Red Zone

KC Chiefs are focused on finishing better in 2014

Last season’s playoff loss is still in the mind of Dontari Poe (right).
Last season’s playoff loss is still in the mind of Dontari Poe (right). The Kansas City Star

As painful as the playoff loss to the Colts was, it actually served as a fitting microcosm for the 2013 season.

During coach Andy Reid’s first season, the Chiefs started out like gangbusters, going 9-0 and becoming the talk of the NFL.

Next came a three-game skid, which kicked off a 2-5 stretch to end the regular season that included a fourth-quarter meltdown against the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.

Still, nothing could have prepared the Chiefs (or their fans) for the 45-44 first-round playoff loss to the Colts, which featured a blown 28-point lead.

Not surprisingly, finishing was a big topic of in-house conversation for the Chiefs during the offseason — from an organizational standpoint and among the players.

It remained a hot topic Thursday during the first full day of training camp.

“Coming out in practice, we’ve got to start strong and finish stronger,” defensive tackle Dontari Poe said. “Each game — start strong, finish strong — and the same with the season. We’ve just got to rev it up, just get better as the season goes along and I think we’ll be all right.”

It’s something the Chiefs plan to work on and improve during the next few weeks at Missouri Western.

“Certainly, when you look at last year, the games that we did lose, there were a lot of them that we had a chance to (win) — whether we were coming from behind or we had a lead, had a chance to finish and didn’t do that,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “This is the time. You can create a lot of different scenarios out here.

“There’s time to get competitive, offense versus defense. We can do two-minute (drills), we can do four-minute both ways. And I’m sure we will. We did it all last year and I’m sure it will be done all this year, working on finishing.”

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.

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