Midseason Report: Kansas City Chiefs
November, 6, 2013
By Adam Teicher | ESPN.com
The ultimate grade for any team at this point of the NFL season is defined not by A's, B's or C's but W's and L's. Grading on that curve, the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL’s last unbeaten team, are at the head of the class.
That’s not to say everything is working well in Kansas City. Offensively, the Chiefs are getting by while the Chiefs have often dominated with their defense.
GRADING THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
|Quarterbacks||Alex Smith's passing has room for improvement, but the Chiefs wouldn't be undefeated without his scrambling skills. Smith certainly hasn't messed up a good thing for the Chiefs. He has thrown just four interceptions and hasn't lost a fumble.|
|Running Backs||The Chiefs have squeezed about all they can from Jamaal Charles, who leads the Chiefs in rushing, receptions and touchdowns. Fullback Anthony Sherman has been solid as a receiver and lead blocker. The Chiefs had hoped they would be getting more by this point from rookie Knile Davis.|
|Wide Receivers||This is shaping up to be Dwayne Bowe's worst NFL season, which comes immediately after the Chiefs gave him a lucrative, long-term contract. Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster have had their moments but not enough of them.|
|Tight Ends||This position has been devastated by injuries. Only Anthony Fasano remains from the group the Chiefs thought they would have and even he missed four games. Young Sean McGrath has been a nice find.|
|Offensive Line||Underachieving for the talent level. Rookie right tackle Eric Fisher, the first pick in this year's draft, has struggled at many times, particularly in pass protection. He needs an offseason in the weight room to be better equipped to handle NFL pass-rushers.|
|Defensive Line||Nose tackle Dontari Poe has been at the center of the defensive renaissance. His pass-rush ability has made the outside rushers effective. Ends Tyson Jackson and Mike Devito have been solid and at times spectacular against the run.|
|Linebackers||Justin Houston and Tamba Hali on the outside are among the league's top pass-rushers, but Derrick Johnson on the inside has arguably been their best defensive player. Akeem Jordan has also had an impact on running downs.|
|Secondary||The Chiefs have asked a lot of cornerbacks Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith and Marcus Cooper, often leaving them alone in coverage, and for the most part they have delivered. Four safeties play a lot and, led by Eric Berry, they've all made plays.|
|Special Teams||The Chiefs consistently have better starting field position than their opponents. McCluster's 89-yard punt return against the Giants was a thing of beauty. But they have allowed two kicks to be blocked.|
|Coaching||Andy Reid and his staff haven't just turned the Chiefs into winners. They've changed the organization's rotten culture. But offensive struggles, if they continue, will threaten a good thing.|