In his “State of the Franchise” series about NFL.com, Adam Rank has written 2021 previews of each team in the league. On Monday, he turned against Kansas City Chiefsand said that for the current AFC champions it is “Lombardi or bust.”
That the whole article is worth your time – but here are some highlights:
Head coach: Andy Reid. I’m not sure if Andy is the best coach in the NFL, but is he the coach you want to play for the most? Okay, not you, Le’Veon Bell. But who else would you choose? Bill Belichick? I mean, think of Andy and Bill as fathers of equal students. Belichick mans the house, where video games are off at. 18, lights out at. 7.30. Andy plays up Madden with the kids at midnight. Beastie Boys blaring at unacceptable levels. Two different ways to do it. Both successful.
This is a pretty cool way to look at it. Right now, Reid and Belichick are the league’s two most successful coaches – and are among the most successful ever. But even though they are good friends, their styles could not be more different. Reid is among the most popular coaches. Belichick is … not.
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes. super Bowl LV was to be Patrick’s coronation as the best quarterback in the game. Like when Hulk Hogan faced The Rock in WrestleMania X8. I’m not sure we got the double turn of Brady to be the good guy and Mahomes to be the heel (even though it was a home game for Brady), but there were many parallels. That said, life did not mimic art when Brady ended up winning the game and holding the throne as GEDEN At least for now.
“At least for now” is the key phrase in this section. Without getting into the whole argument of “calling against the winner”, the idea that Mahomes could not ultimately be seen as the greatest quarterback ever, is just … wrong. I am does not says Mahomes will surpass Brady. Instead, it is simply too early to say that he can not.
2021 breakout star: L’Jarius Sneed, defensive back. The Chiefs get so much praise for what they do offensively, so it rains no one noticed when Sneed was an absolute stud in his rookie season. It’s like being a little indie band smashing it on a side stage in Coachella while The Killers rock on the main stage. (I do not know why The Killers were my go-to band here, but they are amazing.) Sneed line up all over the field. He may even get to the quarterback as he had two sacks and three quarterbacks pressure. But it was him store in coverage, limiting quarterbacks to a passer rating of 54.2, the third lowest among closest defenders with at least 40 goals, according to Pro Football Focus. And he missed the time last year (seven games). He will be even better in 2021.
It’s fair to think of Sneed – taken in the fourth round – as the steal of 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s fast-forward to what things might look like in a year from now – after offensive lineman Trey Smith (a sixth-round pick) might have won a starting job on the Chiefs offensive line. What would people say about Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach if he lands stolen from the draft for two consecutive seasons? I can tell you one thing they should sig: to be able to find the draft’s best talent outside of the most obvious top picks is almost about the best skill that GM could have for a multi-year competitor.
[Will the Chiefs be able to take] the next step defensively? The Chiefs have been pretty good on defense and have averaged 20.9 points per game under Steve Spagnuolo since taking over in 2019. Kansas City are good on defense often overlooked. Must have been like when people first went to Dunkin for donuts before realizing that the coffee was delicious too. Now you kind of forget that they even have donuts. Not that we’ll forget the Chiefs’ offense, but you know what I mean. But D could be even better this year. The Chiefs allowed a 76.6 red-zone TD percentage to opponents last year (worst in the NFL). If they can get back to the 50.9 percent they released in 2019, this team may be unstoppable.
This could be a pretty big “if” – but Rank makes a good point: while making one of the league’s worst defenses, the Chiefs came excitingly close to the Super Bowl in 2018. If Spagnuolo can fix the team’s biggest defensive weakness from 2020 – which is apparently exactly what they are focused on doing – Chiefs will be very hard to beat.
[For the 2021 season to be a success, the Chiefs MUST win] Super Bowl. Yes, it’s Super Bowl or bust. This is how KC’s current coach / quarterback duo is judged for the rest of their days together. It was impressive last season to get back to the Super Bowl. That is not the goal. The goal is to win it all.
Yes Mr. Not just now – but in 2022, 2023 and so on.
Rank did not get everything exactly right – at one point he incorrectly identified Mitchell Schwartz as the player who tore his ACL in AFC Championship games – but his takeover of Chiefs upcoming season is generally worth the money. And it’s a fun read, too. You ought to check it all out.