I don't mean to be the buzzkill. And this is certainly not any fault of anyone in the Chiefs camp. They're conducting business as normal, keeping all of their own business in-house. In other words, all is quiet.
In the interim, fans and even some media analysts are filling in the gaps with nothing but good news. Consider all of the hype. The Chiefs did bring in some good players in the off-season. It's nice to see the offensive line bulking up and even creating some depth for the first time after last season's pasta philosophy of throwing 300 pound guys against the wall and seeing what sticks (i.e. the weird Dolphin-Chiefs trade for Andy Alleman and Ikechukwu Ndukwe). Now with Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann in house alongside rookie Jon Asamoah, there's some room to relax.
That's not to mention the highly praised acquisition of Thomas Jones in the backfield providing an exciting one-two punch with Jamaal Charles. The new coaching additions of former Pats winners like Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel have been much applauded since they first announced the moves and the recent draft class drew raves from pundits all over the country. Needless to say, it's been an exciting and productive offseason in Kansas City.
So this has people talking. People are thinking possible playoffs. People are definitely thinking a major improvement is in order. And while those are all possible in the rolling of the NFL dice, think about what else is in place:
1. Quarterback Matt Cassel
You may be hopeful. You may believe. But this is a quarterback league, like it or not, and you better have a Ravens-like defense in its prime if you're going to try to win with a Dilfer at quarterback. To this point, Cassel has not proven himself, save for the big season in New England, and last season simply won't get it done. Unfair? Yes. He had horrible pieces to play with last season. Before that? He played behind Tom Brady. But the NFL isn't known for a lot of wiggle room, so Cassel might as well get used to it. And the Chiefs can add magic pieces all day at other positions, but if the QB can't get it done...
2. Nose tackle
The 3-4 defense is an upside down pyramid where everything hinges on the interior of the defensive line. There's a reason why teams paid top dollar to retain guys like Aubrayo Franklin and Casey Hampton this offseason. The Chiefs, meanwhile, had three of the top 50 picks in this draft and failed to come away with anything but Ron Edwards from last year and a journeyman FA like Shaun Smith. It's a risk that could totally backfire and hamper the entire defensive front.
3. The AFC West
There's no more laughingstocks. None at all. Oakland is turning somewhat legitimate by admitting mistakes, drafting better and acquiring players at key positions. The Chargers, while hurting, are still the class of the division. The Broncos are still dangerous despite trading several key pieces and going through last season's slide. Other teams must say the same about the Chiefs, but this used to be a division with clear haves and have-nots and that's just not the case anymore.
Perhaps the Chiefs can put it all together and win, and I'd love to be the first one to celebrate. But in the face of endless optimism, it's important to realize that everyone is saying the same thing about their team in this phase.