On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers take on their customary preseason-finale foes, the Kansas City Chiefs. Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the Chiefs and provide insight into the team heading into 2016.
APC: After spending nearly 30 years with the Packers as a player, scout and personnel executive, John Dorsey left Green Bay to become the general manager of the Chiefs in 2013. He has now presided over the team for three full seasons. How do you view his tenure in Kansas City, and what have been his strengths and weaknesses as a team builder?
He's been really good in Kansas City. The Chiefs are averaging 10-plus wins a season under he and Andy Reid's leadership. The Chiefs roster gets deeper every year. Last year, the Chiefs had a handful of their cuts get picked up by other teams; Dorsey thinks that number will be much higher this year because the Chiefs are so deep. Overall, I'm please with the job Dorsey has done. Of course, we still have our gripes. Maybe you don't think Alex Smith can win you a title. Maybe you think he paid Justin Houston too much or didn't pay Eric Berry enough. There are some things like that that we'll complain about big picture? The Chiefs are a top 10 team and Dorsey is a big reason why.
APC: Two years ago, the Chiefs' selection of offensive tackle Eric Fisher No. 1 overall seemed like a mistake. Fast forward to this past July, when Fisher signed a four-year, $48 million extension. What changed for Fisher and the Chiefs, and did his performance warrant the lucrative new deal?
The Chiefs are betting on what Eric Fisher will do, not what he has done. He is definitely not the prototypical No. 1 pick that comes in and dominates. It didn't work that way for him. However, he has gotten better each year. You can see where the Chiefs thought some of his physical skills would help him develop into a good tackle. He isn't anything more than average or good so far but he appears primed to take a step forward in 2016.
APC: Second-year cornerback Marcus Peters blew his fellow rookies out of the water by producing eight interceptions and two touchdowns last season. What are reasonable expectations for Peters in Year 2, and how does the loss of starting corner Sean Smith affect him?
If training camp is any indication he'll get a bunch of picks again. He was picking one or two off a day at training camp this year so he definitely has a feel for that, which is nice. Sean Smith will affect him because last year Peters was the one getting picked on all the time. Now I expect more teams to stay away from Peters and attack the other corner spot, which will result in fewer picks for Peters. Everything about him though suggests a strong season, eight picks or not.
APC: All-Pro safety Eric Berry just rejoined the Chiefs after the two sides failed to agree on a long-term deal. Could 2016 be the final season for Berry in Kansas City, or do you believe the team rewards him with a new deal before free agency next offseason?
I go back and forth on this all the time. Will Berry be a Chief in 2017? On the one hand, I can't imagine him playing elsewhere. He is the heart and soul of the Chiefs. He seems to love his teammates and they love him back. The Chiefs motto - Fear Nothing, Attack Everything - was borne out of Berry's return from cancer. There is so much about him that screams to me lifetime Chief. Then again, it's a business. If the Chiefs couldn't get a deal done this year, what will materially change next year? Probably not much. Honestly, I just don't know. I would lean to probably not being a Chief.
APC: The AFC West features plenty of talented teams -- including the reigning Super Bowl champions -- but no obvious frontrunner. How do you believe the division stacks up at the outset of the regular season?
It's a three horse race between the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders and of course I give the edge to the Chiefs. I don't even know who Denver's quarterback is and the Raiders are a year early. The Chiefs are the deepest, most complete team in the division. They're a near lock for 9-10 wins and no one else in the division is. (Come on, Raiders fans, bring it. I was in high school the last time the Raiders were over .500)
We'd like to thank Joel and Arrowhead Pride for answering our questions. Be sure to check out our Q&A session over there, as well as their fantastic coverage of all things Chiefs. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Thursday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Chiefs vs. Packers.