Patrick Allen, the Editor-in-Chief of Arrowhead Addict and the NFL Site Director of Fansided.com recently answered questions about the Kansas City Chiefs, the team the Packers play in just a few hours and will face again during the regular season.
The following is the Q&A session with Allen:
• Is it really time to “press the panic button?” Yes, KC is 0-3, but the Chiefs defeated Green Bay in the final preseason game last year and used it to jumpstart a solid season … could they do the same this season?
Sure. The Packers are a deep team so even when they have their backups in, the Chiefs should be seeing adequate competition. I think part of KC’s plan is to actually treat the 4th preseason game more like some teams treat the 3rd. That doesn’t mean they will play their starters into the third quarter, but I think Haley doesn’t see the logic in getting ready to play in the 3rd game and then having his starters go basically two weeks before they see live competition again. Really, if you think about it, it makes sense. Check out the developmental guys early and get your starters in synch late so they can hit the ground running in Week One. It worked for the Chiefs last year. Will it this year? We’ll see.
• Will the starters play more than the first couple of series against the Packers?
I think they will because the Chiefs have looked like garbage all preseason. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the starters in for the entire first half. Then again, you never know what Haley will really do. He certainly keeps us on our toes.
• Is Matt Cassell the answer and is Todd Haley’s job in jeopardy if the Chiefs stumble this season?
Maybe and no.
On Cassel, I think this is the year we get the final report on him. He has more weapons and a touch schedule. if he plays well this season against all the tough defenses he has to face, then yes, he is the real deal. If he struggles mightily, the Chiefs might start getting nervous about his future. He’s been an NFl starter for three years now. This is his third year in KC’s system. Now is the time to take the next step.
On Haley, unless the Chiefs are absolutely dreadful, he’s not going anywhere. I think it would take a 4-12 season or worse for his job to be in jeopardy. As long as the Chiefs win six games I think he is safe. They have a brutal schedule this season. A step back is expected. In 2012, however, he has to win.
• Will the Chiefs running game be as explosive as it was last season and given that the passing game seems to be mediocre at best at this point, will teams load up against the run?
I think teams will load up against the run and it will be up to Matt Cassel and the passing game to back them off. Teams have a whole year of tape on KC’s zone blocking scheme with Jamaal Charles now. The secret is out. I think the running game can be just as explosive but only if the offense is more balanced. The Chiefs won’t lead the league in rushing and finish 30th in the passing game this season. Balance will be key.
• What do the Chiefs need to do to win the West. Oakland, though they didn’t win the West last year, was unbeaten in the division. How do the Chiefs win those important division games? Could an 8-8 team win the division or do you feel the teams from the West will be more competitive this season against the teams out of the division?
The Chiefs need to be more physical. Tough teams with strong defenses smacked them in the mouth last season. The Chiefs didn’t deal with it well. They’ve made some moves to help. In 2010 they drafted play-makers. In 2011 they seemed to be looking for a little bit of attitude. they took guys like Allen Bailey, Jon Baldwin and Justin Houston. They cut Brian Waters and promoted G Jon Asamoah who they feel plays with a bit of a mean streak. They went and got Jared Gaither and Le’Ron McClain. These aren’t timid guys. I think Scott Pioli wants to match the toughness of a team like the Raiders.
I think the Chargers are the wild card here. They are talented enough to go 12-4 but they play many of the same tough teams the Chiefs must face. With Vincent Jackson coming back I think they rebound of last season’s down year. I’d say they have the best shot to win the division but as long as Norv Turner is their coach, I’ll never be surprised if they flounder. That team should have won two Super Bowls by now. The blame has to go on their head coach.
The Chiefs have a real shot but they will have to improve greatly from 2010. So far, I haven’t seen that improvement.