They have restored ‘Title Town' to its rightful place in society. And as happy as that makes me, I want to see Kansas City become a World Champion again. In my heart, I want to believe it. And though I've been extremely critical of the perceived family feud within the coaching staff, I am not throwing in the towel that someday the Chiefs will have a ticker tape parade in Kansas City in the next three years.
And realistically as fans, we have to believe that's how long it's going to take to restore the Chiefs as a potentially dominate AFC Contender. Truth be told, when Scott Pioli arrived a couple of years ago, he knew there was much broken about the football team he inherited from Carl Peterson.
True as that might be it really doesn't matter any longer. The Chiefs are still considered to be one of the top teams in the NFL. If you look at the NFL Power rankings after Sunday's Super Bowl, you'll find them in the neighborhood of twelfth best. And I think that's a fair spot for a team that came out of nowhere a year ago and captured their first AFC West Title since 2003.
But now the hard part comes. If Kansas City is going to compete next season against a schedule that will have them facing six teams that made the playoffs in 2010, some things have to change.
One Pioli has to spend some dollars in free agency. And I'm not talking about small time bucks but significant war chest opening cash that can garner Head Coach Todd Haley some better athletes, preferably ones that are just finishing their initial NFL contracts.
Pioli did a great job a year ago adding the likes of Thomas Jones, Casey Wiegmann, Ryan Lilja and Shaun Smith. But this year with over 500 potential free agents hitting the road, once the NFL and the Players come to a resolution of their differences, it's possible that the right free agents – could push the Chiefs to another AFC West title.
At this point it's far too early to even garner a guess as to which players Kansas City might be looking at in March. But I think it's safe to say they need another wide receiver, another outside and inside linebacker. They need another pass rusher because I think it's going to be difficult for the Chiefs to re-sign Tamba Hali. But ultimately that aside, they need a space eating nose tackle that can push back opposing offensive lines.
In the next month or so we're going to find out how serious Pioli is about giving his head coach enough tools to battle expectations and a difficult schedule. And I suspect, he'll do just that.
2. Final Thoughts on Muir - Though I don't like the move to promote offensive line coach to the title of offensive coordinator, it tells me that Haley is going to call the plays next season. At first glance, that could be a mistake. But let's be honest, Haley by taking this route, is putting the entire 2011 season on his shoulders.
Bill Muir has an opportunity to put his stamp on KC's offense in 2011.
Though most of would you would think that I'm about to say that's stupid, I actually think that's the only move he could have made in this situation.
Forget what happened at the end of the season, Haley has to do what he thinks is best for the team. And right or wrong, I and the entire Chiefs fan base has to support his decision.
I do like Muir as a coach. You don't last nearly four decades in this profession if you're not a good at your job. And regardless of where he's been or which head coach he's worked under, Muir has always had his players prepared each and every Sunday.
And just maybe that maturity will also allow Haley to listen to other ideas objectively and develop an offensive strategy that maximizes the abilities of his offensive playmakers. That means centering their offense on the games premier running back, Jamaal Charles.
If Haley and Muir can solve how many carries to give Charles and they can find another young running back to spell him from time to time, then this offense could be one of the best next season. Sure the Chiefs need another wide receiver ala Larry Fitzgerald, but there's no guarantee he'll be on the open market.
But as we saw in the Super Bowl, the Packers had a trio of receivers that had nearly identical skills and Kansas City needs to develop the same approach. And that means a guy like Dexter McCluster might be better served to back-up Charles next season and take on all the return duties.
Again I'm not 100% sold on Haley calling the shots but facing his third year on the job, and given the teams success a year ago, I give him major credit for sticking to his principles within the organization. He wants to be the man responsible for the offense and it's clear that Pioli has backed that idea.
It's very risky by both men but when you consider that Haley isn't going to be given a contract extension for the moment, he has a lot to prove. And putting the ultimate bull's-eye on his back might be the only way he can shut up his critics.
3. Romeo Crennel - If there is a silver lining on this coaching staff, I'm glad that Crennel wasn't affected by the teams end of the season failures. To me, Crennel did an incredible job this season getting the most out of his players. You could see his impact in week one against the San Diego Chargers.
Romeo Crennel brought order to KC's defense in 2010.
A week later you saw in Cleveland and that's when you realized this defense wasn't going to resemble the ‘32' defenses of the past.
In fact, Crennel managed to make the Chiefs defense average this season. And I mean that with the utmost respect.
I don't care about the last two games where things didn't go well. In each loss as a unit they did their job until fatigue and a horrific offense, ultimately did them in.
Still Crennel never stopped coaching his guys to the bitter end. In each game they played this season, the Chiefs defense showed up.
Maybe not for each of the four quarters but for most of the game. And that alone, is a remarkable achievement. Crennel likely could end up being the Head Coach someday should Haley fail. But I wouldn't want to see that. I think next to Bill Cowher he's the best defensive coordinator that Kansas City has ever had on their coaching staff.
To me he's a teacher of men. And he made a lot of boys on this roster grow up quickly. He was in my view probably the team MVP. Again referencing the Super Bowl, you must have a great team defense that plays in unison if you have aspirations of becoming a World Champion. With so many moving parts, each defender has to man-up and take responsibility for his assignment. And that's why the Packers won the game on Sunday.
The Chiefs have some extraordinary young talent, that with some veteran additions in 2011 and a bit more speed, could become down right sick in the next couple of years. And I hope when that happens in Kansas City, Crennel is still the teams defensive coordinator, because that's where he belongs.
4. 2011 Schedule - I probably won't offer my predictions on the topic until after free agency when we know what superstars might be added to the Chiefs roster. But to be honest, it's going to be difficult for Kansas City to match their 2010 win total.
Can the unanimous NFL MVP carve out another stellar season or has he peaked as a starting quarterback?
However, there are two or three swing games on the schedule that could change the Chiefs fortunes. In the AFC, the Chiefs have to travel to New England, New York to face the Jets and to Indianapolis. But all three teams could be on the decline in 2011.
The Patriots, though loaded with a plethora of draft picks this April, showed enough flaws in their post season defeat by the New York Jets, that you have to wonder how long New England Quarterback Tom Brady can play at the level he displayed in 2010. Something tells me they're going to fall back and then rebuild that roster for one more Brady run. But that won't be in 2011. I think, depending on the time of the year the two teams play, this road contest could be a highlight for the Chiefs.
The same goes for the Indianapolis Colts who proved last season that their age was their downfall. Of course they had lots of injuries but Quarterback Peyton Manning could not sustain the brilliance that preceded his own success for nearly a decade earlier. Maybe this time the Chiefs, who came close in 2010, can actually win one in Indy.
Lastly the New York Jets could be anything from outstanding to average. To say they backed into the playoffs last season isn't really fair. They won the games down the stretch and showed in the post season that they are a fiery and feared team. But they're also flawed and I'm not a big fan of Mark Sanchez. He'll be entering the third year of his NFL career and I just don't think he's going to get much better than he was in years one and two.
With those games and one at Chicago against a Bears team that may have peeked in 2010, maybe just maybe Kansas City can squeak out ten wins after all.
5. NFT: Michael Young - I know this goes against every single fiber of the Kansas City Royals roster turnover but adding Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young would be a stroke of genius by General Manager Dayton Moore.
The Kansas City Royals should kick around the idea of acquiring veteran Rangers infielder Michael Young to help with the youth movement. .
The Rangers management has botched this situation since they signed third baseman Adrian Beltre. Young is grossly over paid and overrated at his age. He's owed a boatload of cash ($48 Million) and at 34 years old, how much can be left in his tank.
But he wants out of Texas. And with the Royals and Rangers sharing their sprint training home at Surprise, Arizona, I bet Moore and his counterpart, Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels, will be discussing a variety of possible clubhouse moves that both teams could make to improve their fortunes in 2011. And I'm sure if Young is still with the Rangers in spring training, Moore will at least bring up the name and see what Daniels might really want for Young.
And if I'm Daniels and I look at the arsenal of young arms the Royals will have on display in Surprise, I might just eat all but $9 million of Young's contract to trade his unhappy infielder and hope to snatch one of the Royals young lefties.
The Royals in return wouldn't miss a beat because of all the able arms in their stable and they would get a highly motivated player, that could fill in at second base in 2011 and 2012 before Christian Colon or Johnny Giavotelli arrive on the big league campus.
Even further should Young come out of the box blazing for the Royals and continue a hot bat through July, he'd become a terrific rent a player for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers or someone else. Thus Moore might be able to add to his already stocked minor leagues.
But to me his value would be in the way he could help the young kids manage those high expectations that are going to be tracked from here on out. On the field, if Mike Moustakas opens the season at third base, Alcides Escobar starts at shortstop and Billy Butler hovers around the first base bag, a guy like Young would offer tremendous leadership on the diamond and I think he'd play a solid second base.
And should that bat come alive, think of the Royals offensive potential if Young were the batting buffer between Moustakas and Butler. Honestly I can't see this trade happening. But it's something to fodder now that the Chiefs season is on hiatus.
Still I give Moore major credits for building baseball's top Farm System and if he feels the Royals could be playing meaningful games in July this season, why not swing for the fence and land Young now for a relatively low price.
And should he do that, he'd basically be trading Meche's refund for a player that could give the Royals some quality at bats for a couple of years.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
How many years until the Chiefs can be Super Bowl champs again?
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