Behind Enemy Lines: Chiefs

Charlie goes behind enemy lines with Nick Athan, the editor of Warpaint Illustrated and Warpaint, host of the Out of Bounds Podcast, as well as a contributor to Sirius NFL Radio as well as other sports related radio and television shows.

1. Larry Johnson is known around the league to be the Chiefs top offensive weapon, and he struggled for the first few games of the season before breaking out against the Chargers. Were his struggles due to teams stacking the line of scrimmage to stop him, or was it something else?

    Larry Johnson might be a victim of his own success. This season he struggled primarily because of long contract holdout. He missed all of the teams practices in River Falls and by the time he came to Kansas City after signing a $43 million contract he wasn't in football shape.

    He's always been a slow starter and generally he needs about 12-15 carries to get into the flow of the game. At the moment he still is dancing behind the line of scrimmage but was far better at running forward against the Chargers last Sunday and it paid dividend in the fourth quarter to seal the Chiefs 30-16 win in San Diego.

    LJ has also been slowed by a sore hamstring and probably won't practice until Friday again this week. Still he's capable of scoring a touchdown at any place on the field. He's due for a real breakout game and last year against Jacksonville he was on fire.

2. Do the Chiefs line up Dwayne Bowe on one side of the field, or do they tend to move him around to the other side, slot, etc.?

    Kansas City is still exploring how to use their first round draft pick Dwayne Bowe. He's been lights out the last three weeks scoring touchdowns against the Bears, Vikings and the Chargers.

    He's in one of those zones right now where he can do whatever he wants on the field. The Chiefs line him up on the same side as All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez. But sometimes as was the case against the Chargers when he scored a 51-yard touchdown, he lined up right next to his tight end.

    Thus far he's not done a lot of motion but with the return of wide receiver Eddie Kennison to the line up on Sunday he'll play some in the slot and outside.

3. Jared Allen has seemed to make a difference since he¹s returned on a very underrated Kansas City defense. Do the Chiefs like to move him around to take advantage of mismatches on the offensive line?

    Jared Allen has come into his own since coming off a two-game suspension for a pair of DUI's last year. He's been one of the primary reasons the Chiefs have jumped from a Top Ten defense to third best since his return.

    He can play either side of the line of scrimmage but he's far more effective from the left side than the right. But he brings so much passion to this defense that it has fueled their team energy.

    He was very upset last week he didn't sack Chargers Quarterback Phillip Rivers. He had him in his grasp twice but could not pull him to the ground. That means that Jaguards Quarterback David Garrard could be in some trouble on Sunday.

4. Do you believe the Brodie Croyle is the future long-term quarterback of the Chiefs, or will they try and draft someone next year?

    I do think that Brodie Croyle is the future and I'm of the opinion that at some point, regardless of the Chiefs record that he'll get his shot to lead this offense. KC's offense is built around the quarterback making just enough plays to keep defense's honest. Head Coach Herm Edwards doesn't believe that the team will win or lose based on the quarterback. It'll be the cast around him that determines the number of victories the Chiefs will get in 2007.

    Damon Huard has been remarkable considering the fact he's taking some shots.

    He's been in sync with Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. If he can find a similar rhythm with Eddie Kennison this offense might become one feared by every defense in the NFL.

5. Are Ty Law and Patrick Surtain still playing at a high level at their advanced age?

    The Chiefs aging corners aren't quite done yet. Ty Law and Patrick Surtain are both in the best shape of their careers and they've been solid. At times, Law has struggled closing on wide receivers but he was dominating last week against a Chargers receiving crew that wasn't all that strong.

    The Chiefs aren't concerned about either of their veteran cornerbacks because of the play of the young safeties. Both Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard have been steady and their rapid growth on the field has allowed Law and Surtain to be more aggressive.

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