Jun 102013
 

Andy ReidToday starts our series taking a quick peek at the state of all thirty two teams as they prepare for the 2013 season. Yes, it’s early and training camps are still far off, but the bulk of the roster moves have been made and we have enough information to make an educated guess on what 2013 holds for each club. We will go in draft order from worst to first, looking at why each team might be better or worse this coming season. We kick off our series with a look at the Kansas City Chiefs.

1. Kansas City Chiefs
Head Coach: Andy Reid
2012 Record: 2-14
2012 Offense: 211 points scored, 32nd in points, 24th in yards (32nd passing, 5th rushing)
2012 Defense 425 points allowed, 25th in points, 20th in yards (21st passing, 27th rushing)

Key Additions
Head Coach Andy Reid, QB Alex Smith, WR Donnie Avery, LB Akeem Jordan, CB Daunta Robinson, T Geoff Schwartz, CB Sean Smith, T Eric Fisher, QB Chase Daniel, TE Anthony Fasano

Key Losses
QB Matt Cassel, C Ryan Lilja, QB Brady Quinn, T Eric Winston

Why 2013 will be better
The Chiefs had six Pro Bowl players on the roster in 2012 and still managed to go 2-14. Enter Andy Reid and Alex Smith, who are proven winners. The air has changed in Kansas City, and the infusion of Alex Smith, Avery, Fisher, Robinson and Sean Smith promise to change the culture in western Missouri. Having an effective passing attack will make Jamaal Charles a more effective back. The improved offense will keep a very talented defense on the sidelines a little longer. The defense collapsed in 2013, at least in part due to the terrible, mistake-prone offense. Adding Robinson and Smith improves an under-performing secondary.

Why 2013 will be worse
2013 can’t get much worse than 2012, but it’s possible (though not likely) that Reid’s attempt to cobble together talent in the midst of a coaching change will fall flat. Even then, the Chiefs can expect to improve on a two win campaign. Still, Reid seems to be trying to duplicate a pass-oriented attack that he relied on in Philadelphia, and the Chiefs may not have the talent or the interior line to pull it off.

Outlook
It all starts with the offense, and Alex Smith and Chase Daniel represent a major step up over Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. Keeping Dwayne Bowe was important (not to mention a mild surprise), as was adding Donnie Avery as a complement. Smith is a proven winner, and the Chiefs are highly likely to improve on the pathetic 13 points a game scored in 2012. The Chiefs may well be the most improved team in the AFC in 2013, but winning divisional games is going to be the key to their success this coming season. At worst, the Chiefs should be capable of pulling off four or five wins. At best, they are capable of going 8-8 and competing as a dark horse playoff candidate.

Apr 262013
 

Meat And PotatoesWell that was quite an interesting first round. One quarterback, one running back, and a whole lot of trench players were taken in last night’s first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.Offensive and defensive linemen were the top targets (nine each), followed by cornerbacks (four), wide receivers (3) and safeties (3). Two linebackers and a tight end were also taken in last night’s action.

Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel came off the board at #1 (Chiefs) and #2 (Jaguars) respectively as predicted, and then the Dolphins threw a monkey wrench in, swapping with Oakland to move up to snag defensive end Dion Jordan. The next trade came at #8, where the Rams moved up to grab wide receiver Tavon Austin to replace Danny Amendola. Oakland used the #12 pick to select the player they were prepared to grab at #3, cornerback DJ Hayden.

The first (and only) quarterback went off the board when Buffalo selected Florida State’s EJ Manuel at #16. The Bills’ smokescreen for the past several weeks was very effective, as just about every quarterback other than Manuel had been associated with the Bills. The 49ers shot up the board to #18 to grab safety Eric Reid to fill out their secondary, and then the Cowboys pulled a bit of a head scratcher at #31 with their decision to take Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, who is widely seen as a late second or early third round pick.

Atlanta swapped with St. Louis to take cornerback Desmond Trufant, a needed addition for the Falcons. The other trade of the first round came when Minnesota, who had already selected defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and cornerback Xavier Rhodes jumped into New England’s 29th spot to pick up wide receiver Cordarrelle Petterson of Tennessee. New England, who was prepared to selected a player, opted for the value of grabbing Minnesota’s second, third, fourth, and seventh round picks.

Finally, former Patriots’ offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi was present to announce the Patriots’ move, and this was accompanied by a moving tribute to the first responders and victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. They also revealed a “Boston Strong” Patriots’ jersey that promises to become a future piece of wardrobe in the Ghost Rat household.

All in all, it was a solid “meat and potatoes” round for teams trying to protect the quarterback, pressure the quarterback, and defend the pass. I thought the Jets’ selection of cornerback Dee Milliner with the 9th pick was a bit dicey, particularly with DJ Hayden, Desmond Trufant, and Xavier Rhodes still available. Milliner is a great talent, but having two bad shoulders seems to be a cause of some concern. Cleveland’s landing of defensive end Barkevious Mongo at #6 was a sold selection, and seemingly safer than the Eagles’ taking defensive end Ziggy Ansah at #5, even if Ansah’s potential upside is greater. The Steelers got their man in linebacker Jarvis Jones at #17, while the Giants made absolutely the right selection at #19 in picking up tackle Justin Pugh. Bears’ fans were not thrilled with the teams’ selection of guard Kyle Long at #20, but Long promises to be a long-term starter for Chicago, who desperately need help on the offensive line.

Here are the first round picks… the ones I got right are in bold face:

1. Kansas City Chiefs – T Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – T Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
3. Miami Dolphins (trade) – DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
4. Philadelphia Eagles – T Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
5. Detroit Lions – DE Ziggy Ansah, BYU
6. Cleveland Browns – DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
7. Arizona Cardinals – G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
8. St. Louis Rams (trade) – WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia (right team, wrong spot = half credit)
9. New York Jets – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
10. Tennessee Titans – G Chance Warmack, Alabama
11. San Diego Chargers – T DJ Fluker, Alabama
12. Oakland Raiders (trade) – CB DJ Hayden, Houston
13. New York Jets – DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
14. Carolina Panthers – DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
15. New Orleans Saints – S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
16. Buffalo Bills (trade) – QB EJ Manuel, Florida State
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
18. San Francisco 49ers (trade) – S Eric Reid, LSU
19. New York Giants – T Justin Pugh, Syracuse
20. Chicago Bears – G Kyle Long, Oregon
21. Cincinnati Bengals – TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
22. Atlanta Falcons (trade) – CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
23. Minnesota Vikings – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
24. Indianapolis Colts – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
25. Minnesota Vikings – CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
26. Green Bay Packers – DE Datone Jones, UCLA
27. Houston Texans – WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
28. Denver Broncos – DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
29. Minnesota Vikings (trade) – WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
30. St. Louis Rams (trade) – LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
31. Dallas Cowboys (trade) – C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
32. Baltimore Ravens – S Matt Elam, Florida