The major additions to the offense include….
OC Charlie Weis: As the offensive coordinator, he’s going to be working heavily with Matt Cassel. He’s arguably the most important addition to the offense.
RB Thomas Jones: He’s expected to split carries with Jamaal Charles. He gives the Chiefs someone who can pound it out, which is what they lacked before.
G Ryan Lilja: He helps solidify the right guard position, which was a major issue in 2010.
WR Dexter McCluster: He hasn’t played a game yet but in training camp he’s been electric. This will be his first big test and I’m not sure how the Chiefs will use him or how the Falcons plan to cover him because he’s fast as lightning.
The major additions to the defense include…
DC Romeo Crennel: He runs the type of 3-4 defense that GM Scott Pioli has been drafting for the last decade. More than anything, he’s experienced so he brings confidence to this unit.
S Eric Berry: You heard of him? Early indications are that he’s the real deal. He was immediately plugged into the first team and he’ll start on Friday night. He has shown early that he “gets it”.
CB Javier Arenas: He’s going to be the nickelback and should see plenty of time when the Falcons go three-wide. He comes from a solid program at Alabama and, like Berry, seems to understand the defense early.
The major additions to the special teams include…
Returners Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas: We’re not quite sure what McCluster can do at returner because he didn’t do that much in college but his speed and shiftiness is too good for the Chiefs not to try at return man. We’re very interested to see what he can do. Arenas on the other hand is a highly accomplished return man and is the one more likely to be the featured returner. The Chiefs special teams got a major boost in 2010.
Players to watch include….
WR Dexter McCluster: For all the reasons listed above. He’s had a terrific camp and the Falcons are the first test to see if it can translate to a game.
WR Dwayne Bowe: He struggled in 2009 for a variety of reasons but he came into training camp with a stronger focus. It’s his fourth year so some are thinking this is when he puts it all together for a major season. A good year by him would go a long way to helping Matt Cassel.
CB Brandon Flowers: If you haven’t heard of him, you will soon. He’s on the verge of being one of the best corners in the game. If it weren’t for Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asmougha, his name would have been thrown around in Pro Bowl talks last year.
S Eric Berry: Again, for all the reasons listed above. We just want to see him prove it in a game. I’m pretty eager to see how he reacts in run support as well as protecting the middle of the field.
Question marks include….
The front seven: The Chiefs didn’t upgrade anywhere, really, on the front seven. They’ve got four first round picks in there so they are banking big time on those already in-house improving. This is a major boom or bust area for the Chiefs. If the front seven pans out, then the Chiefs are going to be flirting with .500. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably another long season.
I’ve been going with 7-9 and I’ll stick with that. The Chiefs won four games last year but made major additions to the coaching staff (Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel), given Matt Cassel more weapons (Dexter McCluster) and protection (Ryan Lilja) as well as upgrading arguably their weakest spot at safety (Eric Berry).
Arrowhead Pride has listed three Chiefs to keep an eye on, what to expect from Chiefs rookies (including Augusta native Eric Berry), and their own scouting report of the Falcons provided by The Falcoholic.
Synergy: taste it in the air.