From The Other Side, Part 1

To get the lowdown on the Dolphins' next opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, we checked in with WarpaintIllustated.com's Nick Athan. In Part 1 of this edition of From The Other Side, we get Athan's take on the Chiefs offense.

Q: Has Tyler Thigpen emerged as a legitimate quarterback of the future for the Chiefs?

Nick Athan: The jury is still out on young Tyler Thigpen. He's shown significant progress since he took over the starter's role against the New York Jets in October. In fact, he should have won that game and butchering the play-calling with a lead late in the game might have cost the Dolphins the AFC East. With that said, the Chiefs are going to take one of the top quarterbacks in next April's draft. They think he's a solid No. 2, but plan on giving him plenty of competition in training camp.

Q: After all his off-the-field problems, how is Larry Johnson running these days?

NA: He's not regained his form since his return from the league's mandatory suspension. The problem is that with the Chiefs' new "Pistol" offense Johnson has been unable to find the holes that were available to him when he was at the pinnacle of his career. The disturbing part of his game this year is the fact he's not running with a lot of power nor breaking tackles like he did when he was full speed.

Q: How have former Dolphins Damion McIntosh and Wade Smith performed on the offensive line?

NA: It took time for McIntosh to adjust from the left side to the right side of the offensive line. When the Chiefs signed him in 2007 they had eyes for him at left tackle but when the team drafted Branden Albert last April, he was forced to move to right tackle. Over the last seven games he'd been solid. As far as Smith, he's played both right guard and center. It took him a while to get on the field but with injuries, he's finally taken advantage of his opportunity. Long term, I think Smith could be the starting right guard in 2009, but it's less likely McIntosh will be on the roster.

Q: Tony Gonzalez seems to a major factor on offense; is he playing as well as ever?

NA: There is no doubt he's the best tight end in the NFL today and I can't see him slowing down anytime soon. What he's done on the field after his trade demand in late September is play some of the best football of his career. He's also taken quarterback Tyler Thigpen under his wing and that has helped his development as a starter.

Q: How tough a matchup is wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who played his high school football in Miami?

NA: Bowe is one of the best young receivers in the NFL. He's having a solid sophomore season but he's dropped quite a few balls that has reminded many of the problems that Gonzalez had in his second year in the NFL. We all know how his career turned out. Bowe is a very strong, physical receiver who is going to be a tough matchup for the Dolphins secondary. The only thing that could negate his play on Sunday are the frigid temperatures. Can't see either team throwing the ball that much.

Q: How can the Chiefs rebound after blowing a late lead the way they did against San Diego last Sunday?

NA: They've had six disappointing losses this year and each week they came back with no ill effects or hangovers from the previous game. As a testament to Herm Edwards' coaching ability, he's had his troops ready to play every Sunday.


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