When a fellow MHRer suggested I write about the chiefs, my first reaction was to cringe. However, I am subjected to KC's sports talk radio constantly and know more about the chiefs than I ever wanted to. Thus, I suppose it is my duty as an MHR participant to survey the enemy. For my own sanity and because these franchises underwent similar changes, I will change the chiefs to the Broncos.
There are a number of similarities between the chiefs and broncos at this time. Both teams have undergone drastic roster changes - 30 players or so each - both have new starting quarterbacks, both have new general managers and both have new coaches. Essentially, Clark Hunt and Pat Bowlen have scorched the earth at the same time. What their anointed leaders achieve going forward will, no doubt, shape their legacy. One point lost in all this though is how clearly this situation draws a line between these two teams. Too often, it's easy to say, "Well, the chiefs under coach A were better than the broncos under coach B because coach A had all of these established players . . . he was set up for success . . . they took over at different times etc." In this case, the number of wins / losses and most importantly super bowls, will be a clear measuring stick of who was better. McD v. Haley. In my opinion, it will be us v. the chefs for the division for the next 10 - 15 years.
2) Change of leadership:
As mentioned above, the Broncos and Chiefs both hired head coaches who are on young (33, 40), unproven offensive coordinators. Both come, in some way, from the Parcels coaching tree - Pioli is actually Parcels' son in law. Both emphasize team over individual. Both have clashed with their respective locker rooms and the stars within those respective locker rooms (Haley w/ veteran O-Lineman Brian Waters and Dwayne Bowe).
We all know McD. Haley is more abrasive. He is tough, mean and no nonsense. He reminds me more of Parcels than McD. In KC, they love him, which I think is partially because of Herm Edwards' nice guy losing ways. They were ready for a guy like Todd Haley, even if the guy is an a-hole. Both orgainizations tell the media as little as possible and both GM's are to stay in the background. This may be surprising to some, given how prominent Pioli is; however, he is no more visible in KC than Xanders is in Denver - although Pioli is discussed much more. From what I can glean, the collaborative relationships are similar, between coach and GM; although, I think McD has more say than Haley. But remember what Parcels said, "If I'm going to cook, why shouldn't I be able to buy the groceries?"
One of the funniest things is that they both say the EXACT same thing with regard to what kind of football player they want - tough, big, smart, physical football players prepared to play under pressure . . . although I think the chiefs, not broncos say "big." Also both coaches stress situational practices. The similarities are striking, from their practice styles and having the players hit and wear pads throughout training camp, to clashes with their respective talented immature wideouts - B.Marsh and D.Bowe.
The chiefs are a different team, but still the same in many ways. The O-line is different. They have LT Albert, LG Waters, C Niswonger, RG Mike Goff (formerly of the Chargers), RT Ndukew. Niswonger is aweful, but they have improved. At wideout, they have D.Bowe and Mark Bradley, with Sean Ryan, not Brad Cottam, at TE. Matt Cassel of course, at QB LJ at tailback and Mike Cox at FB - yes his name is Mike Cox.
On defense, they're starting Tank Tyler at nose, Tyson Jackson at 5-technique and Glen Dorsey at the other DE. Vrabel and Tamba Hali at OLB, Cori Mays and Domorrio Williams at ILB, Mike Brown and John McGraw at Safety and Flowers and Carr at CB.
My impressions: Their o-line is better but still vulnerable. Their D-line will be a lot better. Cori Mays is a beast at ILB but Hali has been slow to transition to OLB - much slower than Elvis. Mike Brown is really good if he can stay healthy - which is why Chicago let him go. Carr and Flowers are good, especially Flowers. He is physical, fast and looks like he could really take off this year. One surprise was Brad Cottam. He must not be able to block for crap or I'd figure he'd have been starting by this time.
Overall, the chiefs are better than they were a year ago - no question. I still feel that the broncos are better. First, we have a far superior O-line. Second, we have waaaaay more weapons. Depth at WR is a HUGE issue for the chiefs. They even got so desperate as to bring in Ashley Lelee - who they wisely cut. But past Bowe, they really have nothing at WR; whereas we go at least 5 deep. I just don't think Cassell can be successful there this year w/ no pass protection and no weapons. My prediction is he's out by week 6 - no way he survives that.
Their schedule, like ours, is brutal. I listened to a sports talk segment the other day that predicted between 3 and 6 wins. If I had to make a call, I'd go with 4-12.