The Kansas City Chiefs quietly went about their work – their very solid, productive work —this summer in the humidity and anonymity of St. Joe’s, Mo.
The AFC West is getting its share of attention this summer. The Super Bowl champions Denver Broncos still have a top-shelf defense, although their quarterback situation is fluid to say the least. The Oakland Raiders are enjoying the spoils of being the flavor of the summer. Best of luck trying to find anyone who has a negative word to say about the upstart Raiders.
Well, they seem to be the forgotten team this summer. They’re not getting a lot of juice.
I wonder why?
This team just might be the most prepared to make a playoff run in the division. Unlike the Broncos, the Chiefs don’t have any questions at quarterback. Sure, Alex Smith doesn’t inspire awe from around the league, but he’s better than any of Denver’s current options. And most importantly, the Smith-Andy Reid combination works. Unlike the Raiders, the Chiefs have arrived and proven they are a playoff team.
Kansas City entered the postseason as the hottest team in football with 10 straight wins last season. Then, it won a road playoff game. Why are the Chiefs under the radar? It doesn’t make sense.
Whatever the reason for the lack of attention in the heartland, the Chiefs themselves seem aware of their abilities Thursday as they broke training camp.
Reid was asked Thursday if this was the sharpest of his four training camps with the team. Reid, who took over a 2-14 team and has led it to winning records in each of his first three seasons in Kansas City, had this to say in quotes distributed by the team.
“It was the sharpest, but again, it should be the sharpest having been together four years,” Reid said. “You expect it to continue the longer you’re around. They’ve done it and they kind of know the offense, and defense and special teams. So, I would tell you – yeah, they started off sharp and finished sharp. Do we have room to improve and things that we need to get straight before we play? Absolutely.”
The point is, the Chiefs have built a consistent winner. They aren’t about to go away now. One player who can appreciate what Reid has built in a short time – the Chiefs have gone 11-5, 9-7 and 11-5 in those seasons – is linebacker Derrick Johnson. A heart-and-soul type, Johnson has been in Kansas City for 12 years and has seen it all.
“Definitely at the top – one of the best teams I’ve broken camp with for sure,” Johnson said.
Johnson attributed the Chiefs’ solid standing to that work and stability of Reid and his staff.
“This is Andy’s fourth year. When you can have a steady coaching staff, a steady core group of guys that you can build off of and we’ve been getting the addition [of] other people to the team – that’s great. We’re a pretty good team – I’ve been here for 12 years, and I know a good team and this is definitely a good team,” Johnson said. “To be under Andy Reid, having a winning season since he’s been here – that’s a good feeling. We haven’t had the feeling in this type of longevity as far as winning every year and this year isn’t going to be any different – we expect to win.”
See, the Chiefs expect to win. We all might as well expect them to win, too.