Scouting the Enemy: Kansas City Chiefs

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Hello folks, with football season underway, I wanted to get a better impression on what the new look Chiefs will bring to the table in 2013. Watching the first portion of their preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints, here are my initial impressions. Keep in mind I'm only providing analysis on the 1's.

Offense

Alex Smith was impressive and seems to have a pretty good grasp on Andy Reid's offense. He kept his eyes downfield and snapped back to his outlet receiver when nothing was there. He faced pressure several times and each time his ability to move around, scramble, buy more time, and most importantly make smart decisions really impressed. At one point he completed 6 straight passes utilizing both his TE's and outlet receivers to move the chains.

Scheme-wise, the Chiefs employed mostly 12 and 11 personnel with most of the 11 looks coming out of shotgun. Anthony Fasano and rookie Kelce will have a vital part in the offense and given our LB's struggles in coverage, I see this as a mismatch going the Chiefs way. They used a lot of bunch and trips formations to one side or the other to try and create mismatches. Dexter McCluster was used exclusively as a WR. Speaking of who will have a vital role in the offense...

Charles is in charge. The Chiefs only offensive drive with the 1's spanned the course of 14 plays. Jamaal Charles touched the ball on 8 of them capping off his impressive showing. He is another versatile RB that can be flexed out as a WR and on one occasion they did precisely that with the FB remaining behind as an outlet. Jamaal is very impressive and will have a huge year statistically if this first look is any indication. He was the focal point finishing with 5 carries for 13 yards and a TD, and 3 catches for 27 yards. His rushing numbers don't do him justice, he was decisive, quick, and ran with purpose.

Tempo--we're not the only ones in the division who can speed up the game. The Chiefs used the no huddle throughout their initial drive and the speed was very impressive. I didn't note any penalties or miscommunications so the players seem to be on the same page as well.

Gone is the day of boring old Matt Cassell/Brady Quinn led Chiefs offenses that will run, run, then checkdown on 3rd and long (you know when not giving up a sack or throwing an INT) Their offense will be the most improved squad in the AFC West in 2013.

Defense

I was less impressed with this group. The secondary is still vulnerable. Brandon Flowers was beat deep early by some no name Saints receiver. Lucky for him the schmuck dropped the ball. I didn't note a lot of pressure when the Chiefs weren't blitzing, and Brees was seemingly able to find mismatches in that secondary.

Their run defense struggled a bit early on but I did note Dontari Poe making a couple of impressive athletic plays in both run support and in the rush. Scheme-wise Bob Sutton will bring some interesting blitzes and pressures once the regular season starts. Last year the Chiefs under Romeo played a very bland and run of the mill 3-4 with a bend but don't break philosophy. This year, the Chiefs defense will be far more aggressive.

On one 3rd down play, they lined up in a "psycho front" eventually bringing some sort of zone blitz (I think) that successfully freed up Tamba Hali on the edge. Poe also came free from the middle and provided the sort of interior pass rush pressure that most teams covet. The play should have been intentional grounding but wasn't called.

Special Teams

Dexter McCluster impressed in the return game and will be a threat to any coverage unit in 2013.

Wrap-Up

This team will provide legitimate competition for the Broncos all season. I'm not saying they are good enough to challenge for the division quite yet, but this team is no laughing matter and shouldn't be taken lightly. They are significantly improved on the offensive side of the ball and Alex Smith should be the 2nd best QB in the division behind Peyton Manning. Expect some entertaining and closely fought games with the Chiefs in 2013.

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