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Five Questions About Kansas City

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I asked Chris over at Arrowhead Pride five questions about the Chiefs, who the Packers play next Sunday in Kansas City.

1. I expected the Chiefs defense to struggle this season, but instead they've turned into the best unit on the team. Is the improvement due to the addition of free agent linebackers Napoleon Harris and Donnie Edwards?

Those two guys are certainly part of the equation but perhaps the biggest part of the equation is our defensive line. Jared Allen has eight sacks in only five games this year. Our run stuffing defensive tackles are doing exactly that. This defense has been improving the last couple of years and this year its culminated into what I believe will end up being close to a top five defense when 2007 is over. Along with Edwards and Harris, don't forget about Derrick Johnson playing linebacker as well. For the first four games, Johnson was clearly outplaying Edwards and Harris and has only quieted over the last few weeks. He isn't a big name yet but watch out.

2. RIP: running game. The Chiefs have lost some great offensive lineman over the last couple of seasons. Was the retirement of guard Will Shields
the final blow? What can be done to get Larry Johnson back on track?

The Chiefs thought they could get by one more year with this sub par offensive line. Clearly, this isn't the case. Yes, the retirement of the two future Hall of Famers Willie Roaf and Will Shields hurts. But many people forget that Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson had FB Tony Richardson blocking for them for years as well. Today, Tony is in Minnesota and the Chiefs have not replaced him. Instead, we are using an H-back type in Kris Wilson who isn't even close to a true fullback. Also, our blocking tight end Jason Dunn is in his 12th season and has lost many steps if the first seven games are any indication of where his skills currently lie.

The only way the Chiefs are going to get Larry Johnson back on track this season, with the current personnel we have on the offensive line, is to make teams fear the passing attack. Its not difficult to challenge the Chiefs offense. Stack as many guys in the box as possible and make Damon Huard beat you with the passing game. To be fair to Larry Johnson, he hasn't been able to do much because of teams focusing almost 100% on him.

3. Why should the Packers fear rookie wide receiver Dwayne Bowe?

(Cliche alert...) Dwayne is big, fast and has an amazing ability to find the ball . You know that guy on the playground who always caught whatever pass was thrown to him, regardless of how bad a pass? That's D-Bo. He's already the best wide receiver the Chiefs had in years and with teams being forced to cover (or double) Tony Gonzalez, Bowe has that many more plays where the defense isn't necessarily focused on him.

4. One of the last moves made by the Packers this preseason was opting to go with rookie kicker and 6th round pick Mason Crosby over Dave Rayner. Rayner was good in 2006 and in the preseason, but Crosby just kicked a little better and it looks like he has the potential to be a very good kicker. Carl Peterson selected Justin Medlock in the 5th round, before Crosby, but apparently that didn't work out. Rayner's playing just about as well in 2007 as 2006 judging by the stats so far. Do you think Rayner is the kicker of the present and future in Kansas City?

The kicking job is Dave Rayner's to lose. He is head and shoulders above Justin Medlock as far as consistency goes and the Chiefs are happy to have him.

5. The Packers pass defense has been steadily getting worse over the last three games, while the run defense has been improving each week. Do you
think the Chiefs will take notice and open up the passing game early and often, or will Herm Edwards stubbornly stick with running Larry Johnson straight up the middle as his first option?

Herm will do what Herm does. He'll stick with his overall offensive strategy and run the ball, at least in the first half. The Chiefs have been opening up the game in the second half by passing more but I don't expect our strategy to change much against the Packers. It simply isn't our head coach's style to do that.