At First Glance: A Look At The Kansas City Chiefs

Sam Greenwood

With an opening night victory over the New York Giants in our rear view mirror, the focus now turns to the looming battle against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The upcoming game will be the first road trip of the year for the Dallas Cowboys, and they will be playing in front of one of the most hostile crowds in the league. This will be a match up that Jason Garrett and his charges cannot afford to take lightly. With that being said, let us now take a look at the folks who call Arrowhead Stadium home.

Anytime a team finishes the season with a 2-14 record there are bound to be changes made within the organization, and that is exactly what took place in Kansas City. The biggest change that took place was the hiring of Andy Reid to become the team's new head coach. Taking the reins of a team that earned the first overall draft pick, Reid finds himself in a position where he has his work cut out for him; yet he also finds himself in a position where he has plenty of solid pieces to work with. He will begin the process with six returning players who were selected to the Pro Bowl. Those players are running back Jamaal Charles, linebackers Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson, safety Eric Berry, and finally punter Dustin Colquitt. All told, Andy Reid is in a pretty decent position for the situation that he is in.

Offense

In 2012, Matt Cassell struggled at the helm of the Chiefs offense, so the first priority was to bring in a quarterback to lead Reid's west coast offense. The Kansas City front office found their man in former San Francisco 49er Alex Smith, who last season put his former team in a position to set up their run to the Super Bowl. While Smith has never lived up to the expectations of his draft position, the Chiefs hope that a change in scenery will jump start his career. The Chiefs coaching staff believes that they scored a major coup in signing Smith.

For the Chiefs to field a competitive team in 2013, they will have to rely on Jamaal Charles, who ran for over 1,500 yards a year ago. With a pass-happy coach, it is not likely that he will deliver that type of production as a runner this season; however, Charles should get a chance to showcase his pass-catching skills. No matter, Jamaal Charles is an explosive player who is a threat any time he gets the ball in his hands. Other tools at Smith's disposal include receivers Dwayne Bowe, who went for over 1,000 yards receiving in three of his six seasons in the league, Donnie Avery, who is in his fourth NFL stop, and Dexter McCluster, who seems to be well on his way to living up to the potential that he has flashed periodically throughout his career. Former Dallas Cowboy Anthony Fasano is the Kansas City tight end.

As with any offense, everything begins up front and the Chiefs are solid in that respect, perhaps better than they have been anytime in the last decade. Using the first selection of the 2013 draft, Kansas City chose tackle Eric Fisher to be their blindside protector of the future. For now however, Fisher will get his feet wet on the right side. To buy him a season to develop, the Chiefs used the franchise tag on left tackle Brandon Albert. He is a solid bookend, but has been plagued with back injuries during the course of his career. Moving inside, the Chiefs are solid as well. Center Rodney Hudson is a decent anchor and right guard Jon Asamoah has the potential to be outstanding. Jeff Allen will handle the left guard.

Defense

Manning the trenches on the other side of the ball, the Chiefs have the 11th overall pick from the 2012 draft, Dontari Poe. He struggled to adapt to the professional game during his rookie season, but for 2013 Poe has dropped about 15 pounds and is beginning to look like the run stuffing beast that the team thought they were getting last year. He will be flanked by Mike DeVito and Tyson Jackson, who are decent run stoppers as well.

A 3-4 team, the Chiefs feature a pair of the better pass rushing OLBs in the league. Together, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali accounted for 19 sacks in 2012, impressive when you consider that most of their time was spent playing against offenses that had a lead. For their efforts, both men represented the AFC in Hawaii last season. Moving inside brings us to the third Pro Bowl linebacker, Derrick Johnson. He led the squad with 125 tackles last year. To fill the opening left by the suicide of Jovan Belcher, Andy Reid brought in Akeem Jordan from his Eagles team.

In the Kansas City secondary we find safeties Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis. Berry, who was recovering from an ACL tear, started the year off slowly but steadily improved to the point where he earned a Pro Bowl berth. Lewis was plagued by shoulder issues in 2012 and missed seven games. At corner, the Chiefs have Brandon Flowers as their top corner, while on the other side Dallas can also expect to see Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, both of whom were brought in to be upgrades over Kansas City's second and third corners from 2012.

Special Teams

On special teams the place kicking duties will be handled by Ryan Succop. Last year he was 28 for 34 on field goal attempts and has a perfect 5 for 5 streak from beyond 50 yards over the past two seasons. Pro Bowler Dustin Colquitt handles the punting chores. The Chiefs return game is a weak link. Last season both the punt and kick off units struggled to match the return yardage put up by the team's opponents .

Conclusion

The 2013 edition of the Kansas City Chiefs have the pieces they need to surprise teams this season. They feature quite a few players who are among the better guys at their position, and have a pair of young guys who are ready to make their mark. That, combined with a rowdy crowd that who can impact their team's opponents, makes this a team that the Dallas Cowboys cannot afford to look past. We all remember the trip to Seattle during Week 2 of last season. If the Cowboys fail to maintain their focus, we may see a similar outcome.

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