The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs season is going to be epic. Here are 15 reasons why:
15 Reasons for Chiefs Excitement in 2018
15. Even though the Chiefs didn’t have a high pick, the roster was set up so that they could flexibly move to get who they wanted and take the best player available. It was a deep draft at positions the Chiefs needed and they ended up getting DB, DL, LB, and OL help.
14. Eric Berry is back. A healthy Eric Berry means Sorensen isn’t being asked to do things he can’t do. “Dirty Dan” was always a step slow in run support, he couldn’t fill Berry’s shoes and it showed.
13. Anthony Hitchens is a major upgrade at ILB. Derrick Johnson was a great Chief. He gave all he had to the end. And by the end he was very slow. It is hard to make up for a LB who just can’t defend sideline to sideline or cover TE’s like he used to. Did you see DJ get burnt by Antonio Gates for a touchdown last season? That can not happen!
12. Reggie Ragland is healthy. Ragland improved all year long and teaming up with the fast and dynamic Hitchens turns the ILB position from a weakness last year, to a strength.
Having Berry, Hitchins and Ragland instead of Sorensen, Slow DJ, and getting healthy Ragland is an upgrade.
11. Dee Ford is in a contract year and healthy. Now, we all know Dee Ford has SUCKED vs the run. But when he’s on as a pass rusher he is a difference maker. Go back and watch the Philly game last year. Dee Ford was dominating in that game and may well be the single reason we won. A motivated Ford is an upgrade over Frank Zombo, but then again who isn’t.
10. Tanoh Kpassagnon is going to break out. Watch his tape from last year. He improves as the season goes on. You can see that it is a possibility to believe he could consistently be a disruptive force this year having now had a full season of NFL coaching and getting used to the speed of the game at this level.
9. Justin Houston, can go back to being Justin Houston. Having these other pieces in place to be responsible for stopping the run and covering tight ends, Houston can now be deployed the way he is most effective. Justin can not let loose and rush the passer from the edge and crush any RB that runs his direction.
Having high end pass rushers motivated, ready and playing the position they should be playing is an upgrade over injured unmotivated Dee Ford, small school inexperienced physical specimen Kpass and out of place Houston having to drop into coverage all the time.
8. Marcus Peters was a great player on this team. He was not a great team player. We can all see that Marcus Peters has elite skills at the CB position. He was a turnover machine who regularly baited the opposing QB into mistakes. He also didn’t put much effort into tackling and apparently was nearly uncoachable. When put on the market for trade, one team bothered to inquire about trading for him. Let that speak for itself. Addition by subtraction.
7. Kendall Fuller is an upcoming star at CB. Maybe not the talent that Peters is, but his team first attitude and skills make losing Peters a wash.
6. Amerson in, Gaines out. That can’t be bad. Why Buffalo signed Gaines is puzzling, but everyone needs some extra camp bodies!
The Secondary, with Berry back, the trade of the disgruntled Peters, the addition of Fuller and Amerson and the departure of Gaines is an overall upgrade to injured Berry, non tackling Peters and burnt toast Gaines.
5. Sammy Watkins has been healthy for two years. He is still really fast. He grades out as a WR who “wins” his routes at a rate way above average. He will be playing with a big arm QB for the first time in his career. The Chiefs didn’t sign him to that ridiculous contract to have him run 5 yard slants and curls. A healthy, fast, precise route running Watkins will stretch defenders to the limit and be a dangerous deep and intermediate target.
4. Tyreek Hill will have less coverage roll his way now. And he has a QB who will be able to find him deep even if he has to roll out of the pocket one way or the other.
3. Travis Kelce will have even more room to roam as the Chiefs will be able to stretch the field in every direction with speed on the outside and a QB who can deliver the ball anywhere on the field FROM anywhere on the field.
2. Kareem Hunt, already a very good all around back, will find the running lanes a little wider, the open space a little more open, and the ball delivered just a little quicker.
Having size, speed, and skill all over the field will be an incredible challenge for defenses. One of these guys will always be single covered. All of these guys can beat single coverage. Having everyone on the field each be a threat to go anywhere on the field is an upgrade over one burner, one super TE and one good RB, all limited by the QB’s arm and tendancy to protect the ball as opposed to making the big play.
And finally the biggest reason to be excited
1. Patrick Mahomes. They traded up to get him with a very good QB on the roster under contract. After having Mahomes on the roster all year, seeing what he could do in preseason and practice and in game action, they traded the very good QB, who led the NFL in passer rating, who had led the team as they won 2 straight division titles, and year at a reasonable 20 million still left on his contract. They didn’t just do that for the hell of it. They didn’t sign Sammy Watkins to a ridiculous contract not to fully utilize him and expect to get a return on that heavy investment. Some you may not be ready to acknowledge it yet, but they understand what they have. They have a QB, who can move quickly through his progressions and accurately get the ball anywhere on the field. If he is forced out of the pocket, the play is not ruined because he can STILL deleiver a strike, while moving left or right, anywhere on the field. And he is athletic enough to use his legs to get yards as a last resort. He makes throws that others simply can not.
Many will look at Madden ratings and last years box scores and tell you this team is worse. Madden doesn’t have a rating to show Berry being back, to show Peters being unwilling to tackle. They don’t have a rating for what Houston does when he doesn’t have to drop into coverage anymore. The box score doesn’t show you the value of Watkins drawing the safety deep as Kelce finds himself wide open over the middle. The box score has no stat for the middle LB who was out of position to fill that gap Hunt just ran through. There isn’t a metric anywhere that explains the difference between abandoning a clean pocket on 3rd and 8 and gaining 3 yards instead of keeping the play alive and throwing a strike 15 yards downfield to the open man. But that’s exactly what we are going to see in 2018. I can’t show you a stat, or decipher Madden ratings to prove it, but promise you will know it when you see it.