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FROM THE CHEAP SEATS – Upgrading the Chiefs’ defense

The Kansas City Chiefs traded their first-round draft pick in this year’s draft to Seattle for defensive end Frank Clark, and they immediately became the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl next year.

Like it or not, another player with a troubled past is joining the team. However, I’m pretty sure that everyone who is against Clark now will be singing his praises next season if they do indeed find themselves in the Super Bowl.

I’m not going to get caught up in the troubles of Clark or Tyreek Hill with this column. We’ll address that later but let’s just trust the Chiefs management to do what’s right in every situation.

Let’s look at the off-season revamping of the defense. Everyone can agree that last year’s defense was the major contributor to the Chiefs not reaching the Super Bowl. It’s funny how people have loyalty to players. I’m thinking of Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Eric Berry. All three of them have been major contributors for several years for the Chiefs but they are all gone now. Before we get too teary-eyed, let’s look back at last year’s defense and remember how bad they really were. I know injuries played a roll, but having these guys on the team didn’t help. New direction!

Enter new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, a former NFL head coach and assistant under head coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Spagnuolo is turning the defense upside down and I believe that the changes will benefit the team.

Do you realize that the Chiefs will run out six new starters this year? Clark will be joined by Emmanuel Ogbah, whom they acquired through a trade with Cleveland. Notable free agent signings are Damien Wilson (Dallas), Bashaud Breeland (Green Bay), Tyrann Mathieu (Houston) and Alex Okafor (New Orleans). This is all before the draft took place. I can’t believe that they will start Daniel Sorenson this year, so look for another defensive back to be on the field, probably acquired through the draft.

We’re looking at six, probably seven new starters on the defensive side of the ball. That’s important that they improve drastically there because the offense won’t be able to duplicate last year’s success. Sure, they’ll still be highly successful, but there are question marks around the receiver position, especially with Hill’s status uncertain. Is Sammy Watkins really a first option type guy? What about the running back position? I look for them to draft a couple of receivers and possibly a tight end for the future. The experts are saying that this year’s draft is full of quality tight ends.

The Chiefs will be much improved next year and it just might be that magical season that Chiefs fans have been waiting for since Lenny Dawson laced them up!

– Rob Mooney, Metro Voice sports writer


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