The Chiefs really surprised me when they beat the Green Bay Packers last preseason by a score of 17-13. The Packers had destroyed the Colts the week before, so it was unexpected when the Chiefs jumped out to a 14-0 lead. That might have been the start of things to come for them. The next week, they upset the Chargers and they eventually went on to win the division title.
Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride was kind enough to answer some general questions about the Chiefs and where they might be headed in 2011.
Q: What's the plan in the final preseason game. Any extended playing time expected for the starters?
A: I could see the starters getting a little more time, maybe playing an entire quarter. The Chiefs are concerned about stopping injuries but Todd Haley also suggested earlier in the week that they still have some work to do so I could envision a scenario where the starters play a little more than the usual series or two.
Q: I've heard that it's been a bad preseason for the Chiefs. What's going on in Kansas City?
A: The Chiefs have been pretty bad in the preseason for three consecutive years now. The first year, they went 0-4, we thought the sky was falling and, well, it was as the Chiefs went on to win just four games that year. The following year the Chiefs weren't very good in the preseason either winning just one game (against the Packers) and they went on to win 10 games. So, yeah, they're struggling again but we're not totally sure what it means. I think it's just a matter of the Chiefs using their training camp time to focus more on conditioning rather than installing the offense and game planning in this exhibition games.
Q: I don't know if you'd rather use a different four letter word, but Matt Cassel's performance in their playoff loss to the Ravens was ugly. Did that loss create some serious question marks, or do you still have faith in him after a solid regular season?
A: It caused a little bit of doubt, sure, but I think it's important to judge Cassel on all 17 games he played last year, and not just one. He had a very good season but, you're right in that at the end of the day he struggled to close it out against a very good team. The Ravens and teams with big defensive lines are just a bad matchup for the Chiefs and they need to figure out a way to counter that.
Q: The Chiefs were a surprise destination for Jared Gaither. Has he been healthy so far, and is he penciled in at left tackle?
A: The Chiefs have LT Brandon Albert on the left side so Gaither's not taking his spot anytime soon, I don't think at least. Gaither isn't completely healthy yet so he's hardly practiced and barely played. Once he's healthy, we'll have a better idea of where he stands. I think some fans are still holding out for Gaither to step in on the right side where the Chiefs have had some issues with RT Barry Richardson. We'll see if that happens though. For now, he's a backup left tackle.