This team has a lot of pieces to be effective, and with just a few additions can really be a complete team heading into next season. They face a tough schedule against the AFC North and NFC North that showcase some high-powered offenses and stout defenses. The Chiefs will need to make the necessary upgrades to be able to compete with them.
The Chiefs have the potential to be really good next season, and I think this year showed that. They beat the Pats in dominating fashion on Monday night, and took down the Super Bowl champs in a gritty, tough game. Although they showed some serious weak points, they are all fixable weak points.
John Dorsey will enter his third offseason as General Manager, and he has a good chance to prove to the fans that he is the man for the job. We were rooting for a WR in the first round last year, but got Dee Ford instead. This year, our wishes just might come true.
My word was promising. What’s yours? Comment below and join the discussion!