Welcome to the first Know Thy Enemy post of 2010. I'll be using the same format as Fooch for this year's version, but feel free to let me know if there's something else you'd like to see in these articles.
This week will focus on the Kansas City Chiefs. Their fans always leave great comments on my posts, so I'm excited that we're starting this series with them.
Earlier this off-season I wrote up a free agency preview, and a free agency update covering Kansas City. Those will help get you up to speed on the team, but I highly recommend that you visit SB Nation's own Arrowhead Pride for more details on the Chiefs.
In 2009, the club was able to double their win total from the previous season. Head coach Todd Haley led the team to a 4-12 record in his first year at the helm. Kansas City defeated the Redskins, Raiders, Steelers, and Broncos en route to last place in the AFC West.
Still, there is reason to be hopeful about the future.
The Chiefs have added two experienced assistant coaches at the offensive and defensive coordinator positions. Charlie Weiss will be running the offense, while Romeo Crennel has replaced Clancy Pendergast on the defensive side of the ball. Kansas City has a relatively young team, and adding two very knowledgeable assistant coaches will certainly go a long way towards coaching them up properly.
In addition to improving the coaching staff, General Manager Scott Pioli has added some talented play makers to the roster this off-season. The team boasts one of the leagues' most dynamic tandems in Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster. Both of these players are capable of breaking off a big play at any moment.
On defense, the secondary is expected to be much improved with the addition of Eric Berry at safety. The continued development of Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr is another positive in the defensive backfield.
Continue reading after the jump...
Thomas Jones was signed as a free agent. He and Jamaal Charles should make for an effective backfield duo. Meanwhile the offensive line will return largely intact, with the addition of 3rd round pick Jon Asamoah at guard. The Chiefs do still have a weakness at wide receiver, but Dexter McCluster should help.
Defensively, Javier Arenas was added via the draft. He is expected to solidify the team's nickel back position. The team added two other players to their secondary during the 2010 NFL Draft, 5th overall pick Eric Berry and Mississippi free safety Kendrick Lewis. With improved coverage, the club is hoping that their front seven will be able to get to opposing quarterbacks more often.
The Chiefs have shed a lot of dead weight since Haley and Pioli came aboard, but they have not lost anybody of note since trading tight end Tony Gonzalez last April.
While this is not really a subtraction, Kansas City did miss an opportunity to upgrade their nose tackle position when they passed on Terrence Cody in the 2nd round. The Chief's defense ranked 31st in Run Defense DVOA last season. They will rely on incumbents Ron Edwards and Glenn Dorsey, as well as un-drafted free agent Garrett Brown to solidify the interior of the defensive line.
2010 Questions and Answers
Is Matt Cassell a franchise quarterback? He certainly is being paid like one, but Cassell struggled in his first year with the team. He was often criticized for holding on to the ball too long, something that he'll need to improve upon in 2010.
Are Glenn Dorsey and Tyson
Chandler Jackson busts? While it is true that defensive linemen sometimes take a while to develop at the NFL level, the franchise would certainly like to see improved production out of Dorsey and Chandler. Especially Dorsey, who is the more experienced of the two. He is expected to see some time at nose tackle this season.
How will Jamaal Charles' production be affected by the acquisition of Thomas Jones? Jones has been a perennial workhouse throughout his career, while Charles is just beginning to fulfill his untapped potential. My guess is that there will be plenty of carries to split up between these two players, and that both will be productive in their roles.
San Francisco will travel to Kansas City during week three of the upcoming NFL season. This match-up is scheduled right in between two tough games against the Saints and the Falcons. With that being said this game, along with week one against Seattle, becomes very important if the team is going to get off to a fast start.
While you can never take an NFL opponent lightly, especially on the road, on paper this looks like a win for the 49ers. The Chiefs are improving, but San Francisco has the overall edge as far as talent goes. Kansas City may have an advantage when you compare the two coaching staffs, but ultimately it's the players on the field who decide the games and I believe the 49ers' roster is superior to that of the Chiefs.