I’m starting to get a really bad feeling about this Chiefs season. Yes, as a Kansas City sports fan it’s natural to be pessimistic and see the worst in everything, but I have some specific issues that have me worried.
1) The Chiefs are REALLY thin on the offensive line. Letting Branden Albert walk in free agency was a big mistake, but now we’ve lost Donald Stephenson for four games due to a PED violation, and Eric Fisher still doesn’t seem to have figured out the NFL. The Chiefs gave up five sacks to the Vikings, and that was without Jared Allen. This is not a good sign at all and leads us to #2:
2) Alex Smith does not look like himself. He threw two interceptions in the red zone against the Vikings and on one he was looking for Kelce so longingly that I thought he might propose rather than throw him the ball. I’ve seen that with other Chiefs quarterbacks as well. Travis Kelce has been so impressive that all the quarterbacks seem to zero in on him as a target and never look away. This might correct itself once Dwayne Bowe (who will also miss the first game of the season) is back in the mix, but right now our quarterbacks don’t seem to be playing very well. The first team offense has not scored a touchdown in preseason so far.
3) The defense looks like the second half of 2013, not the first half. Giving up 30 points to the Vikings does not inspire confidence, particularly after giving up nearly that many to the Panthers. The Chiefs’ desire to rush the passer only works if opposing QB’s can’t just throw over the DB’s heads for a 50 yard completion. So far forcing the opponents into passing situations seems to be backfiring.
4) The injury bug seems to be catching. Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Dwayne Bowe, Joe Mays, Mike DeVito, Mike Catapano, and Junior Hemingway all missed the third preseason game against the Vikings. The third preseason game is supposed to be the dress rehearsal for the season. A struggling offense missing key game speed practice time is not good.
5) I’m actually not that down on the Chiefs’ schedule. They seem to have four built in losses in the Broncos games and games against the Patriots, 49ers and Seahawks, but even losing all those leaves 11 winnable games. If the Chiefs can win 9 or 10 of those they will be in the postseason hunt. I’m concerned, however, that they seem unable to beat the Chargers which would drop them to a maximum of 9 wins. That leaves very little margin for error unless the Chiefs can beat the Chargers at least once or pull off an upset or two, along with winning all the games they should win. If they keep playing the way they’ve been playing during the preseason, none of those things seem very likely at all.