New GM, same old results?
The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the 2024 season by kicking their old GM to the curb, also known as Jacksonville.
Then they introduced their highly sought after, highly recruited, semi-retired new GM, Tim Miller as their 11th GM.
The first question to Miller was "Isn't this the same format as you are using in the GZL with the same header?"
Miller's response, "F**k you. Do I look like a graphic designer to you?"
And that is how the season is beginning.
The 2023 Chiefs were just one game out of winning the division and making the playoffs... at 7-9. The sad state of the AFC West had the Chargers winning the division at 7-9, but then actually making it to the AFC Championship game. The division also includes the hapless Raiders who apparently can beat everyone in the AFC West but no one else. And those stinkin' Broncos who are probably still recovering from Miller's previous stint there as GM.
The 2023 Chiefs were 26th in the league in scoring offense, 24th in total offense, 16th in passing, and 29th (wait I cannot be reading that correctly... yep 29th) in rushing offense. 29th in rushing offense? With Fat Mike back there?
The defense was 25th in scoring defense, 18th in total defense, 21st in passing defense, and 12th in rushing defense. They were 13th overall in sacks but 21st overall in forcing turnovers.
The highlight of the season most likely was when they beat the playoff bound Bills 34-19 in week 13. The lowlight would have been being swept by the RAIDERS!
"Lesson #1: the Chiefs are never, ever, ever to be swept by the Raider," GM Miller stated as a mantra.
In reviewing the 2023 season, some interesting moves were made along with some expensive moves that cost draft picks, salary cap, and ultimately salary space. Over 37% of the salary is being taken by 5 players plus add on the additional $14.25 million in cap penalties for 2024 and the Chiefs are in a world of trouble.
"Not saying they are not great players, but wow!" replied Miller.
The 2023 season got off to an OK start but having to play 4 divisional games right off the bat usually is not good. The Chiefs did split those two winning the two games at home while losing the two games on the road.
Overall the Chiefs went 2-4 in their division, something that will need to be rectified. The Chiefs did go 5-3 at Arrowhead but a dismal 2-6 on the road, only beating the Vikings and somehow the Bills on the road.
"Good to see we have a winning record at home because that helps sells tickets," explained Miller. "But that road record is horrible. What were they doing? Going out to the local strip joints?"
So with that in the past, we look to the future. What can be done for the future?
NOTHING because we are in cap hell and $14 million over the cap limit! Everything about the offseason has been who we have had to cut and who we have lost to free agency or just got nothing for them.
The Chiefs had to make some tough decisions and lost RT Rudolf McCay, TE Dennis Pitta, WR Louis Murphy, FS Trenton Robinson, QB Stephan Wegman, and LE Burl Stegall.
The latest rumors are that the Chiefs will be cutting talented but expensive DE Koa Misi later today to complete the task of getting under cap.
"I appreciate all the 'offers' I have gotten for cap relief in the short time I have been here, but asking for (CB) Wilbur Cunningham, (DE Quinton) Coples, and (QB Matthew) Stafford in exchange for an old fishing pole, a ham sandwich and a 5th is probably not in the best interest of my team," explained Miller.
So, no worries, the Chiefs had the draft! Where the Chiefs did not pick until the third round due to trades. WHAT???!!! Reports are that Miller had began drinking via an IV after seeing this. Again Miller did not actually get to evaluate the talent prior or during the draft, so it is what it is.
Miller is reported to have a highly sophisticated algorithm for choosing draft picks, involving a dart board, Excel, and pygmy goats. He could reveal the formula but it has been handed down and developed from many many generations and would take nearly that long to explain it. So all Miller could do was look at who was drafted and decide on whether or not to make an offer.
The Chiefs 2024 draft picks
3.9 - LT Duane Lester from Florida - listed at 6'8" and 316 pounds, the scouts did like his arm length and still had decent enough strength during the lifting drills. The Chiefs love his acceleration, his agility is ok, but he needs lots of work on his technique in both run blocking and pass blocking will need a lot of work. Duane played in the SEC so then that must mean he is a total stud because he played against the best competition week in and week out. Offensive coordinator Muhammad will be working with Lester while they focus on blocking skills.
4.9 - OLB C.J. Page from Colorado State - listed at 6'3" and 222 pounds. The Chiefs like his overall speed and acceleration, but he needs some strength drills. There are also rumors that he misspelled his name on the Wonderlic test, so it was not accurately reported prior to the draft. C.J. reportedly went to Colorado State as an honor student from Odell, TX, but began experimenting with the legal hemp. The boy bakes a mean brownie but don't ask him to break down an offense. C.J. will begin his career as a special teams player while he learns the defense. Eventually the Chiefs hope to get him on the field.
5.9 - OLB Ernie Littman from Indiana - listed at 6'2" and 222 pounds. The Chiefs thought they saw something in Ernie at the combine, but upon further review, they decided not to extend him a contract. While Littman is smarter than Page, he is a little weaker and doesn't have Page's speed, agility or acceleration. He also is not as good of tackler as Page. So the Chiefs passed.
5.14 - WR Tim Cobb from Ole Miss - listed at 5'9" and 191 pounds. The boy is 5'9" without blazing speed and cannot jump. He cannot catch, does not have good agility, and doesn't return kicks very well. While he did play in the SEC, so he saw top notch talent every week, the Chiefs decided to pass and did not extend him a contract.
6.9 - QB Jason Berger from Wake Forest - 6'2" and 231 pounds. Berger really was an accidental pick. His low awareness and tendency to scramble does not appeal to the new Chiefs regime. Berger will be trying the free agent market.
6.11 - LG Steve Nash from Rutgers - 6'3" and 325 pounds. The Chiefs like Nash's speed and agility. He still needs some work on his techniques for pass blocking and run blocking, but he is someone that the Chiefs will sign and can build for the future (depending on how he looks when he comes to camp). Updated: The Chiefs like what they see in Nash and will have him mentor under veteran Thomas Jackson for a few seasons. Nash needs some help in the technique department, and Jackson should be able to help with that.
7.9 - FS Willie Stafford from Missouri - Stafford is a local kid who played his high school ball in KC and then got a scholarship from Mizzou. The Chiefs like his size and jumping ability and hope he can add some speed through training camp. The Chiefs do wish he could catch a little better but he will be an adequate special teams player.
Training Camp 2024
Overall Chiefs GM Tim Miller has been extremely pleased with where his team has evolved over training camp and even some new defensive workouts seem to have improved some veteran players as well.
The Chiefs top pick in 2023, WR Warren Carson, was disappointed last season in only getting 22 receptions and 2 TDs. After playing at Louisville, he had those kinds of numbers in two games. So the 6'2" receiver went back to Louisville this past offseason to work, not with the football team, but with the track coach on his overall speed. The results have been impressive and he hopes to be WR #2 soon with his new separation speed.
The Chiefs 4th round pick in 2023, HB Richard Gray, is only a scat back at 5'7" and 193 pounds, but he is someone the Chiefs would like to add in as a change of pace back to Fat Mike. With that in mind, Gray went home over the offseason to Michigan and began a swimming regiment that increased his overall speed as well. Reportedly, he would lather himself in earthworms and then get chased by those Lake Michigan gar fish to make himself go faster. The Chiefs are pleased and expect him to contribute.
Continuing the theme for 2023 draft picks, the Chiefs second round choice, CB Ed Harris (no relation to the actor), went back to the college campus of Purdue to begin his workouts, but ultimately, through a weird Ouija board experience, summoned Rocky's trainer, Mickey. Mickey then haunted Harris until he began chasing chickens to increase his speed and stamina. The workouts were successful and Harris' acceleration increased noticeably.
Ozzie Gomes, the Chiefs first round pick from 2021, went home to Hawaii and spent the first month or so of the offseason just practicing Zen and riding the waves. He contemplated quitting football, until a relative, dependent on his football money, hit him over the head with a stick and knocked him unconscious. When Gomes awoke, he suddenly had a better awareness of football and could tackle better as well. Mysteriously, he was faster after his stay in the hospital, with no one allowed to tell him what they did to him while he was out.
Carson Wiggs, the Chiefs kicker for 2023, was woefully inadequate last year, only hitting on 72% of his kicks and with only 1 touchback all season. After being threatened that he would be replaced with a new kicker in the draft, Wiggs shunned his normal kicker offseason of Buffalo Wild Wings and beer and did some running on the beach. The workout helped and his leg seems stronger this season.
Finally, superstar DE Quinton Coples, ever the workout freak added to his legend this offseason by actually getting quicker off of the line. AFC West offensive tackles are reportedly "scared beyond belief" and the QBs are wetting themselves at night.
Also improving this offseason, MLB Travis Lewis stayed in KC and studied film of Jerricho James in order to improve his overall awareness. He also did extensive tackling to improve on that scale as well.
Finally, starting strong safety Johnson Jacobson, took time to reflect on football this past offseason. He took a Chiefs regulated iPad home and watched all of the games and all of the upcoming 2024 foes in order to better understand where to place himself and how to improve the secondary. The Chiefs have noticed, especially with this being a contract year for Jacobson.
Expectations for 2024
The Chiefs are in wait and see mode. Can they get something out of their high priced players? Does Matthew Stafford have one more good season left in him? Can the Chiefs get a rushing attack again?
An interesting position battle is developing at left tackle. Neither player has started a game or has any experience. While Thompson is considered the more polished player, Lester has a better skill set. It is also possible the Darrel Rose may play some on the left side if both players fail. The rest of the offensive line is set with Jackson, Nice, Serrato, and Cadogan.
At wide receiver, things could be interesting as well with a mix of young and old. Veteran Stuart Smith, in a contract year and on the last year of his huge contract, has obviously lost a step coming into training camp this season, while Carson is coming in faster. It will be interesting to see if Smith can hold off Carson for the entire season.
The Chiefs are still trying out tight ends and had hoped to sign one from free agency, but did not have enough room. While the Chiefs like Koger's size and speed, they do not want to have to depend on him.
HB will be Fat Mike starting but Hall and Gray getting some carries as well. The 2020 MVP still has some skill left and rarely fumbles, something that the new Chiefs regime regards highly. But his skill set has started to take a tumble and the Chiefs have noticed. But at this point and this salary cap, who else is there?
On defense, the Chiefs are still looking for another defensive end. The Chiefs seem to have a boatload of talented players at the right outside linebacker position, but the left is hurting for some talent. Expect one of these players to move over.
The Chiefs secondary is starting to show its age with some dips in their speed and abilities, but their awareness should help them to recover and rectify any problems.
With the defensive line that the Chiefs have in place, they are pretty much committed to the 4-3, but the 3-4 will be reviewed in certain situations. The main goal is to let the freaks, Jerricho James and Quinton Coples, run wild and to keep the offense within striking distance.
A lot of the Chiefs season will depend on Stafford's health and effectiveness. Also, the opening schedule will dictate a lot as well.
It has been reported that the Chiefs are asking Stafford to restructure his contract in order to make more cap room for signing other players. If he refuses, the Chiefs will have to cut additional players to get the roster up to snuff.
This has been Jack Hoff reporting.