Recently we sat down with Joel Thorman, head football dude over at Arrowhead Pride, and played tic-tac-toe, smoked cigars, and talked about the upcoming Bears vs Chiefs contest. Joel has been covering his team for a long time, and was gracious enough to share some insight with us ahead of this week's match-up.
If you're interested, you can catch their version of this post HERE, where I answer his question about whether Jay Cutler is a good quarterback (and some other stuff too).
1- The Chiefs are owned by the Hunt family, the President is Mark Donovan, and then you've got John Dorsey as GM and Andy Reid as HC. Tell us about that front office dynamic, and who they all work together. How do Chiefs fans feel about the teams leadership and management?
Joel: Chiefs fans probably aren't feeling too great about everyone at this particular time because they're 1-3 but in the big picture they know how much of a change the Dorsey and Reid tandem has been. The Chiefs were a bad team for about a decade with only a couple of playoff appearances in that stretch.
Dorsey and Reid have brought them back to respectability in the past two years, which is a big accomplishment considering they were taking over a 2-14 team. Dorsey and Reid go way back so they seem to have a strong relationship. As you might remember, Reid ran some of the personnel back in Philly but he doesn't do any of that anymore and leaves it to Dorsey. Dorsey's drafts have seemed to get better each year with the Chiefs having several rookie contributors this year so they're headed in the right direction.
If it weren't for Eric Fisher and Dee Ford, more people would probably be happier with Dorsey's drafts. Clark Hunt and their family have been around forever. He's well-respected around the league and has the respect of Dorsey and Reid.
2- How are the 2015 Chiefs different from the 2013-2014 Chiefs?
Joel: Offensively, Jeremy Maclin is the biggest difference maker compared to the previous two years. It's still a small sample size but he has added a big play dynamic to the Chiefs passing game that wasn't really there before. It's a big upgrade (so far) over Dwayne Bowe. Defensively, the Chiefs pass rush is not quite as potent perhaps as last year because it does seem that Tamba Hali has lost a step. Also at cornerback, the Chiefs have rookie Marcus Peters starting and he's done a really good job.
3- How are the Chiefs rookies doing this season? What about your 2nd year players?
Solid rookie class from the Chiefs so far. The Bears should see a few of them on Sunday. CB Marcus Peters (first round) will start at cornerback and he's good. C Mitch Morse (second round) is also a starter and he's been really good as well. WR Chris Conley (third round) could be starting this game with second year WR Albert Wilson injured. LB Ramik Wilson (fourth round) could also be starting in place of Josh Mauga, who is hurt and will not play in the game. So, actually, this game will probably see the most rookies playing than we've seen all year.
As for the second year players, we were really excited CB Phillip Gaines out of Rice but he just tore his ACL, which is too bad. OLB Dee Ford is another one to watch -- he hasn't really done much of anything at the NFL level but he was a first round pick.
4- Salaries aside, would you take a straight up trade of Alex Smith and Jay Cutler?
Joel: No I would not. Cutler throws way too many picks for me. The ceiling is higher with Cutler for sure but I know what I'm getting in Smith and that allows me to game plan knowing exactly what to expect. Turnovers are a non-starter for me; they are absolute killers.
5- The Chiefs have the same record as Chicago (1-3)... How do you predict this game turning out, and how do you see the Chiefs record when this season is all said and done?
Joel: I do think the Chiefs will win this game. They are 1-3 but, like Chicago, have played some pretty good teams. In fact, the three teams the Chiefs have lost to - Denver, Green Bay and Cincinnati - are all undefeated. The Chiefs are better than what you think of when someone says 1-3. As for the season, it's a rocky start but they can and probably will come back to make things competitive. The playoffs might be out of reach but it's certainly not impossible to think they could win eight of the next 12 and finish 9-7. The schedule lightens up in the second half.
Big thank you to Joel for chatting with us this week. What are your thoughts on the Bears vs Chiefs this week?