In order to bring you guys the best Bears coverage we like to speak with the SB Nation team site that covers the opposing team each week. It gives us an inside look at the game with someone as passionate about their team as we are with ours. With Saturday’s game being the preseason game, the only preseason game that really matters - the dress-rehearsal - we tracked down Pete Sweeney, Editor-in-chief of Arrowhead Pride, the SB Nation site that covers the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jeff Berckes, who recently gave me the fantasy football scoop on my podcast, asked Pete a few questions about tomorrow’s Bears vs. Chiefs game.
Jeff Berckes - I love that the Bears and Chiefs were matched up for the third preseason game as the entire off-season has been filled with comparisons to how the Bears offense will be like the Chiefs offense. From your vantage point, what will Matt Nagy bring from Andy Reid and Kansas City to Chicago? What pieces in Chicago remind you of what the Chiefs have right now? Finally, how long do you think it will take for the Bears offense to establish itself?
Arrowhead Pride - Like Doug Pederson did for Philadelphia, Matt Nagy will tap into Andy Reid’s West Coast style of offense with the Chicago Bears, while also putting his own spin on it. One thing I liked about Reid is that he found a way to take the best aspects of Alex Smith’s college concepts and work them into the pro game.
Look for Nagy to do that with Mitch Trubisky.
“I am proud of him for having the opportunity,” Reid said of Nagy this week. “I’ve watched his tape and he has done some good things with the team. He had a nice win the other night. Chase (Daniel) is one of his quarterbacks. Chase has done a good job with their whole two-minute process. It’s a little bit like looking in the mirror when you look at their offense. He is doing a lot of stuff we’ve done here. He’s added a few wrinkles but most of the same stuff. Overall I am proud of him for the job he’s doing.”
As far as pieces, Chicago doesn’t have the type of weapons the Chiefs offer, but I like their up-and-comers in tight end Trey Burton and running back Tarik Cohen. I have always liked wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who signed with the Bears this offseason.
Knowing what Nagy was able to take away from Reid, I’d give him a year or two and he should be able to get this offense and team to the playoffs.
JB - Another link between Kansas City and Chicago will be the young signal callers. Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes were the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky got his feet wet in 2017 with 12 starts, albeit in the John Fox system, while Mahomes sat and learned behind Alex Smith all year with his lone start coming in Week 17. With Smith shipped to Washington, the mantle was passed to Mahomes this off-season. How has he looked so far and what are the expectations for him in 2018?
AP - Patrick Mahomes’ training camp was up and down, as he flashed both his dazzling arm and occasionally, his experience. Interceptions were up in camp, but Reid said that was by design and expected given that Mahomes is a rookie.
Mahomes was having an OK performance against the Falcons in the Chiefs’ second preseason game before the 69-yard touchdown to Hill changed the narrative.
JB - Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing last year, Tyreek Hill is a live-wire, and Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the game not named Gronkowski. Is there anyone else we should be aware of in this offense?
AP - Sammy Watkins is new, but as a household name, you know what you’re getting there. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, a 2016 fourth-rounder seems to finally be coming into his own, and veteran running back Damien Williams has shown he could make a case for the Chiefs’ backup running back this season. Williams will have to continue showing out in the game against the Bears for that to be the case.
JB - Shifting to the defense, the Chiefs focused basically their entire draft on that side of the ball. What were the major issues with that defense last year and did the organization do enough to fix the issues?
AP - Run defense, run defense, run defense. And to help fix that, the Chiefs signed both nose tackle Xavier Williams (Cardinals) and inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens (Cowboys). Hitchens and returning inside linebacker Reggie Ragland have spoken a bit about changing the defense’s identity this offseason, but neither has yet to take the field this preseason. Ragland is dealing with a knee issue and Hitchens a hamstring. Many expect Saturday against the Bears to be their preseason debut.
JB - What are the expectations for the Chiefs this year? Is this a team that can make a deep playoff run or are they a year away?
AP - If the Chiefs didn’t have such a hard schedule, especially in the first half of the season, I think it would be realistic to expect they could make a run this year. There are too many questions on defense and the schedule is too tough to think they will walk into the playoffs. But they could be right in the mix for the AFC West division down the stretch.
JB - As a frequent visitor to the Kansas City area, I have sampled my fair share of the local barbecue scene. What is the key to real Kansas City style barbecue and what is your favorite spot?
AP - BURNT ENDS. There are many places that offer quality barbecue around the country, but Kansas City is the only place that offers burnt ends. I personally favor a place called Q39, which is one of the newer establishments in town.
Enjoy the game this Saturday, and good luck this season!
Now I’m hungry...
Thanks to Pete of Arrowhead Pride for helping us learn a little about the Bears’ opponent in the Chiefs this week.