Training camp is right around the corner, literally. The week before business turns serious and these superb athletes go at one another’s necks, let’s have a little fun.
Look for Smith, who as of now looks like he will carry the contract talk into the season, to continue to improve. We know who Alex Smith is and what he gives this team: he will never be Manning or Brady, but he has a chance to be a very good QB.
If players like A.J. Jenkins, Weston Dressler, De’Anthony Thomas, and Travis Kelce can come in and make contributions right away, the Chiefs’ offense looks to be vastly improved. The four players mentioned above all bring something different to the table, and all have the potential to be huge assets for Smith.
Kelce is who I quite frankly am extremely high on and see a little bit of Rob Gronkowski in- he could be a game changer. This guy has every attribute a coach could dream for in a tight end, it’s time for him to put it on the field and help Smith. Smith’s predicted numbers: 3,200 yards, 24 touchdowns, 6 interceptions.
Jamaal Charles. Is there really anything else that needs to be said? This guy is dynamite, he is everything the Chiefs want in a running back, there is no further explanation needed. The offensive line will be the key.
Training camp needs to be here to see what the line make-up will look like; come camp the offensive line will be one of the hottest debated parts of this team by analysts everywhere including myself. If Brandon Albert is replaced well, which I think is fully possible, and other guys step up, Charles will do the rest.
Look for Charles to achieve around 1,600 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns with the potential of larger numbers. Look for a guy like Knile Davis to come in and spell Charles here and there to potentially eclipse the 400-500 yard mark.
Receiving: The only receiver that is on the roster that has ever proven anything is Dwayne Bowe. There seems to be a lot of potential behind him on the depth chart, but no guy has made his case yet. Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dressler, Thomas, Hemingway, and Jenkins at the receiver spot provides Andy Reid with quite the variety and quite the battle royale in camp.
Bowe should look to grab around 60-70 receptions totaling around just under the 900-yard mark with 5-6 touchdowns.
Avery should hover around the 30-40 receptions mark, so any of these other guys can step up and take the number two receiver spot away from Avery. Until one of those guys grabs the bull by the horns and asserts himself though, Avery will be the guy.
Look for Travis Kelce to have a breakout year. I would not be shocked to see Kelce end with 55-60 receptions and hover the 500-600 yard mark with 5 or so touchdowns. Kelce can be the guy, Kelce will be the guy.
Let us flip the switch to the defensive side of the ball and see who will lead the Chiefs there.
Look for Derrick Johnson to continue to be an animal. No doubt, look for him to crack the 100-tackle mark again, but he has the potential of a 110-120 tackle season with a few sacks sprinkled in.
Johnson is the leader of this defense and one of the vocal guys in the locker room. He lets his play do the talking and walks the walk.
Sacking the quarterback is always a plus, and boy does this team boast a number of sack specialists. Tamba Hali has always been the guy, but with the emergence of Justin Houston he now plays second fiddle. Look for Hali to log around 10-11 sacks and if Houston plays a full 16 games look for him to flirt with the magic number 20.
Dee Ford is a guy who will get plenty of opportunities to come in and make a name for himself and I suspect he will do just that. Do not be bogged down by raw numbers with him this season though, look for him to grow his game both on and off the field. Ford has time to mature and grow up before he is called upon to do the heavy lifting when it comes to rushing the QB.
Ford is a guy I look to get plenty of reps but will not have a eye popping season statistically, but that does not mean he won’t have a good season. Ford should grab around 5-6 sacks this year which is more than enough with Hali and Houston.
Do not get lost in Ford’s numbers, look for him to improve, and near the end of the season is where I expect him to rack up the majority of his numbers.
The secondary is another very controversial position with this team. With this controversy though comes one of the best. Eric Berry will eat this year, and eat good. I have been extremely high on Berry since day one and this is the year I look for him to absolutely explode.
Do not be surprised to see Berry’s numbers look something along these lines: 70-75 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles.
Berry, like Charles on offense, will be the dynamic playmaker on that side of the ball. This is his year to shine and shine he shall.
Special Teams is an area where the Chiefs have been very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde throughout the years.
I look for Dustin Colquitt to log around a 47-48 yard punting average which will put him in the top 8 or so in the league in punters.
The return game has potential to be something very, very special, special enough where Chiefs fans will have to pinch themselves because they will be thinking they’re re-watching Dante Hall. De’Anthony Thomas, DAT for short, has the potential to be the next great thing. DAT is a playmaker, that’s what Thomas does. Skeptical? Please feel free to take a gander at this stud the Chiefs got.
Thomas is lightning in a bottle, and when he strikes you remember it. If and when Thomas is returning punts and or kickoffs, look for him to be in the upper echelon of the league in every return category.
Kicking will be an adventure. As I have written in a previous article the kicking job is not as firmly in Ryan Succop‘s hands as an average fan would believe. Cairo Santos has impressed quite a few people in his short time there with his boomer of a leg, Santos is here to stick around and kick around.
After a little time in training camp I will have a better indication of just how serious this is and have a more realistic idea of the projected kicking numbers for the season, but until then let the competition begin.