There's plenty of reason to feel good about where the Kansas City Chiefs are headed in the fourth year of the John Dorsey-Andy Reid-led era, and the optimism will only continue to grow as we get closer to the 2016 NFL season.
Over the past three years, we've seen 31 regular season wins, two playoff appearances and the franchise's first playoff win in more than two decades.
Only twice since the team's Super Bowl championship season back in 1969 have the Chiefs won more than 31 regular season games in three consecutive seasons. That happened between 1993-95 (33 wins) and 1995-97 (35 wins), and there were no playoff wins during either of those stretches.
Since taking over three years ago, Dorsey has completely revamped this roster by turning over more than 90 percent of it. Only eight players still on the team joined before 2013, and Dorsey has inked five of those players to contract extensions (Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston and Allen Bailey).
The other three players are Eric Berry, Dontari Poe and Dustin Colquitt.
A good chunk of the team's roster remains intact from a year ago, when the team finished with an 11-5 record after storming back from a 1-5 start. The Chiefs reeled off 10 straight wins and earned a Wild Card spot in the AFC playoffs. The Chiefs shut out the Houston Texans, 30-0, in that first-round game.
As we look forward to the 2016 season, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has put out his list of the top 10 most talented teams in the NFL, and he has the Chiefs ranked at No. 6.
Here's what he had to say:
"The *Chiefs workmanlike approach lacks sizzle, but substantive results have been outstanding since Andy Reid and John Dorsey took over in 2013. The team has made the playoffs twice in three seasons and compiled a 31-17 regular-season record. The defense remains the calling card in Kansas City, thanks to the stellar play of Houston, Johnson and Berry. The Chiefs "Big 3" are all exceptional playmakers in the prime of their respective careers. (Though Houston's status for the upcoming season remains uncertain after February knee surgery.) Peters earned rave reviews and the 2015 Defensive Rookie of the Year award for his spectacular play as a first-year starter. He could blossom into the NFL's next true shutdown corner as a sophomore. Smith doesn't get enough credit for his work as a savvy game manager, but the presence of Charles, Maclin and Kelce ensures his success as the Chiefs franchise quarterback."*
Brooks' opinion gives you plenty of reason to feel optimistic about the team's opportunity to compete and try to build upon last season's playoff victory, although one playoff win isn't anyone's goal.
It's the work taking place right now at OTAs, then at training camp and the preseason that will ultimately determine where this team is headed.
That said, it's always good when people believe in what you have and what you're doing.
A look into day one of phase three of the Chiefs offseason program at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex