On Thursday evening, the Green Bay Packers will wrap up their 2013 preseason schedule as they travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs. In preparation for that final game, we took some time to talk football with Joel Thorman, who runs Arrowhead Pride, the SBNation blog covering the Chiefs. With a new GM, head coach, and starting quarterback, there is plenty to discuss in Kansas City as the season approaches.
Also, don't forget to head over to Arrowhead Pride to check out our responses to Joel's questions about the Packers.
APC: The trade for Alex Smith seemed (to me at least) to be the biggest story regarding the Chiefs this off-season. Would you agree with that assessment, and what are Chiefs fans expecting from him this year?
AP: That and adding Andy Reid. Those are arguably the two most important jobs in football and the Chiefs hired two new ones. Lots of change, and that's before you consider the natural attrition that comes in a regime change. Chiefs fans are expecting a competitive team. Playoffs? Maybe. But I think most Chiefs fans believe this team will be competitive late into the season, which obviously wasn't the case last year. This time of year is always full of optimism but with Alex Smith and Andy Reid, I think the Chiefs floor is somewhere around 6-7 wins. The ceiling is perhaps around 9-10 wins. Most fans fall somewhere in there.
APC: Speaking of changes, the addition of former Packer exec John Dorsey shook up the front office and the hire of Andy Reid will no doubt change the offensive philosophy in Kansas City. Are Chiefs fans excited by the hires?
AP: After coming off the Scott Pioli regime, Chiefs fans are most definitely excited about these changes. It's easy to buy into Andy Reid considering he has 130 NFL wins over his 14-year head coaching career. I don't think that was a fluke so we're hoping he can bring something similar to Kansa City over these next few years. Dorsey, meanwhile, is a total change from Scott Pioli. He seems way more down to earth than Pioli. He's also made some big moves in his short time here, trading for Alex Smith and sending Jon Baldwin to San Francisco.
APC: Do you think the Chiefs will stick with players currently on the team to fill their 53-man roster and practice squad, or do you think they may look to other teams' cuts to fill in a few positions where depth is lacking? If the latter, what positions might they target?
AP: The Chiefs hold the top spot on the waiver wire and will be looking for more help. Despite some of our optimism this year, this is still a two-win team that needs help. Receiver is an area of focus, although the Chiefs receivers finally showed something in last week's preseason game. The interior offensive line could be another area that sees some help depending on who's available. Expect the Chiefs to be active during cut down week. There are still holes to fill on the bottom of the roster.
APC: Are there any household names that you could see the Chiefs cutting this week?
AP: Ricky Stanzi was cut, he could be of interest to the Packers and their backup quarterback job. Tony Moeaki just fractured his shoulder so his future is uncertain. Outside of that ... it's going to be a lot of first-year players. But there are always surprises, especially as we continue to get to know the new regime. They may like or dislike certain players that we don't know about yet.
APC: What are your overall predictions for the Chiefs and the entire AFC West this season?
AP: The Chiefs can and should finish second in the AFC West behind Denver, who remains one of the best teams in the NFL despite their offseason issues. As long as Peyton Manning is there, I don't expect the Chiefs to realistically compete for the AFC West title. I've been debating between 7-9 wins for the Chiefs. It's August and I'm a homer so we'll roll with nine wins. After Denver and KC, you would have the Chargers, who seem to be a mixed bag with some unknowns, and the Raiders, who could be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year.
Thanks to Joel and to Arrowhead Pride for taking the time to discuss Thursday's game with us.