This week, we're joined by Joel Thorman, the big cheese at both Arrowhead Pride and SB Nation Kansas City. He was kind enough to take the time to answer five of my inane queries. Hit the jump for some knowledge, or whatever it is the kids say these days.
1. Imagine that you've just been hired by the Texans. Gary Kubiak asks you to tell him the three (3) areas/players/things he should focus Houston's attack on in Sunday's game. Assume with me that you're not a double-agent and actually intend to do right by your new employer. How do you answer Kubes' question?
AP: First thing I'm going to do is stop the Chiefs' running game. That's the basis of the Chiefs' offensive attack, and I think the defense has to feel good if they can force the Chiefs to rely on the passing game because that's an area that hasn't consistently produced this season.
Second thing I'm going to do is cover, cover and cover some more on special teams. The Chiefs have a pair of good return men in Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas, and they can be dangerous. Make the Chiefs beat you straight up without any special teams help.
Third thing would be to challenge the Chiefs' young safeties. Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson is a dangerous connection and the Chiefs will have (at times) a pair of rookie safeties playing. Force them into a rookie mistake and make them pay.
2. Why do you think the Chiefs haven't utilized Jamaal Charles more over the first quarter of the season?
AP: It's a combination of things. The Chiefs say they're using the best matchup each week. In Week 1, Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones split carries evenly. In Week 2 and 3, it was Jones. In Week 5, it was Charles. My guess is that as the season goes on, you'll see more of Charles. He's doing more with each carry and I think the Chiefs want to find the best way to use him for the entire season, as opposed to wearing him out in the first two months. This was a big issue in Kansas City over the first couple of weeks but it's died down lately.
3. From reading Arrowhead Pride, I'm gathering there's two very distinct schools of thought about Matt Cassel. The good news is that I'm pretty sure a strictly-enforced clause of the CBA requires all QBs to throw for at least 275 yards against the Texans secondary in 2010, so Cassel should have as good an opportunity as ever to quiet some of the doubters on Sunday. Where do you come down on him and why?
AP: I'm in the middle. Sure, there are things to criticize with Matt Cassel but, at the same time, he's not turning the ball over and the Chiefs have won three of four games. If the running game can carry the Chiefs, then Cassel needs to maintain and not rock the boat with a turnover. Would I like more from the quarterback? Of course. But I think we can see slight improvements in some of Cassel's numbers and the Chiefs can continue to win. The way they're designed (strong defense and a strong running game), the focal point of the offense doesn't have to be the quarterback.
4. Four games into their season, this appears to be a very different Kansas City squad from the one that tallied a total of ten (10) victories from 2007-2009. What and/or to whom do you attribute this season's success thus far?
AP: First, I'd point to the defense. In 2009, this was the 29th ranked defense. To this point in 2010, they're the third-ranked defense. The turnaround has been quite the sight and it's been a lot of fun to watch.
Second, I'd point to the presence of playmakers in general. The Chiefs brought in guys like safety Eric Berry, receiver Dexter McCluster and returner Javier Arenas. Along with Jamaal Charles, that's a nice infusion of playmakers.
Third, I'd point to the running game. Granted, by the end of 2009, the running game started to come along but the added dimension of Thomas Jones has been great for the Chiefs run game.
5. Put Your Name On It: The final score of Sunday's game will be Chiefs ____, Texans ____. Come the end of the regular season, the Chiefs' record will be ___-___, and they will appear in ___ playoff games.
Chiefs vs Texans coverage
AP: Here we go...
Chiefs 20 Texans 17.
10-6 and 1 playoff game.