Sunday mornings during football season are a high-speed collision of gameday rituals, bold predictions, and pregame jitters. In the offseason, we opt to take it slow and recap the week that was.
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Lead Writer – @ChiefsFocus
There are a lot of good ways to start your week, but for everyone it starts with getting Sunday morning off on the right foot. The definition of a nice Sunday morning changes as you get older. In college and your early 20s, Sunday’s are used almost solely as a recovery day. Maybe suck down some Pedialyte before meeting some of your friends for brunch, limping through mimosas and setting yourself up for a crippling case of the Sunday scaries later in the day.
Getting into your 30s and 40s likely means some of the peace in your life has shifted as kids enter the picture, but for some of those years I hope you have to opportunity to enjoy the tranquility of sleeping in without a hangover and enjoying a cup of coffee with nothing to do other than try to get your life in order and enjoying your significant other if that’s your thing.
Our more experienced readers, those in their 50s and up, probably enjoy a nice cup of bean juice while reading their favorite weekly publication. I can’t necessarily relate to this because I just scroll Twitter and slowly rot my brain way, but I know my dad is a fan of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Sunday editions. If Kansas City had a commendable weekly publication I’d probably start checking that out on my Sunday mornings, but it appears this city is all out of those.
As of this Sunday, Mother’s Day Sunday 2022 – which I will expand on later in this blog, we are 18 weeks away from the first Sunday of the NFL season. That means, as I astutely pointed out on Twitter on Thursday, that we are exactly 1 (one) football season away from the NFL schedule getting underway. While that seems like a long time to wait, I challenge you to consider how quickly each football season flies by. Sure, time passes quickly when football is here, but May will be over before you can even blink, then summer will inevitably disappear without a trace sooner than we all would like it to. Once that happens – it’s here.
With football season being a football season away – I can’t decide if I like that designation or not, but I’m sticking with it for this week at least – I invite you to join me on the maiden voyage of the Chiefs Focus Bacon, Egg and Chiefs Sunday wrap up. Over the course of the next 18 Sundays, we’ll reflect on the week that was, look forward to the week ahead, and give our high-level thoughts on the state of the 2022 Chiefs as the offseason progresses. All leading up to the kickoff of the 2022 regular season in a year where Kansas City is primed to make another run at the AFC Championship and Super Bowl 57.
So let’s start there : how do the Chiefs looks going into 2022?
By now we all know that the sky has fallen multiple times in Kansas City this offseason. It’s remarkable that it’s actually still in tact after having caved in so many times. Inactivity in free agency and the Tyreek Hill trade left much of the fanbase in shambles, doubting the leadership in the organization with some so shortsightedly calling for General Managers Brett Veach’s job early in the spring.
Fortunately for Chiefs Kingdom – and more importantly the Kansas City Chiefs organization – no such hasty decisions were made. Brett Veach rightfully maintained his employment status with the team, and commenced in putting together a NFL Draft performance that looks like it is going to be a success. We ultimately will not know until we see the rookies take the field at training camp in St. Joe in August and ultimately take the field in real game action in September, but on paper Veach perfectly blended needs and wants, rejuvenating a defensive unit that was close to aging itself out of competitiveness and bolstering an offensive unit that needed only a couple pieces to feel lethal again.
But are the Chiefs better than they were in 2021? That remains to be seen. In theory, an offense with Travis Kelce, Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, and Skyy Moore with Daurice Fountain, Josh Gordon, Cornell Powell, and Justyn Ross waiting in the wings to take snaps feels a lot more stable than Kelce/Tyreek Hill/Hardman/Pringle/Robinson. In all reality Pringle, Robinson, and what we saw of year 3 Mecole Hardman early on last season were players more fit for the latter group that I mentioned up front (guys competing for snaps) than they were the former (guys who will actually get snaps). The receiving corps feels deeper at the moment, which should lead to Patrick Mahomes being able to play a little more backyard ball and distribute the touches more evenly in 2022.
In the running game you have 3 new, crucial pieces – rookies Darian Kinnard and Isiah Pacheco, and veteran free agent signing Ronald Jones. Kinnard brings a road grader mentality to an offensive line that wasn’t short on that last year, and Pacheco and Jones will bolster the backfield’s versatility in both the running and passing game. This not only gives Patrick Mahomes more weapons, it gives Andy Reid and the offensive staff more levers to pull from a playcalling standpoint.
Defensively there are more questions than answers still, but when you fill the room with young studs, chances are some of them are going to hit. There is still a very, very good veteran nucleus returning to the Chiefs defense in 2022. L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, Juan Thornhill, Nick Bolton, Willie Gay, Frank Clark, and Chris Jones are all back. Say what you will about Frank Clark, he has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny because of how much he’s been paid compared to how much he’s produced, but he was a lynchpin in the 2019-2020 Super Bowl run, and played through injuries last season on a unit that had some extremely questionable personnel decisions being made around him. I look for the Shark to make quite the bounce back in 2022.
Take those ingredients and mix them up with an extremely talented youth infusion – George Karlaftis on the edge, Leo Chenal on Death Row with Bolton and Gay (and Jermaine Johnson, who many have forgotten about), and throw Trent McDuffie, Bryan Cook, Joshua Williams, Nazeeh Johnson, and Jaylen Watson along with newcomers Justin Reid and Lonnie Johnson into the mix, you’ve got a room full of players competing for just a few spots. Competition breeds excellence, and the Chiefs secondary should but in a much better spot in 2022 than they were in 2021.
So the offensive in theory should be better in 2022. The defense almost certainly looks to be an improved unit. What could sure these things up and cement the confidence of Chiefs Kingdom going into 2022? Well, there are still plenty of veteran wide receivers available in free agency, as well as interior defensive lineman. Those two positions could still be considered a need – especially defensive tackle. I’d look for Brett Veach to make some moves along the inside of the defensive line, but it may not be until we start seeing camp casualties become available from other teams.
The Week That Was
We looked back on a crazy NFL Draft from several different perspectives :
Alright, this one was way too long. For those of you who have followed along with me in my 9 months with Chiefs Focus, you know that I tend to be a little wordy. Sometimes it’s work reading the whole thing, sometimes it’s not. But I want to thank you for sticking with it and sticking with us.
While I love all our readers, I want to show some extra love to all who are Mothers today. Thank you for defining selflessness, for leading, and for showing all of us how to love unconditionally. My mother always encouraged me to be a leader and not a follower, to be creative and use my gifts in a productive way, to work hard, and to walk through this life with love and empathy over everything. I know I haven’t done it as well as she has, but to have her example and her words with me daily has made me a better man than I could have ever dreamt of being.
Mom, I love you – and to all the mothers out there – Happy Mother’s Day from me, and all of us here at Chiefs Focus.