End of Season Review – AFC West | February 23, 2012
This is going to the hardest review to do because this is by far the most inconsistent division in football. All four of these teams looked good at times during the season but none ended up with a winning record which is mystifying.
Chief Needs: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Tight End, Defensive Back
They made the playoffs more due to the craziness of this division than them actually being dominant especially towards the end of the season where things just fell apart for them. I could get lynched for saying they need a new quarterback but they at least need a backup even if it is someone who can play a ‘similar’ style to Tebow so he can take over seamlessly when the inevitable happens and Tebow gets injured. They could do with another wide receiver on the outside so Decker can play in the slot and Thomas can get more one on one looks. The last piece they really need on offence is a tight end that could catch and be part of the passing game but this is not a big requirement especially if Tebow is still the quarterback as he cannot complete on short to intermediate routes consistently and this would be most tight ends domain. Their run game was strong this year but in a run heavy unconventional offense the stats are hard to judge without seeing this running core in a conventional offense.
Their defence was not horrific this year but they often gave up big games and they could definitely do with strengthening their defensive backs because they need someone other than Bailey with how strong the pass attack of the league has become. This team has more questions than answers this year and as much as it was fun the playoff run it did them no favours.
Kansas City Chiefs
Chief Needs: Wide Receiver
This team was possibly the unluckiest in football last year if it wasn’t for the injuries early in the season, they had the potential to dominate this division and they still do for years to come because they are young and if they can keep Bowe and potentially Carr (although looks unlikely now) then they really could be a force. A big part of this depends on Cassel and the receiving core as neither was good at times and then at others they were superb. Keeping Bowe combined with a second receiver brought in could really help them beat a lot of teams. They have Moeaki and Charles returning on offense and Berry on defence which could make them explosive on offense and strong on defence. We saw glimmers of what they had to offer and a great team spirit under Crennel in beating Green Bay as well as seeing some quality play in other parts of the season. However, there was some very abject play mixed in with the first two weeks being horrific from any point of view.
They have a chance next year to really stamp down a hold on this division if they can get the key players who were injured last year firing and keep Cassel confident in himself and his receiver while continuing to be strong on defence.
Chief Needs: Wide Receiver, Tight End, Linebacker, Defensive back
This team is a mess this year with 3 quarterbacks (including Pryor) and no real draft choices they have a lot to sort out before they can even contemplate moving forward this season. They gambled it all under Jackson and it failed miserable and he paid the price. They were also unlucky because without the loss of McFadden for most of the season they would have been the AFC west team in the playoffs this year not Denver. They need to upgrade their receiving core because whoever is QB next year will need someone more than just DHB to throw to. This also goes to the tight end position where this year they had no one of any real significance and as has been shown this is a position that is becoming critical to offense in this league.
On defence they need to strengthen up their linebacking core and there defensive backs (especially with the releasing of Routt this off season) so these have to be areas of need through free agency because they are in the same position as Denver where this season presented more questions than answers. The biggest problem for this team isn’t actually an on field position it’s the penalties they give away which are extremely costly to any team but the amount the Raiders give up is just ridiculous and they need to change the attitude of themselves and towards them if this is to change.
San Diego Chargers
Chief Needs: Wide Receiver
The Chargers have one key need and that is to get Rivers back up and firing like the QB they know he can be and wasn’t this year for the most part. Their running backs are the best of this team and if they could keep Gates fit through a season, as well as bringing in a big target receiver if they lose Vincent Jackson, then they really have a chance to light it up again like they have done before.
Their defence has no obvious holes that needs patching but they could do with a general tune up but they aren’t far off what they were a year back when they just missed out to KC making the playoffs. Considering they were most peoples pick to make the playoffs they were a hug disappointment but lost among the bigger storylines of the season was just how badly they really did. They completely sneaked under the radar in most people’s eyes and somehow no one lost their jobs because of it which in a large part because they were missing one key thing in their QBs accuracy and the concussions to the two main RBs didn’t help them.
This a team of now or never you feel a little because Rivers is getting on and they don’t appear to be built to survive without their main players so they have to win soon or be prepared to have a very dominant KC team have their way with this division I feel.