This week we have Brian McGannon from the blog, Chiefs Command.
-Congrats on the turnaround season. What factors contributed to the big change?
A number of factors. You could point to the acquisitions of vets like Thomas Jones, Ryan Lilja, Shaun Smith and Casey Wiegmann. Then you look to the emergence of Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali. But I think the real reason is the Chiefs’ coaching staff. Todd Haley swallowed a big old piece of his pride when he hired Chuck Weis and Romeo Crennel. The Chiefs coaching staff has the rings to prove that they’re the reason for the turnaround. They are not the only reason for the turnaround, but man, they’ve been a big part of it.
-Defensively, which players in the D-line and Defensive Backfield are going to give Joe Flacco fits?
This secondary is going to be one of the best in the NFL in a few years. The corners Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr and rookie nickel back Javier Arenas have made play after play all season. And then add into the equation that you have rookies like Eric Berry (who has been compared to Ed Reed) and Kendrick Lewis turning in the seasons that they have, you have a pretty darn good young secondary. As for the front seven, it’s all about Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Glenn Dorsey. Johnson and Dorsey have been hounds against the run. They don’t have the picks or sacks to be considered “sexy” defensive players, but they have developed into stars up front. As for Tamba Hali, he leads the AFC in sacks with 14.5…and he wasn’t even selected to the Pro Bowl. Hali does struggle in run support though.
-I know we are going to get a heavy dose of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. Is there any reason to think that the Chiefs will be able to find success against Haloti Ngata and gang?
This is what worries me. Baltimore has been outstanding against the run all season. I’m going to try and say this as unbiased as possible, but you ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to Jamaal Charles. He’s the real deal. He came two-hundredths of a yard away from breaking Jim Brown’s yards per carry record this season. He’s a home run hitter and the best back in the league. I think the Chiefs are going to give him 20+ carries this weekend. If the Ravens can stop him, you’ll win the game, no doubt.
-We know about Dwayne Bowe. Who else will provide issues for the Ravens’ secondary?
Well, Bowe has had an historic season already, but rookie tight end Tony Moeaki has people already forgetting about Tony Gonzalez. He’s got great hands and seems to be open on every play. Dexter McCluster is also someone the Ravens will have to worry about. He’s undersized, but he has world class speed. Chris Chambers had a great season with the Chiefs last year, but he’s been nearly invisible this season. He could be someone to watch out for if the Ravens choose to pay too much attention to Bowe.
-Is the lame-duck Charlie Weis going to be a distraction? Is Josh McDaniels the favorite to replace him?
All hell would break loose in KC if McDaniels replaced Weis. But Matt Cassel is very good friends with McDaniels and we very well could see him here. I doubt it though. As for Weis, the guy can hop on his rascal scoooter and get out of here. The worst timing in the world. I can’t say whether or not that was a factor in the Chiefs’ loss last week, but it had to be disheartening to the players knowing that Weis was leaving them. Interesting note though, the last time Weis left for the college ranks, his team won a Super Bowl. Coincidence? Probably not.