Joel Thorman, the head man at SB Nation's Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride (and the boss of SB Nation's NFL blogs) answered five questions from me about his team ahead of Sunday's game.
1. Talk a little bit about what Chiefs fans think of old friend Bob Sutton and the type of scheme the Jets will face.
After last year's playoff collapse there were some Chiefs fans who were ready to throw him out the door. Ultimately many are glad that the Chiefs kept him. He's done a great job with a defense that has lost starters DE Mike DeVito (remember him?), LB Derrick Johnson, LB Joe Mays and has played without S Eric Berry for six-plus weeks. And that's after getting rid of CB Brandon Flowers. The Chiefs are somehow the No. 3 ranked defense in the NFL right now. Give Sutton credit for recognizing the Chiefs strengths, which is rushing the hell out of the passer with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, and avoiding their weaknesses, which is not allowing big plays.
2. What do you like best about Andy Reid, and what would your biggest complaint be?
The thing I like best about him is his play calling. The thing I complain about the most is his play calling. I don't know how the man does it but he can impress me so much while also infuriating me. There have been some drives this season where Reid's play calling is just on point. The Chiefs have looked like an unstoppable force on some drives and it's because Reid does such a great job with the offense. But then third and short will come up and he will pass it. Or he will punt it on fourth and one from the opponent's 36-yard line. There are some things that frustrate me but ultimately the Chiefs aren't making the strides they have over the past year without Reid. There has been more good than bad, that's for sure.
3. What kind of defenses give the Chiefs problems on offense?
Like anyone else, it's defenses that bring pressure. Making the quarterback uncomfortable is generally something defenses want to do. The thing is, the Chiefs have an appropriate response to a lot of defenses. Alex Smith is a smart guy and what they're doing -- shorter passes designed to gain YAC, as well as feeding the rock to Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis -- isn't easy to consistently stop. The Chiefs offense may not be putting up 30-plus points every week but it's hard to completely shut them down. When the Chiefs lose (see second half of 2013) it's been on the defense more often than the offense.
4. What is the state of the offensive line?
This is one of the youngest lines in the NFL. Starting G Jeff Allen is out for the year. OT Donald Stephenson isn't starting anymore after missing a month due to suspension to start the season. They are a good run blocking group. OT Eric Fisher, the No. pick in 2013, mans the left side. His athleticism combined with that of C Rodney Hudson can make some of the stretch plays fun. Jamaal Charles is offensive line-proof and will look good behind any line which helps. This is not a very good pass blocking group. Fisher has been turned around at times and G Mike McGlynn and OT Ryan Harris were both available to be signed right before the season for a reason. G Zach Fulton is a sixth round pick last May so he's had the usual rookie issues. I make those criticisms while knowing that Andy Reid is going to account for them. The pass blocking issues have not ruined the Chiefs offense. The Chiefs just tweak their offense knowing Smith isn't going to have seven-stop drops and all day to throw. That's OK though. That's why this offense, with shorter and quicker passes, fits with this offensive line.
5. How are the Chiefs special teams?
The Chiefs are a good special teams group. Last year they were a big reason the Chiefs were winning games. This year we just haven't seen the same impact ... until last week. Knile Davis took the second half kickoff to the house last week against the Rams, marking the Chiefs first special teams touchdown this season. The funny thing is, the Chiefs returners are more exciting this year than they were last year -- we just haven't seen the touchdowns coming in yet. Davis is a second-year kick return who is a big, strong, fast returner. A 6', 225-pound return man can be fun to watch. At punt returner the Chiefs have rookie De'Anthony Thomas. He is one of those guys who looks like he is going to break one every single time. You are going to be nervous on every punt return. Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub is regarded as one of the finest special teams coaches in the NFL. If you make a mistake, the Chiefs special teams will capitalize.