Yes, the start of training camps is two months away, but it’s never too early to consider the coming season. A look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the Chiefs in 2012.
Dream scenario (10-6): Kansas City’s roster is much stronger than it was in 2011, when the Chiefs were riddled with key injuries. Kansas City lost franchise building blocks like Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki very early. If such young players can return to where they were pre-injury to go along with an extremely strong offseason for Kansas City, this roster could be one of the most talented and deepest in the NFL. Despite a gaping hole at right tackle, the Chiefs’ pass blocking was pretty strong in 2011, but the run blocking was suspect. Kansas City has upgraded dramatically at that spot with the addition of Eric Winston, so expect the front five to excel this season. Another area where Kansas City could rather easily improve is on special teams, where overall they struggled quite a bit in 2011. Based on last year’s opponents’ winning percentage, the Chiefs have the easiest schedule in the AFC West by a narrow margin over Oakland. To me, the Chiefs ceiling this year is winning the division and maybe a playoff game or two.
Nightmare scenario (7-9): When discussing the Chiefs’ roster, which overall I am very high on, I failed to mention the quarterback position. Matt Cassel is not a bad quarterback, but he certainly isn’t a difference-maker either. In fact, Kansas City is possibly the weakest team in the AFC West at the most important position on the field -- although a case could be made for the Raiders for that distinction. Also, there is little behind Cassel if he should fall to injury, as he did a year ago. That in itself puts a low ceiling on what this team might be able to ultimately accomplish in 2012. Also, will those young talents return to past form after injury? Will Dontari Poe be a difference-maker in his first NFL season? Although I don’t see the Chiefs’ ceiling being as high as Denver’s, I also think their floor is in the 7-9 range unless utter disaster strikes again.