New Coach, New Quarterback, New Season

Andrew Dodderidge, Reporter

Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs finished the season 2-14. They, alone, had the worst record in the NFL, so they were awarded with the No. 1 pick of the NFL draft. On January 4, 2013, general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel were relieved of their duties and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach, Andy Reid, took the spot of Crennel. Reid coached for the Eagles for fourteen years and was an assistant for the Green Bay Packers for seven years. He also coached in Super Bowl 39, in 2004, but lost to the Patriots. The Chiefs also hired new offensive and defensive coordinators, Doug Pederson and Bob Sutton, respectively, a week later. The next day, the Chiefs hired John Dorsey as their new general manager. Dorsey was a football executive for the recently successful Green Bay Packers before this. Shawnee Mission West assistant football coach, John Stonner, had his opinion on these moves. “I think the fan base was getting angry at the organization, and whenever that happens its time for some change of scenery.”

The organization also made some player moves in the offseason. They released tight end Kevin Boss, wide receiver Steve Breaston, tackle Eric Winston and quarterback Matt Cassel in February and March. There were worries that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe would leave the team because his contract was going to expire, but the Chiefs resigned him in March. They also signed some free agents, which included wide receiver Donnie Avery, defensive back Dunta Robinson, and tight end Anthony Fasano. Avery caught 60 passes in 16 games last season, recording two 100 yard games for the Indianapolis Colts. They also signed offensive tackle, Brandon Albert, to a franchise tender. One month before the draft, the Chiefs made a huge move in getting quarterback Alex Smith via a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. On April 25, the Chiefs drafted offensive tackle from Central Michigan, Eric Fisher, and signed him in late July. “This draft pick was a great pick. He’s the kind of guy you want playing for your team. A family guy, and what he did with his mom shows that he’s a special guy,” Stonner said. Fisher promised his mother that once he was drafted, that she was to retire, which was everything that she was against. They also drafted some key pieces in the third and fourth round in tight end Travis Kelce and linebacker Nico Johnson. So, you could say the Chiefs had a very, very busy offseason.

The Chiefs major parts of their offense include quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles, wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery, tight end Anthony Fasano and new offensive lineman Eric Fisher. They recently traded away former first round draft pick Jonathan Baldwin to the 49ers for A.J. Jenkins. “Well, I think since Alex Smith used to throw to him in San Francisco was a major reason why we got him,” Stonner said. With Andy Reid’s running offense, running back Jamaal Charles should be one of the top rushers in yards in the NFL this season. Charles finished the 2012 season with 1509 yards with only five touchdowns. He has a career rushing average of 5.8 yards a carry. In three of the Chiefs last five games last season, he rushed for over 125 yards, including a 226 yard performance against the Colts. On August 1, Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson told the KC Star that Alex Smith is the best quarterback in the league. Smith played ten games last season for the San Francisco 49ers and threw for 1,737 yards and 13 touchdowns. That is only about 173 yards passing per game. Smith is one of the taller players in the league, at six feet four inches. The outcome of the first season with new coaches and players is up in the air. “Well, I’m very optimistic. So…I can see anything really happening. It could be like last season or they could be a playoff team,” Stonner thought.

The defense has newcomers such as defensive end Mike DeVito from the New York Jets, linebacker Akeem Jordan from the Philadelphia Eagles, and cornerback Dunta Robinson from the Atlanta Falcons. Robinson acquired 80 combined tackles for the 13-3 Falcons last season. Linebacker Derrick Johnson is returning to the team this season. He had 125 combined tackles, which was ranked 16th in the NFL last season. He was third in the NFL in solo tackles with 110.

Meanwhile, Shawnee Mission West football started practice last Monday. They open up their schedule with Shawnee Mission South on Friday, September 6. “We have some key pieces returning this season and the big question is, if these kids can put the state title behind them and focus on a new season,” Stonner proclaimed. They have some key players returning from their state championship team last season. They have their starting quarterback from last season, A.J. Verdini, slot receiver and return man Andre Maloney and lineman Austin Chambers returning to the team.