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They have a new quarterback and a new middle linebacker. They've released veterans [url=http://www.buffalosabresteamshops.com/authentic-jason-pominville-jersey]Authentic Jason Pominville Jersey[/url] , traded away one of the top cornerbacks in the league, signed wisely in free agency and loaded up on draft picks.
Sounds like a losing franchise trying to turn things around.
Try the two-time and defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The slew of offseason moves began even before free agency, when the Chiefs agreed to trades that sent quarterback Alex Smith to the Redskins and cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams. But the pace of the dealing has hardly slowed down as the Chiefs remake an aging and expensive roster that was good enough to reach the playoffs last season but not good enough to beat Tennessee in the wild-card round.
That's why they signed wide receiver Sammy Watkins, cornerback David Amerson and middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens, and landed cornerback Kendall Fuller in the trade with Washington.
"We're not trying to win a Super Bowl four years from now. We're going out there and we're trying to win a Super Bowl next year," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. "Whether that happens, I don't know, but I know that we're going to do everything we can to put our team in position to do so."
Many teams coming off back-to-back division titles would try to hold on a little longer. And the result would be a slow regression that would ultimately force the team to begin a complete rebuilding job anyway.
Veach, who took over for John Dorsey last summer, took a refreshingly different tack. He went after the trade market, was decisive in his convictions and landed his biggest priorities, even if he may have had to pay a premium to get Watkins and Hitchens in the door.
It was a sign the candid, confident Veach is going to be a far different GM than his predecessors in Kansas City.
"If we have shortcomings," Veach said, "we'll continue to work on those things. Our mindset is at every period to get our team in a position to win a Super Bowl. We have a lot of talent here. It's a lot of young talent [url=http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/devin-hester-jersey]Devin Hester Jersey Youth[/url] , which is exciting for the fans, but we realize there may be some growing pains. But we have some guys that can straight up play football, and that's exciting."
There is no doubt an abundance of talent, especially on offense.
Patrick Mahomes II is poised to take over for Smith under center, and he showed flashes of his big arm and gamesmanship in a Week 17 victory over Denver. To ease the transition, the Chiefs added Watkins to what is arguably the best set of skill-position players in the division, headlined by NFL rushing king Kareem Hunt, Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce and speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
They also retained one of their own when they brought back bruising fullback Anthony Sherman.
"As a team, we've won a lot of games in the last few years," Mahomes said, "and we're bringing a lot of those guys back. And with the additions that we have added, I feel like we can have a very, very good offense. It's all going to start with how we prepare, especially at my position."
Yes, the Chiefs expected to have a very good offense [url=http://www.cardinalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-rosen-jersey]http://www.cardinalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-rosen-jersey[/url] , just as they did last season. But one of the big challenges this offseason has been to fix a defense that ranked among the worst in the league.
Hitchens was a good first step, and he'll step in to the void created by the release of the aging Derrick Johnson, the franchise's career tackles leader. Amerson and Fuller will help to cover the trade of Peters, and the draft picks netted this offseason will almost certainly be used on defense.
Still, the question remains: Is that enough to make an appreciable improvement?
"We've got a great nucleus coming back. We've added some players that are top-notch," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said last week. "We're fired up about this whole thing. I'm not great at standing up and going, 'Hey, here we go!' But I'm ready to roll as we're sitting here in March."
TORONTO — There was a sense of relief in the Detroit Tigers’ clubhouse after their 9-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon.
The victory, propelled by a grand slam from Nicholas Castellanos, a career-best four hits by Niko Goodrum and seven strong innings by starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, ended an 11-game losing streak.
It was the Tigers’ longest losing streak since Aug. 13-23, 2003. They have not lost 12 in a row since 1996.
“It’s good to hear the music playing out there and guys smiling,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Tigers have a chance to escape the Rogers Centre with a split in the four-game series by winning the finale on Monday afternoon.
The Tigers will start right-hander Mike Fiers (5-4, 4.04 ERA) against Blue Jays left-hander Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.00).
The Tigers had a team meeting before the game.
“It was just a casual talk [url=http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jihad-ward-jersey]http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jihad-ward-jersey[/url] ,” Gardenhire said. “It wasn’t this rah-rah (speech). … I just let them talk and I just said to them, ‘Tell me what we need to do.’ Some guys spoke up and that’s all I wanted to hear. We’re playing hard. We’ve lost 11 in a row up to this point. These guys have been playing, man. They’ve been in every game. We’ve had a chance to win a bunch of these games.”
The Tigers (37-48) were able to put together a five-run fifth inning with a rally that started with two outs against Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who was 6-0 in his previous eight starts. They added two runs in the sixth, also with a rally that began with two out.
The losing streak was the longest by two games in the majors this season and the longest since the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 11 in a row last September.
“We’ve had our chances over the last 10 or 11 games,” Zimmermann said. “It’s just a matter of if we’re going to cash in when we’ve got guys in scoring position. We were able to do that today.”
The Blue Jays (39-44) are expected to trade Happ before the July 31 deadline. When he departed in the sixth inning, the Canada Day crowd gave him an ovation.
“I did notice, and I certainly appreciate that,” Happ said. “Maybe it was appreciation for how the season has gone so far or whatever you might take from it, that’s kind of what I took from it. That’s a nice feeling, certainly nicer than potentially getting booed, not that I would expect that at all, either.”
The Tigers face a pitcher who made his major-league debut Tuesday against the Astros in Houston in Borucki. He took the loss after allowing two runs, six hits and four walks in six innings.
Fiers pitched seven strong innings Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics, but took the loss despite allowing only one run on five hits and one walk while striking out five.
Fiers has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career [url=http://www.cowboyscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-dalton-schultz-jersey]Authentic Dalton Schultz Jersey[/url] , five as a starter, and is 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA. He made two starts against Toronto last season and was 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA. In two career starts at the Rogers Centre, Fiers is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA.
The only disappointing news for the Tigers Sunday came from a hamstring injury to center fielder Leonys Martin, who hobbled off the field after a beating out an RBI bunt single in the fifth inning. It was at first announced as a cramp, but Gardenhire said the injury was severe enough to put him on the disabled list. Another player will be brought in for the game Monday.
The day was not a complete loss for the Blue Jays. In the ninth inning, center fielder Kevin Pillar made a spectacular leaping catch to rob Castellanos of what would have been his second homer of the day.
Gardenhire said even Castellanos appreciated Pillar’s catch, although it cost him a homer.
“That was amazing,” Gardenhire said. “That’s a long run, to climb the wall like that and make that play, the timing, the whole package that just tells you how special an athlete he is.”
The teams are 3-3 in the season series.
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