Oof What’s Next?

Can the Chiefs come back and claim what’s theirs?

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chiefs Focus @ChiefsFcous Jake White @jakewhite58

Oof… That’s the only explanation, feeling, thought I had after the Cincinnati Bengals won on a last-minute field goal to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.  I was heartbroken and mad, like a child who has gotten everything they wanted the past 4 years, and this year my pile of presents was one short.

Oof, but maybe, just maybe, we can come back from this.

This season had turbulence, mistrust, excitement, new nicknames, and heartbreak.  Through week 7 could we trust the Chiefs to put together a decent football game?  The defense was more than a liability. They were a downright sham.  Every time an opponent threw a deep pass, you knew either it was a penalty, a big gain, or a Dan Sorenson allowed touchdown.  The pass rush was non-existent, and our perennial stars Mathieu and Jones were non-factors.  On the other side of the ball, Mahomes was having the worst stretch of his still-young career.  He had thrown 9 interceptions, his missed throws were more apparent, and the Mahomes Magic that we have grown accustomed to had seemingly disappeared.

After a disheartening loss to the Titans, we saw what the Chiefs could become and have been in the previous years.  A bottle of lightning on offense and bend-but-don’t-break defense that cause timely turnovers.  The Chiefs went on an 8-game winning streak, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals, in what has become a theme, a game-winning field goal.

Following the close game with Cincinnati, the Chiefs only beat one team by more than a touchdown, the Ben Roethlisberger-retirement tour Steelers.  Then came the “Grim Reaper”, “over-My-Dead-Body”, “:13 Seconds” game against the Buffalo Bills. 

A game that should have ended the season, and many Chiefs fans are sitting today wishing it had.  But… can we come back from this?

Unlike in 2018 when the Chiefs lost a close on to the New England Patriots, and Mahomes was coming off his MVP season.  That 2019 offseason was filled with hope, determination.  Not only was Kansas City motivated to return to the AFC Championship Game, but they also needed the world to know that they belonged.  In 2019, being NFL Super Bowl Champions, the theme was bringing the team back together and Brett Veech did that. All 32 starters came back and started our return tour. In 2020 after the collapse of the offensive line and the hero performance in the Super Bowl, we rebuilt a brand-new offensive line into a top 5 ranked unit in the League.

This offseason brings a little more darkness, a little more anger, so where do we start.  The defense? End of the regular season the Chiefs were ranked 8th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed. The definition of bend-don’t-break defense.  With the impending free agents’ list lead by Mathieu and Ward, the Chiefs also need to address the pass rush.  Frank Clark’s contract is expiring, and his performance this year was his worst since his rookie season in Seattle.  Melvin Ingram has been a breath of fresh air for the team, but going into age 33, he is not a long-term answer.  Other players like Ward, Reed, and Nnadi will also need to be looked at to see how they will fit into the Chiefs’ plans. Also on the offensive end, we have an impending large contract for Orlando Brown Jr.

Our defense struggled this season, and maybe we have all become accustomed to that in the Patrick Mahomes era.  But the way the offense was not able to come together was different.  Maybe a WR2 is the answer.  Mahomes felt comfortable with Sammy Watkins his first few years, and never quite gelled with Josh Gordon.  Maybe a bel-cow running back? Andy Reid has never used one and we have had success this season with our running back by committee and McKinnon’s resurgence this postseason was desperately needed.

I won’t sit here and tell you I have all the answers because every offseason Brett Veech has proven me wrong.  We have more Cap space this year, I think the Chiefs’ chip on their shoulder will be bigger and we all know Patrick Lavon Mahomes is petty.  This season won’t go unanswered and I expect a revenge tour 2023 to be in full effect.

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