In this week’s Blitz, The Star’s Terez Paylor answers five postgame Twitter questions from Chiefs fans.
1. What will the Chiefs final record be? -@ndblair
Difficult question. Only four teams in NFL history — the 1990 Saints, the 1995 Lions, the 2002 Jets and the 2011 Broncos — have rebounded from a 2-5 start to make the playoffs, so the odds of them going 9-7 (at the very least) are still quite slim. And to be fair, the Chiefs did beat a Steelers team that did not have Ben Roethlisberger. But Pittsburgh is still a physical football team, so a team that has quit on its season couldn’t beat the Steelers. The Chiefs showed some fight Sunday, and proved a seven-win season may still be possible if they can get hot. Step one begins this week, when the Chiefs host the struggling Lions, 1-6, in London.
2. Will the trio of Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson progress enough to be one of the top receiving corps in the NFL next year? -@tundrawoof
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There has been some interest regarding the Chiefs’ No. 2 options behind Maclin. While the Chiefs’ No. 1 target has caught 39 passes for 531 yards this season, Conley only had seven catches for 91 yards entering the game while Wilson only six catches for 82 yards. But Conley, a rookie, and Wilson, a second-year pro, both stepped up in big ways Sunday, teaming up for nine catches, 134 yards and a touchdown. If those two can continue their development, they could team up with Maclin — who, at 27, will be in his prime for a while — to form a very strong trio down the road. Whether they can be elite depends on how much the youngsters want it, but the talent is there to be very good.
3. Now that it seems the line is fixed, do they still draft an offensive lineman over a QB in the first round? -@DHill9276
The offensive line needs to put it together for a few more weeks before you can declare it fixed. While Sunday’s performance was certainly better than it has been in weeks, they still surrendered two sacks and seven quarterback hits. But it was definitely promising, and one of the most encouraging signs was Eric Fisher’s decision to rush over to Pittsburgh cornerback William Gay and protect his teammate, as Gay was twisting Charcandrick West’s ankle after the play. Fisher was whistled for a taunting penalty, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid basically absolved him of it after the game, a sign he liked that Fisher was sticking up for his guy. To the naked eye, Fisher also seemed to play fairly well in his first game at left tackle this season. The Chiefs may still need a right tackle next year, especially since Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson will be free agents, but if Fisher can start living up to his No. 1 overall draft status, the need to select an offensive tackle in the first round will subside greatly.
4. Can Charcandrick West continue being a viable option the backfield or was this a fluke vs. a bad defense? -@KC_Rockaholic
The Steelers are not a bad defense, at least against the run. Entering the game, they ranked sixth in the league in that category. Every yard that West earned Sunday was hard-fought. He flashed quickness and was more decisive than last week, and he even showed some competitiveness when he was in the middle of a brief on-field skirmish. The Chiefs had to like what they saw there. It is interesting to note that while West, who was signed as an undrafted free agent a year ago, finished with 22 carries for 110 yards, 2013 third-round pick Knile Davis only had one carry for 2 yards. Free-agent signee Spencer Ware, who was just promoted from the practice squad, had more carries (two) than that. Very interesting situation.
5. Do the Chiefs have any chance of drafting Paxton Lynch from Memphis? -@DrownsTC
Lynch, a quarterback, is emerging as one of the top prospects in college football. He is enormous (6 feet 7, 245 pounds) with surprising athleticism and very good arm strength. He has a nice delivery and the ball looks pretty coming out of his hand. He rarely takes snaps under center and needs to continue to develop his pocket awareness, but NFL teams have already started falling in love with his potential. The draft is still a long way out, so it’s hard to project where a guy is going to go. But if he does not implode toward the end of the year, and teams don’t find any character concerns, it’s not difficult to imagine him being a top-5 pick, which could easily take him out of the Chiefs’ range (unless they tank the season, which is not happening).
47 — After giving up 125 points through the first four games, the Chiefs have only surrendered 47 points in the three games since then.