The Chiefs had a fantastic season last year, but they must continue to improve their offense if they want to cement themselves as serious contenders in the AFC.
Last year, Jamaal Charles was able to carry Kansas City’s offense single handedly. The do-everything running back led the team in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. While Charles is a fantastic player, this is not a recipe for success. Not only is he being run into the ground, but Charles’ overuse is a sure sign that the passing attack is not holding up its end of the bargain. The Chiefs have to find a way to shift some of the load away from Charles and place it on the passing game.
That being said, there is a reason why the Chiefs weren’t able to continuously rely on their passing attack. Even with the addition of Alex Smith, the Chiefs, who finished 2012 last in passing yards, were only able to improve to 24th. While an eight team jump is substantial, it obviously isn’t enough.
Teams are preparing to enter the meat of their offseasons this week, and Kansas City needs to be focused on filling two of their glaring holes: Offensive line and wide receiver.
As I wrote earlier this week, Brandon Albert is likely on his way out, meaning that Eric Fisher is going to be counted on to make the transition over to left tackle. If everything goes right, then the Chiefs offensive line will be good, yet not great. If everything goes wrong, then the Chiefs will be left to pick Smith’s teeth up out of the turf.
The point is, Kansas City needs to prepare for the worst. During free agency, the offensive line must be the top priority of the front office. By letting Albert walk, and subsequently allowing Fisher to step in, the Chiefs should have enough cap space (roughly $10 million) to bring in one, if not two, quality players.
As for wide receivers, free agency doesn’t look to be the solution. With the big time players all likely to get more money than Kansas City is willing to spend, the draft, which is stock full of impact receivers, will be the best route for the Chiefs to take.
Picking 23rd in the first round, Kelvin Benjamin from FSU, Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU, and possibly Marqise Lee from USC should be available. Any of these players would be a huge addition for the Chiefs. Though Dwayne Bowe is getting paid like an elite wide receiver, his production would say otherwise (57 catches for 673-yards and five touchdowns).
Kansas City is definitely on the right track. Their team is extremely talented, especially their defense, and is capable of developing even more. Still, nobody is overlooking the Chiefs this year, and they will need to continue to improve if they hope to contend for an AFC West title, let alone an Super Bowl title.