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Will the 2011 Chiefs End Up Like Champs or Chumps?

By Chiefs Gab Columnist Jeremy Housewright

With a very unimpressive preseason, only time will tell if the Kansas City Chiefs look like the AFC West champs from last year or chumps.

It’s been an abysmal preseason, to say the least. Fans paying hard earned money to attend preseason games have been left with a bad taste in their mouths. Are the Chiefs really as bad as they look? Did the departure of Charlie Weis really hurt the team that much? Is Matt Cassel the answer at quarterback? Can the Chiefs continue to dominate with their rushing attack? All these questions and more are on the minds of Chiefs Nation.

First of all, I have to believe that the Chiefs are not as bad as they have looked in the preseason. Todd Haley is not going to open his offensive playbook to expose his team for games that mean nothing. He has taken a different approach this season.

While last year, he had brutal practices, this season, he is all about getting guys in shape and ready to go. It may be frustrating to Chiefs fans, and it is definitely frustrating to me, but Haley is the type of guy who really doesn’t care. He is doing what he wants and he will make no apologies for it. Are there areas to be concerned with? Sure, just like every other team has areas to be worried about.

Weis leaving in the off-season was a big deal. If fans do not believe the offense will struggle, think again. I’m not saying that the Chiefs won’t be able to move the ball, but Weis is an offensive genius. He did not mesh with Haley. The two disagreed on a lot.

They both have huge egos and it showed near the end of the season. This is Haley’s team, and I’m fine with that. As much as I loved Weis, I want to see if Haley really can run this football team. It’s a sink or swim year for him in my mind. If the Chiefs do well, Haley will be a genius, but if they struggle, he could join find himself in the unemployment line.

The Atlanta Falcons have a great quarterback in Matty “Ice” Ryan , but the Chiefs have based their hopes on Matty “Light” Cassel, as I call him. Is Cassel a good quarterback? That remains to be seen. The year he started for the Patriots, finishing 11-5, he was in the Belichick system. His first year, 4-12, in Kansas City, he was plagued by injuries and a sub par groups of wide receivers.

Last year, he flourished under Weis’ system. Dwayne Bowe finally stepped up and had a monster season. Cassel also benefited from a run first mentality on offense. With Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, and now apparently Dexter McCluster, who can blame the Chiefs for being a run first squad? Basically, without Weis, this will be the season we see if Cassel is worth the $60 million the Chiefs invested in him.

A large amount of fans in Kansas City seem to dislike him even when he does well. I’m a believer that Cassel can be a good quarterback. He may not be a Peyton Manning-caliber quarterback, but I believe he can give you 20-plus touchdowns and 10-or less picks.

Will the Chiefs continue to dominate opponents with their rushing attack this season? If I were a betting man, I would put money on it. With Charles, Jones, McCluster and the addition of fullback Le’Ron McClain, the Chiefs will most likely be a team that will try to wear defenses out on the ground.

Charles appears to be poised for another big season. After amassing over 1,400 yards last season, I’m predicting even bigger things for him this year. Jones wore down toward the end of last season, but still finished with over 800 yards. Jones has looked pretty fresh so far this season, and I expect him to gain around 500 yards on the ground as well as a fair amount through the air.

The biggest surprise this preseason has been Dexter McCluster. DexMex, as Chiefs fans call him, was beat up last season. His size is an issue, but his speed is a weapon. I think it’s a weapon that Haley will use quite often. While I have no doubt that the Chiefs may get stopped on the ground at times, Haley will be relentless when it comes to running the ball.

In closing, it’s hard to say what the Chiefs record will look like when it’s all said and done. With a brutal five game stretch starting in mid-November, it’s important that Haley’s squad gets off to a quick start. I could see the Chiefs starting 7-2 out of the gates, but finishing up 9-7, which could still be good enough to get them into the playoffs.

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3 Responses to “Will the 2011 Chiefs End Up Like Champs or Chumps?”

  1. Russ Loede says:

    Can’t wait to see the Chiefs in action Week one! Dexter McCluster is going to make his presence felt! Jamaal Charles is an MVP candidate and Tamba Hali will make a potent case for defensive honors. Cassel will be more than fine and watch out for the progression of Moeaki – he’s the real deal. Now, let’s just hope Baldwin can adjust and recover. Add Breaston to the mix, and you have to ask yourself the question: is this the best offense not only in the AFC, but in the NFL?

  2. I hope you’re right brother! I’m a Chiefs fanatic, so I’m hoping your prediction about everything comes true

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