Eavesdropping On The Enemy

This season we will attempt to go undercover and spy on the opposing fans of each Chiefs opponent. We'll attempt to find out how they view the upcoming game, how their offense will fair against the Chiefs defense and how their defense will fair against the Chiefs offense.

This week the Chiefs welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to Arrowhead to kickoff the 2006 season. I went undercover in two Bengals message boards: The Jungle and the Scout.com board Bengals Insider.

The fans on these boards are very confident in their team's ability to waltz into Arrowhead and start the 2006 season with a win. They believe their offense cannot be stopped by the Chiefs defense and that their defense is greatly improved against the run because of two key additions and their pass defense will continue to be the ball-hawking group is was in 2005.

Bengals Offense vs. Chiefs Defense

"Our offense looks like it hasn't skipped a beat and may be even better...Palmer definitely looks like he's back better than ever. KC just doesn't have the D to shut us down." Uglyswami – The Jungle

"How is KC's defense going to rattle Carson? They had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last year. And while Ty Law is still a good NFL player, he can't cover Johnson and Houshmandzadeh simultaneously." – BengalFan9 – Bengals Insider

"The Chiefs will score some, but they'll be outscored a lot." – LostinDaJungle – Bengals Insider

The Spy's analysis

There is no doubting the prowess of the Bengals offense. Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Carson Palmer put up big numbers. The Chiefs defense gave up big numbers in the passing game last year. That would not appear to be a good scenario for the Chiefs. However, there are a couple of things to consider. First, the Chiefs defense has greatly upgraded its talent. Ty Law replaced Eric Warfield, Lenny Walls replaced Dexter McCleon, Bernard Pollard replaced Jerome Woods, Jarrod Page replaced William Bartee, Tamba Hali replaced Eric Hicks, Derrick Johnson in his second year replaced Derrick Johnson the rookie. Those are big upgrades in talent.

Second Carson Palmer is coming off of a very serious knee injury. Yes he looked to be fine in two preseason games, but now the bullets are flying for real. The speed of the game will be up a notch or two from preseason. Palmer may be able to play, but he's not 100% healthy. That knee will likely impact his performance.

If the Chiefs defense is to succeed against the Bengals they will need to first stifle Rudi Johnson. Johnson is a big powerful back with quick feet. Stopping the running game will be huge. If they can stop the run, the next challenge will be getting pressure on Carson Palmer. This is the reason Hali is an upgrade over Hicks. Hali is quicker and faster than Hicks and should help the Chiefs greatly improve their pass rush.

Bengals Defense vs. Chiefs Offense

"I really do think our D is gonna be light-yrs better than last yr. KC likes to run the ball, so this will be as good a measuring stick for our run D as we are gonna get. I'm thinking our D has improved enough, even in the early part of the season, to allow our O to outscore just about anyone that doesn't have a great D. KC doesn't have a great D." Uglyswami – The Jungle

"You can't replace a cornerstone tackle with a guy who hasn't taken a snap in 2 years and expect not to miss a beat." CaB – The Jungle

"Sam Adams will be in on the 1st and 2nd downs and then rotated out on passing downs. He has been working on conditioning all pre-season. I'm confident that he will be fine all game. We should see some improvement in the run defense." BengalsRule85 – Bengals Insider

The Spy's Analysis

The Bengals defense last year created several turnovers but struggled stopping the run. To improve their run defense they signed defensive tackle Sam Adams and safety Dexter Jackson. They also welcomed free safety Madieu Williams back from injury. If you are going to improve your run defense the Bengals have changed the personnel in the correct areas…the middle (defensive tackle and safety). However, the Bengals lost middle linebacker Odell Thurman to a four game suspension. The Chiefs interior line has played against Adams when he played for the Raiders and when he played for the Bills. They had success in both instances.

The Chiefs do have concerns at offensive tackle. Kyle Turley replacing Willie Roaf is a downgrade. Anybody replacing Willie Roaf is a downgrade. Most fans outside of KC like to point out how bad the Chiefs offense was when Roaf went out with injuries last season. However, Kyle Turley replacing Jordan Black at left offensive tackle is an upgrade. Yes Turley has been out of the game for two years, but he's also a tactician. Offensive line play is about technique and Turley is one of the best. Kevin Sampson replacing Welbourne is virtually a push. Welbourne has more experience, but Sampson beat him out last year.

For the Chiefs offense to really click again this year the key is Larry Johnson. If he can continue to produce 100 yard rushing performances, this offense will be hard to stop. The Chiefs need two players with great potential to finally showcase their talent in the passing game: Samie Parker and Kris Wilson. Both are entering their third season and now is the time for them to breakout. If they do, this offense will be even more difficult to defend.

The Spy's Summary

"The Bengals defense reminds me of the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs defense. Creates lots of turnovers, but gives up a lot of yards." This was a quote from the article I wrote last season when the Bengals visited Arrowhead in week 17 of last season. Turnovers are great, but they come in bunches. Defenses that rely on turnovers really struggle when they don't get them, especially when they can't stop the run. That is what happened to the Chiefs defense in 2004. I don't think the Bengals have improved the run defense and I expect the Chiefs to really try to pound Larry Johnson.

The Chiefs defense will likely struggle to contain the Bengals passing offense, but I do expect to see two things. I expect the Chiefs defense to hold Rudi Johnson in check as they continue their strong run defense from last year and I expect Gunther Cunningham to send several blitzes at Carson Palmer very early. The goal won't necessarily be to sack Palmer, but to get into his head with worry about his knee. I think Gunther will try to see how Palmer reacts to players falling around his feet. Depending on how Palmer responds, this could result in several rushed passes.

 

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