A big time movie premiere’s tonight, with the main character making yet another comeback. Many of us are excited to see what the new Batman movie has to offer. With a “healthy” Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman as the lead characters. I’m not a comic book fan at all, but love the action and story line of these movies.
Last year the Chiefs lost more than one Batman throughout the season. Early injuries to Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki made it difficult for the Chiefs to compete. Matt Cassel was also lost for the year, but that was later in the season.
The 2012 season is much like the new Dark Knight movie: high expectations from a strong returning cast, supplemented with some new talent. This season could be special for the Chiefs. Everything seems to be falling into place on the roster and the division is as winnable as it’s ever been. The most important part of all this is the healthy return of these 4 individuals. Without them, the Chiefs will be in serious trouble once again. Let’s take a look at how each “superhero” helps the Chiefs with a full season of play.
Eric Berry might have been the biggest loss for the Chiefs last season. He was coming off a very nice rookie year and I expected him to enter the league’s elite at the safety position. When he went down, pickings were slim behind him. Jon McGraw and Sabby Piscitelli tried to fill in, but weren’t even close. The depth last year was an issue all over the roster, and Pioli seems to have realized that. He went out and drafted DeQuan Menzie and signed Abe Elam, both are upgrades over their predecessors.
Back to the main point though, Eric Berry is a vital part of the defense and needs to be healthy come week 1.
Jamaal Charles is a close second to Eric Berry on this list. He was also coming off a great year in 2010, and was looking to continue the dominance. That ended week 2 in Detroit as JC tore his ACL. This left the Chiefs with Thomas Jones, Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster to fight for the carries. None of this group could produce at Charles level, which is hard for most running backs. This committee wasn’t a threat to break any long runs and you knew the plays that were coming in with each running back.
Charles claims to be 100% as of now, but we’ll see at camp. If this is true and Peyton Hillis can return to his 2010 level, the Chiefs running game could be among the very best in the league.
Tony Moeaki is another player that was injured early, coming off a somewhat productive rookie campaign. After his injury the Chiefs had zero receiving threats at the TE position. He’s important for not only Matt Cassel, but also helps to open things up for the wide receivers.
A healthy Moeaki adds a dimension that Leonard Pope and Anthony Becht weren’t capable of showing. Kevin Boss was signed to add solid depth at this position. Another solid signing by our GM.
Finally, we get to Matt Cassel. He is either hated by fans or they don’t care about him one way or another. Not many are huge Cassel fans, and I get that. He hasn’t lived up to his contract yet and his inconsistency is bothersome, but he’s the best QB on the roster. He was the best last year and is again in 2012. Brady Quinn was brought in and Ricky Stanzi is also on the roster. Those 2 will battle for the 2nd QB spot.
When Matt went down last year, we had Tyler Palko as our starting QB. The depth was that bad. Kyle Orton was brought in later and was a nice option towards the end of the season.
The Chiefs have created a perfect situation for Cassel: Improved offensive line, improved running game and slight improvement in his receiving corp. He just needs to play smart. If Matt happens to make a mistake during the season and you find yourself calling for one of his backups, stop yourself. Quinn hasn’t played since 2009 and Stanzi has never played. Remember that a healthy Matt is the best option we have.
I’m headed to see the new Batman on Saturday morning. My hope is that it lives up to the expectations and hype. We will all be feeling this exact same way as kickoff to week 1 arrives.