There’s no debating that the Kansas City Chiefs are in good shape on the defensive side of the ball. After all, last year they had more Pro Bowlers (4) on defense than they had wins (2). With perhaps the best collection of linebackers in the NFL, a Pro-Bowl caliber safety in Eric Berry, and a talented and deep group of cornerbacks, Kansas City should feel good about how its defense will fair in 2013, as the unit played well in 2012, but was held back by a lackluster offense. This season, if the Chiefs hope to make a significant improvement on their two wins from a year ago, all the pressure is on the offense to be better.
To the Chief’s credit, they recognized their deficiency and took big steps towards improving their offense, making three significant acquisitions this offseason. The first was head coach Andy Reid, who has a long track record of success as a head coach and is one of the league’s best offensive minded coaches. The second was quarterback Alex Smith, who has proved in the past that he’s capable of leading a team deep into the postseason if he has enough help around him. The third was Eric Fisher, the first overall pick in the draft, who will help solidify an offensive line that was dreadful last season, especially with Branden Albert returning at left tackle, giving the Chiefs one of the best offensive tackle duos in the league.
The additions of Reid, Smith, and Fisher will help immensely, but will it be enough to help what was a completely inept offense last season? Reid will be able to formulate good game plans and have a hand in calling the plays, Smith should be able to manage the games and avoid making mistakes as best he can, and Fisher will do his best to keep Smith on his feet, but Kansas City is going to need its offensive skill players to make just as much of an impact as Reid, Smith, and Fisher will.
Kansas City did have a Pro-Bowl running back last year in Jamaal Charles, who racked up over 1,500 yards on the ground. However, with Reid calling the shots, the Chiefs won’t be so reliant on the running game, which could take Charles out of rhythm and make him a less productive player. There is also no guarantee that the Chiefs will have a competent back up running back, as rookie Knile Davis is expected to fill that role, but he’s only had one productive season in college, and that was back in 2010, so it’s been a while since he was a consistent performer, despite a wealth of talent.
The wide receivers on Kansas City’s roster look a little more promising than last year. Dwayne Bowe is the team’s top receiver, and with a competent quarterback throwing the ball to him, he should exceed the 800 yards and three touchdowns he had last season. Donnie Avery was a nice pick up in free agency, and should give the Chiefs a viable number-two receiver, while Dexter McCluster could be an interesting chess piece for Reid to utilize. Kansas City should get additional help in the passing game from tight end Tony Moeaki, but unless Jon Baldwin or another young receiver steps up, the Chiefs will lack quality depth at wide receiver, and they may not have the caliber or volume of playmakers that Smith needs to excel.
The personnel the Chiefs have on the offensive side of the ball has certainly been upgraded from last season, but how it all comes together with so many new faces and changing parts is less of a certainty. Kansas City knows they will have a defense they can depend on, but unlike last year, the offense will have to give the defense some support. The Chiefs have to hope that they made enough moves, and made the right moves, on the offensive side of the ball that will lead to significant improvement, because their win total in 2013 rests on their offense.