Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 4-12 | Offense: 25th | Defense: 30th
It was a long first season for head coach Todd Haley in Kansas City. Haley fired offensive coordinator Chan Gailey 10 days before the regular season, and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast struggled to get the defense to transition to the 3-4 base scheme without the proper personnel on the roster.
Matt Cassel struggled because he lacked the offensive weapons he had on the Patriots, and Dwayne Bowe repeatedly clashed with Haley. The offensive line provided inconsistent pass protection and needs a serious upgrade in the offseason.
The one bright spot for the Chiefs in 2009 was the breakthrough season for running back Jamaal Charles. Charles showed game-breaking speed and ran for 1,120 yards on 190 carries after Larry Johnson was released.
Positions of Need:
1. Offensive Tackle: Branden Albert struggled in his sophomore season at left tackle and may need to shift to the right side or kick inside to play guard. Ryan O’Callaghan is better suited as a backup and Barry Richardson has not developed as expected. The Chiefs need to give some consideration to Russell Okung or Trent Williams at the 5th overall pick.
2. Wide Receiver: Dwayne Bowe regressed in his third season and needs to bounce back. Midseason acquisition Chris Chambers showed he had something left in the tank, but this position needs an upgrade. The Chiefs should target this position with one of their 2nd round selections. Damien Williams or Mardy Gilyard would be a good complement to Bowe.
3. Inside Linebacker: Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays are better suited as backups and struggled against the run. This isn’t a great draft class for inside linebackers, but Daryl Washington should be a target in the 2nd round because of his versatility.
4. Outside Linebacker: The Chiefs do not have any edge rushers that can put pressure on the quarterback. Thaddeus Gibson from Ohio State could provide the athleticism that they are sorely lacking.
5. Defensive Tackle: Ron Edwards proved to be serviceable at nose tackle. Glenn Dorsey was shifted to defensive end with mixed results. A younger influx of talent here is a must in the later rounds.
6. Offensive Guard: Brian Waters is not getting any younger and there are no other options currently on the roster. Sergio Render could be a late round steal if he checks out medically.
7. Center: Rudy Niswanger is just an average starting option. There are more pressing needs, but Weis could recommend they take his former player Eric Olsen as a developmental prospect.
The Kansas City Chiefs are beginning to look like Foxboro West with Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli all reuniting. The Chiefs have one of the worst rosters in the NFL and they need help at most every position. They will be quiet in free agency, and will focus on building through the draft. The second round pick acquired for tight end Tony Gonzalez should net them a strong player in this deep draft.
The foundation is now in place to begin restoring the franchise to prominence, but Chiefs fans should expect another long season in 2010.