As noted on Around the League this morning, the Kansas City Chiefs should have their "ACL Trio" of Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki for the preseason opener on Friday night. Losing those three key players early last season might have been the difference in making a return appearance to the postseason, and their healthy returns are fueling much of the optimism swirling around this year's squad.
The Chiefs possess talent on offense and a potentially scary-good defense, which has Bucky Brooks saying they could be a darkhorse contender for the AFC title. **More ...**
Though he wouldn't put a number on wins, or predict a second AFC West title in three seasons, Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli told NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Tuesday that entering his fourth season with the franchise, hopes are high.
"Expectations should be higher than what they've been in the past. I mean, it's only right," Pioli said Tuesday. "We're in our fourth season in this program. We've done a lot of work to retain very good players in Derrick Johnsons and Tamba Halis to Jamaal Charles and some other players, but we've also added some other good players. I feel we have a really good coaching staff intact. Expectations should be high.
"And when I say that, I don't just mean for the coaches and players, for me, as well. We're all in this together and I don't know how high they should be, but they should certainly increase. Pressure's a good thing. Pressure makes everybody respond to the way that they truly are and I think the pressure of increased expectations isn't a bad thing necessarily."
As for the "ACL Trio", Pioli said that all three players are at different points in their recoveries and that Berry, a Pro Bowl selection during his rookie season, is a little more ahead of Charles and Moeaki. All three are "day-to-day" in terms of soreness and swelling and will be monitored "week-to-week" in terms of playing in the preseason.