August 20, 2010 1:11 PM
If you absolutely forced me to pick a surprise team of 2010, a team ready to make a huge jump in the standings, it might just be the Kansas City Chiefs.
I'm not picking them to do extremely well...but if there was a team that could sneak up on people, this would be the one.
They're in a weak division, they play a weak NFC division, and boy, do they have some good coaches.
Talk about your Bill Parcells coaching tree - a huge branch fell off at Arrowhead Stadium.
In addition to the high-profile Charlie Weis (offensive coordinator) and Romeo Crennel (defensive coordinator), Todd Haley's staff includes wide receivers coach Richie Anderson (who played for Parcells with the Jets and Cowboys), defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant (Jets), defensive quality control coach Otis Smith (Jets), tight ends coach Bernie Parmalee (Jets) and assistant head coach Maurice Carthon (Giants). There are also veteran coaches like offensive line coach Bill Muir and secondary coach Emmitt Thomas.
The players on the field aren't bad either. The most well-known move the Chiefs made this off-season (in an otherwise quiet off-season, incidentally) was the addition of former Jets running back Thomas Jones, who will split time in the backfield with Jamaal Charles. Quarterback Matt Cassel will be better this year - it won't hurt that he'll have Charlie Weis to work with on the sideline - and he'll especially benefit from the signing of wide receiver Jerheme Urban. This was a signing that flew under the radar - Urban was overshadowed in Arizona by great receivers - but every time he played he did a great job. He could be a great addition to this Chiefs offense.
The defense was pretty terrible last year, and there wasn't much improvement in that department personnel-wise during the off-season. But last year the offense was bad too - so a couple of adjustments on defense plus great strides on offense could mean an improvement in wins.
And if it doesn't, at least they can take comfort in the knowledge that they've assembled quite a coaching staff.
2010 Prediction: 7-9, 3rd place in AFC West