There are plenty of questions surrounding the 2009 Kansas City Chiefs going into training camp. Not the least of which is if they can contend for a playoff spot. Vinnie Iyer of SportingNews.com has targeted eight teams that could be primed to go from worst to first in their division this season and the Chiefs are among them.
Last year, the magic first-year front office and coach combination was Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith in Atlanta. Can Scott Pioli pay immediate dividends outside of New England, teamed up with Parcellian protégé Todd Haley? Sure, but it might be limited to challenging for a wild card in a division that’s been owned by San Diego of late.
With Matt Cassel taking over quarterback and working to learn Haley’s scheme, along with a change to the 3-4 defense, it’s a major transition in power, personnel and philosophy. It’s also important to remember, however, that the trifecta of new GM, new coach and new quarterback worked wonders in Miami, Atlanta and Baltimore last season.
For the few people riding the “Playoffs in ’09” bandwagon, this will be their rallying cry. I’m far from ready to consider the Chiefs playoff contenders right now, but if they do make a run it will have to be in the division, not as a wild card, as Iyer believes.
The Chiefs greatest hope right now is that the AFC West shakes out similar to the way it did last season when 8-8 took the crown. With Denver likely to take a step back and the Raiders … Well, still being the Raiders, the Chiefs target should be the situation the Broncos were in last year with 8 wins and a chance to win the division. It took 11 and 12 wins, respectively, to take home the AFC wild card last season and there’s no reason to believe it will take any less this coming season.