If there was ever an indicator that we are in a “dead period” of the NFL cycle, then let ESPN’s “Future Power Rankings” be an example.
ESPN released their annual “Future Power Rankings” today and the Chiefs received a favorable bump in their rating, jumping form 25th to 12th. Yes, this is what a new head coach, new general manager, and new quarterback can do for the outlook of your franchise.
The rankings are devised through a formula that consists of the roster quality, quarterback, drafts, front office, and coaching. These are all ranked on a scale from 0-10 and then weighted based on importance – roster (32.5%), coaching (20%), quarterback (17.5%), draft (15%), and front office (15%) – to come up with a score that is based on a 0 to 100 scale. Understand all of that? Neither do I.
Kansas City’s boost is based on large part to their coaching and roster upgrades over the offseason. But one of the main components to the roster change was the quarterback position which ESPN’s Mike Sando discusses.
Alex Smith is not under contract for 2016 and it’s possible the team will acquire someone else to man the position for the long term. The Chiefs could certainly do worse at the position however, and if Smith has proved anything to this point in his career, it’s a willingness to stick around almost no matter what the circumstances. His smarts will make him an efficient quarterback and a good fit with Andy Reid. He eliminated the occasional horrible performance from his game last season, but the 49ers’ overall strength had something to do with that. The Chiefs will most likely be looking to upgrade by 2016.
What is interesting about KC’s quarterback situation is who ESPN compares them to. KC’s 5.3 rating is similar to Cincinnati (5.5, Andy Dalton), Houston (5.5 Matt Schaub), Philadelphia (5.5, who knows), and Tampa Bay (5, Josh Freeman). Cincinnati and Houston are both playoff teams, Philadelphia may be too, and Tampa Bay could be a surprise this year. This should at least give Chiefs fans confidence that, with the solid roster, Kansas City has a quarterback that is comparable to playoff caliber teams. In fact, KC’s 7 roster rating is better than all of those teams except for Cincinnati (7.2), so maybe having an expectation of being in the Wild Card hunt isn’t too excessive.
The Chiefs highest rating comes from coaching, which is to say Andy Reid. Here is what Herm Edwards had to say about him.
Coming over from Philadelphia, it was time for Andy to move on. He’s already reshaped the franchise in Kansas City this offseason, starting by signing Smith at QB and then by drafting Fisher No. 1 overall. Players love to play for Andy and he has a ton of coaching experience in this league. He should have a good run in Kansas City.
Reid may end up being the best move made by any team this offseason once all things are said and done. He is the most ligament coach the Chiefs have had since Dick Vermeil left after the 2005 season, and could be around for a decade should Reid want to stay.
You can read the rest of ESPN’s power rankings here but you’ll need an Insider account to read the full thing.
If you don’t have an Insider account but want to know where the rest of the AFC West stacked up, here you go:
11. Denver Broncos (Roster, 6.8; QB 6.5; Draft, 6.2; FO, 7.2; Coaching, 7.2)
12. Chiefs (Roster, 7; QB, 5.3; Draft, 6.8; FO, 6.8; Coaching, 7.3)
25. San Diego Chargers (Roster, 4.8; QB, 5.7; Draft, 5.8; FO, 5.5; Coaching, 5.2)
31. Oakland Raiders (Roster, 3.3; QB, 3.8; Draft, 5.3; FO, 5.5; Coaching, 3.8)
So what do you think? Are the Chiefs rated too high, low, or just right?