If you have been listening to the news around the NFL you may think this is a very silly question. The Kansas City Chiefs can’t possibly compete with the Denver Broncos! I have read that KC will have to wait till Peyton Manning retires before they will have a shot at the number 1 spot in the AFC West. You maybe right although you maybe wrong.
The Chiefs have put together quite a team this offseason. Denver added Wes Welker but KC turned right around and said “We’ll see your Wes Welker and raise you a Sean Smith and a Dunta Robinson.” What do the signings of Smith and Robinson mean to Manning? It’s not going to be that easy anymore.
Last year Manning was able to exploit the KC secondary due to only having Brandon Flowers on one side but really no one to cover the other side of the field. This caused Safety Eric Berry to play deep and cover almost the entire backfield to prevent the “Big Play”. The slot receiver was almost always open due to not having a good covering Free Safety.
This year Manning will have to look at two very good covering Corners on both sides of the field in Flowers and Smith. He will also have to work against a good covering Free Safety in Dunta Robinson. This combination will take away his outside routs as well as his over the middle routs. Eric Berry will have the ability to roam all over the field. Manning will have to account for that when he throws the ball hap haphazardly down field.
Why will Manning throw the ball haphazardly down field you ask? Because he has one of the best pass rushing attacks in the NFL coming after him on every play. New Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton has already said he is going to install a more aggressive 3-4 defense in KC, which means that Tamba Hali and Justin Houston will be sniffing down Manning’s throat on every play. This aggressiveness will significantly cut down the time that Peyton has to throw the ball. Let’s be honest if you give a good QB all day to throw the ball he can pick your secondary apart no matter how good it is.
Let us also not forget that the Chiefs beefed up their defensive line this year as well. Returning to the line up will be the big NT Dontari Poe and Tyson Jackson. Poe will be entering his second year and has knocked the cobwebs off his game. Look for Poe to be the anchor to collapsing pockets and stuffing the runs up the middle. The Chiefs added through free agency big DE Mike DeVito which will supply that little extra push up front. Bronco offensive lineman will be to busy with this front to be able to get to the second level on run plays and being overpowered by them on pass plays to be able to block Hali, Houston, and don’t forget about Derrick Johnson.
The way it is looking there are not too many holes in KC’s defense. I really only see one that I am a little concerned about, who will be that other inside linebacker playing next to Derrick Johnson? Look for this to be answered in the 2013 Draft or maybe a late pickup in Free Agency.
So can KC compete against Manning? I think they have a really good shot, but we will only know when they finally meet on the field. I like their chances as it stands right now.