The Eagles begin the second half of their preseason schedule on Friday. To get a better feel for our opponent, I was able to interview Joel Thorman of the Kansas City Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride. Check out the interview below—
BirdsFan.com: Eric Berry was a guy that myself and a lot of other Eagles fans hoped the team might make a run at on draft day. How has he looked so far and what are your expectations of him for the 2010 season?
ArrowheadPride.com: He’s looked solid so far. We’re really impressed at the whole package. On the field, he was quickly plugged on the first team and hasn’t looked back. He’s fast, smart, and works hard. Off the field, he’s been great which the Chiefs are excited about.
BF: Dexter McCluster is an interesting prospect. What has his role been in offense so far? Are the Chiefs drawing up any special plays for him? Any wildcat?
AP: His role has been all over the place—running back, receiver, wildcat, and returner. Lots of different places. He’ll primarily be a receiver, but we’re all excited to see how they’re going to work him into the offense. I imagine he’ll be used as a decoy often as well.
BF: Who are some players the Chiefs brought in this year that we might not know who are making an impact?
AP: The new guys that will make an impact are the rookies. Eric Berry will be the starting safety while Dexter McCluster will contribute in a handful of ways, including slot receiver. Javier Arenas appears to be the starting nickelback at this point and he’ll be the No. 1 kick returner. In addition to those three, the Chiefs drafted Tony Moeaki, a tight end out of Iowa who may be the tight end with the best hands and most athleticism.
BF: Since the 2009 season, where have the Chiefs improved the most offensively? Defensively?
AP: Offensively by a long shot. They brought in McCluster, a couple of new offensive linemen and retained Chris Chambers. This will be a decent offense in 2010. They made few changes to the defense, particularly the front seven, so they’re banking on the guys already in-house improving drastically.
BF: Jamaal Charles is an interesting player that people are high on. Will he split time equally with Thomas Jones? Do you see him possibly taking the starting spot during the season?
AP: No one quite knows how they’ll split carries. I’ve been going with a 60/40 split in favor of Charles simply because he’s been the better player during training camp. I don’t think this position is so much about who starts—they’ll both see time—but who receives the most carries. Hopefully Charles doesn’t get relegated to a small role again to start the season.
BF: Matt Cassel’s quarterback rating dropped roughly 20 points from his 2008 season in New England to his 2009 season in Kansas City. What would you attribute that to most? Will we see an improved Cassel in 2010?
AP: It’s attributable to a lot of things. New offense. New coaches. New receivers. New offensive line. And none of those were very good in year one. The Chiefs' receivers also led the league in dropped passes, which didn’t help. They also fired their offensive coordinator and implemented a new offense at the start of 2009. There were a lot of reasons for Matt Cassel to fail last year. I think you’ll see an improved Cassel in 2010, but it’s becoming clear, in my mind, the Chiefs are going to be focused on running the ball in 2010.
BF: You were able to see Kevin Kolb first hand last year as one of his two starts came against the Chiefs. What are your thoughts on Kolb and the whole ordeal of trading Donovan McNabb?
AP: I think Kevin Kolb is an excellent quarterback. I wish the Chiefs could draft back-to-back quarterbacks like that. Trading McNabb was probably the best move because you had to do something with Kolb at some point. McNabb’s value would start to decrease after this year and who knows if you’d have another buyer like the Redskins. They got value for McNabb while they could. It was a good move because Kolb won’t be a major dropoff statistically from McNabb.
BF: If this were a regular season game, what would scare you most about the Eagles offense? Defense?
AP: The Eagles' passing attack would scare me the most. The Chiefs have a very good secondary, but in the past they’ve been exposed in the middle of the field by solid tight ends like Brent Celek. The Chiefs can’t get to the quarterback, so there would be some problems with a team like the Eagles.
BF: If you could take one player from the Eagles and put them on the Chiefs, who would it be and why?
AP: Kevin Kolb. It starts and stops with the quarterback and Kolb looks very good.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
AP: 27-13 Eagles