NFL 2012 Season Preview: The AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs

In Week 1 of the NFL season, several Kansas City Chiefs will be back in meaningful action for the first time in a long time. RB Jamaal Charles, TE Tony Moeaki, QB Matt Cassell and S Eric Berry cannot wait to put the injuries of 2011 behind them.

All are healthy and extremely happy about it:

It was good just to be on the field again and running the ball again in a real live game,” he said. “It was great to be out there with my teammates.

— Jamaal Charles, KC Running Back 

2011 wrap-up:

  1. Basically, the injury report was last season.
  2. Dexter McCluster remains an explosive weapon at both scatback and WR. If only he didn’t look so fragile.
  3. Matt Cassel isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking he’s Tm Brady, but he’s solid when healthy and far better than the current backups Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi. Cassel was 5-of-6 throws for 67 and a nice touch TD pass to new rusher Peyton Hillis in the first preseason game. And that performance was while WR Dwayne Bowe was still absent.

2012 offseason:

  1. Romeo Crennel made his defense happy by being named the new head coach.
  2. Dwayne Bowe didn’t report until August 17th. He held out against the franchise tender and then signed it anyway. He has a new offensive system and two weeks to learn it. Terrific.
  3. Power rusher Peyton Hillis came over after a season in Cleveland that soured both parties.
  4. Dontari Poe was drafted at NT after a brilliant combine performance that almost put him into a starting role for which he was not ready. The man is 346 lbs and ran the 40-yard dash in under five seconds. Fortunately, veteran Anthony Toribio landed the first-team position (at least thus far) and thus bought Poe time to mature.
  5. 2012 brings a new offensive system under incoming OC Brian Daboll.
  6. Second-year LB Justin Houston is getting some buzz.
  7. Cornerback Brandon Carr is now trying to give life-support to the Cowboys secondary, so things will need to shake out a bit opposite Brandon Flowers. Former Raider Stanford Routt is replacing him. Not sure that is exactly an apples-to-apples situation. Dallas got the better end of this offseason wheeling and dealing. (To be fair, he was seen staying late to tutor some of the younger DBs.)

Storylines:

  1. Matt Cassel has the arm. If only he could be more consistent, he’d remind us all why he was hired.
  2. Rookie WR/return specialist Devon Wylie should be a welcome dash of speed, while fellow first-year man Brandon Kinnie has made some impressively athletic catches. Dwayne Bowe was wise to show up since sophomore Jon Baldwin is making routine circus catches this summer. Remember, before Jerome Simpson went all gymnastics, there was Baldwin’s behind-the-back grab.
  3. Will Peyton Hills rebound to the form that placed him on the cover of Madden 2011? Probably.
  4. Eric Berry is back and just might be turning into a combination of Troy Polamalu and Bob Sanders. Be afraid, AFC West offenses.
  5. Linebacker is the unknown super nova-level star in the NFL. Will this be the year that we stop talking about Bill Belichick’s genius long enough to notice?
More AFC West Preseason Previews:
More AFC Preseason Previews:
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