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Five Key Storylines for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2024 OTAs

With the Kansas City Chiefs coming off their second consecutive Super Bowl victory, there’s only one question for the team this year: can they be the first team to lift the Lombardi Trophy three times in a row? All the resources the team has need to be dedicated to win-now mode during the twilight of the current iteration of the team.

With some of Kansas City’s best veteran players getting closer to the ends of their careers, they have a finite window to win with the current roster. With a few positions where the starter isn’t currently clear, the team has to sort out who will support star quarterback Patrick Mahomes during the quest to keep the Lombardi Trophy in Kansas City. OTAs are the perfect place for the team to evaluate the new players and how they might fit into the ever-evolving schemes of head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnola.

No. 1) Pass Catchers are Key

The most glaring weakness for the Chiefs last year was the wide receivers. Even with tight end Travis Kelce still being one of the best at the position, at 34, he is approaching the point in his career where he can’t be the sole reliable target on the team. Kadarious Toney and Skyy Moore were called upon last year to produce and did not live up to the standard for receivers in Kansas City; drops and other gaffes cost the Chiefs multiple games and made them a favorite to be eliminated from the playoffs before making it to the big game. Early into the offseason, wideout Rashee Rice caused a high-speed collision and left the scene, with a suspension likely this season.

This offseason, the Chiefs made it clear they would address these issues. Their signing of Marquise “Hollywood” Brown again gave Mahomes a clear No. 1 receiver. It doesn’t hurt that Brown comes from the Ravens, effectively weakening one of their constant competitors at the top of the standings. The Chiefs continued this trend by moving up in the draft to select Xavier Worthy with the 28th pick in the 2024 NFL draft. With record-setting speed in the 40-yard dash, Worthy is expected to be used as an explosive weapon similar to how Tyreek Hill played during his time with the organization.

No. 2) Tackling the Left Tackle Position

One of the most important positions for the Chiefs heading into this offseason was left tackle, with there not being a clear favorite to protect Mahomes’ blind side. To add to the list of legal issues for Chiefs players, tackles Wanya Morris and Chukwuebuka Godrick were arrested on marijuana possession charges and may face penalties from both the team and the NFL. Morris was the third-round pick by the Chiefs and has the possibility of being on top of the left tackle depth chart heading into the season, and Godrick is currently third on the depth chart in that position. Other options include Kingsley Suamataia and Griffin McDowell. 

No. 3) Defensive Sturdiness Dependent on Veterans

The best piece of offseason business the Chiefs did in 2024 was signing star defensive tackle Chris Jones to a massive 5-year contract to keep him with the team. The rest of the defensive line returns with Jones, and the linebacker corps also retains its starters. The front seven will help a secondary that will have to rely heavily on new starters in 2024.

With troubles on the offensive side of the ball in 2023, the Chiefs secondary locked down opponents to keep them in games. With the departure of cornerstone cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and safety Mike Edwards, the Chiefs will turn to Jaylen Watson to fill Sneed’s shoes and rookie Jaden Hicks to back up the starting safeties.

No. 4) Off-Field Distractions

Last season, to the ire of many established NFL fans, Taylor Swift dominated the headlines in a sport where she isn’t even on the team. Her relationship with Kelce became the first thing on the minds of many new NFL fans, as well as many women and girls who previously had no interest in the sport. Off-field distractions can be challenging for any team, but this didn’t stop the Chiefs from winning the Super Bowl last year.

The distractions heading into this part of the season are very different this year. Rather than the message being about female empowerment and a more welcoming NFL, the Chiefs are embroiled in controversy over the remarks kicker Harrison Butker made during a commencement speech for graduates at Benedictine College in Kansas. Butker’s speech referred to the pride of LGBTQ+ people as a sin, and rather than praising the accomplishment of the female graduates in the crowd, diminished them by saying the following: “Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.” The comments have sparked immense backlash for being both out of touch and diminishing the accomplishments of women who choose to pursue professional fulfillment.

While the speech may have been based on his personal beliefs, and freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the country, Butker has forgotten that his remarks come at the expense of his team, with fans petitioning for him to be removed from the league, and some threatening to boycott Chiefs games until he issues a public apology. At the moment, that seems unlikely, with Butker having doubled down on his comments in recent hours. The NFL has also publicly rebuked his speech, as have officials in Kansas City.

No. 5) Chasing the Three-Peat

There’s nothing harder in the NFL than defending the Lombardi Trophy, and no team has ever managed to do it twice in a row. Coming off a season of challenges, Reid will need to retool his team yet again and instill that same hunger that has seen them win three out of the last four Super Bowls. The NFL has seen runs like this before, with the most recent being the Patriots in 2001, 2003, and 2004. The Chiefs can set themselves a step above the other dynasties to come before them, and every team will be out to stop them this season. The players must have the right mindset to pull things together correctly for a third time, and that starts with the team gelling in OTAs.

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