If there was one constant within the Chiefs nation after their embarrassing home playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans last January, many felt like I did, when would be able to collectively discard our walk of shame for a franchise that can’t get out of its own way year after year?
I’m not much into predicting the future. The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs appear to have a new swagger thanks to the emergence of Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Entering his 20th season, Head Coach, Andy Reid, also appears to be in a better place thanks to the brash and bold roster work done by his General Manager, Brett Veach.
Still, a part of me feels snake bitten. I want to believe in the trio of Mahomes, Reid and Veach, but there’s always a reservation. Yet, as we hit the middle of May and training camp is still two months away, the internal and national meter for the Chiefs appears to be on the rise.
To date, KC’s off-season has been stellar. Free agent additions, trades and a solid, but not sexy NFL Draft, have reshuffled the Chiefs roster into a collection of players, that have a vast range of skills that could be a force in the AFC West or they could be a bust.
The beauty about the roster turnover led by Veach, there are no absolutes in the NFL. Though one could argue the absolute in KC’s defense last year was its age and inability to stop teams on third down.
Some five months later the entire defense has been interjected with youth that Veach hand selected to restore order. Though, questions remain if the direction KC’s GM took will pay off, but he had little choice considering that side of the football had been broken and ignored by the previous regime.
On the flip side, the readiness of Mahomes to guide KC’s offense remains the biggest challenge facing this franchise. Though I believe he’s going to be the next Tom Brady, the kid QB has one NFL start under his belt.
As we gear up for mini-camp, the book on Mahomes around the NFL ranges from – he’s the most unlikely player to excel in year two of his NFL tenure – to a fantasy sleeper. So, which is it for Mahomes?
Honestly, I could see both. It’s only human, despite the fact we want to believe otherwise, Mahomes is going to struggle at times. He’s going to make throws we’ve never seen before, and he will make Alex Smith mistakes throwing into coverages with no hope of success.
If we are being true with ourselves, playoff expectations, winning the AFC West and finishing above the .500 barrier are all goals this team can achieve in 2018. However, does this franchise have the chops to set aside their troubled past and wash away the stink of their playoff failures under Reid?
To me that’s the biggest question.
There’s a reason the Cleveland Browns continue to battle for the top pick in the NFL Draft year in and year out. There’s a similar reason the Chiefs continue to lose in the playoffs, both franchises possess a losing culture they’ve been unable to shake.
Granted both teams are under new management with former Chiefs GM, John Dorsey running the Browns and Veach guiding the Chiefs, but both have much to prove in 2018. In this contest, the Chiefs are a vastly better football team than the Browns.
In the end, as we get set for more OTA sessions this month, and the potential for more roster additions with June 1st cuts upcoming, that sinking feeling of potential failure in the pit of my stomach regarding my beloved Chiefs, appears to be disappearing with each passing day.
I can’t quite put my finger on why that is because Mahomes alone isn’t the answer. But there is no doubt this franchise, as a whole, is not the same team ended the season last year with yet another and done post season loss.
Still, much has to happen for a magical carpet ride into the Super Bowl sunset in the next three years for Kansas City. So, I can only conclude one item that allows me to shed doubt, and turn it into optimism, it’s ok to be a Chiefs fan again!