The Answer Man Is Back !

<b>Reporter: </b> Knock, knock, knock.<BR><b>Answer Man: </b> Don't you mean grovel, grovel, grovel? <BR><BR><b>R: </b> Yeah, I know I told you I didn't need you anymore, but really it's the only format I can use.<br><b>AM: </b> What about a straight-forward scouting report? Use that and put all the tips I give you into that. No one's cited as the source; no one gets hurt.

R: That was my intention, but there are other questions I have; questions about the club; questions only you can answer. Besides, this format at least hints that the answers are coming from someone who knows what he's talking about, someone in authority. That way I don't have to identify you, and it's goofy enough that opposing teams can't believe it. It's a win-win all the way around.
AM: Except for the poor readers who have to put up with your slappiness. Anyway, you said you had some questions to ask about the club, Susan Carroll from Early Magazine. I'll give you two, then we move on to the Chiefs.

R: Alright. Here's one. I watched James Farrior play some terrific football as the drop backer in the dime last week. Will you consider keeping him there when Joey Porter comes back? That way you could move Porter back at his more natural rush-end spot.
AM: Good. You've come a along way. You're thinking like a coach now. That was actually proposed to the head man this week, and was turned down. Joey's the best pass rusher on the team but he's also the best coverage linebacker, and right now coverage is the priority. Clark Haggans will rush, and he'll move around so that Kendrell Bell and Alonzo Jackson remain in the picture and hopefully grow. But good thought. It might come to pass later, but not right now. Next.

R: Well, that took some of the edge off. I think you've got me sufficiently buttered, so here's a softball. When does Troy Polamalu move into the starting lineup?
AM: You don't have a problem with the way Mike Logan played, do you? No, Mike's playing very well and when he gets injured Troy will step in. It'll happen. Mike's already got an icebag here, an icebag there, an icebag on the back of his neck. Just hope it doesn't happen until Troy has a better understanding of the defense.

R: OK. Let's move on to the Chiefs. How will you deal with that offense? Aaron Smith told me he doubts they'll spread it out since that might disrupt their great running game. Sound about right?
AM: It sounds about wrong. The Chiefs love to run out of the spread. Their fullback, Tony Richardson, can't block sh--, but they tried it anyway against us two years ago. It wasn't until we went to our dime at 20-2 that they started running Priest Holmes and he went wild.

R: So your nickel might be the perfect tonic.
AM: I'm here to answer questions, not nod at statements. That's one thing that really burns me up with you reporters. Move on to your next topic, and make it a question.

R: Do they have four receivers good enough to spread the field?
AM: Yeah they have four solid receivers. None you have to double but they all know the system and they all can get open. Dante Hall is an Antwaan Randle El type. Eddie Kennison and Johnny Morton are doing more skinny posts and crossing routes but they're not going to be able to give you the 15-yard comeback and beat you out of the break. The fourth guy is more of a second tight end, so Troy and Logan should be able to do a job there, to answer your previous question.

R: Tony Gonzalez only caught two passes last week. Two years ago, when he caught 93, that was an average series for him. Is the great tight end slipping?
AM: No. He's not the only factor now. Before they didn't have any receivers and Priest wasn't there. Now with Priest and those receivers and the offense they're running - stretching you vertically - it's not that he's slipping. There's only one ball and they've got a lot of weapons. That offense dictates spreading the ball around.

R: And the line? I know about Will Shields and Willie Roaf. My man Kimo von Oelhoffen tells me the center is also a potential Pro Bowler.
AM: I think Casey Wiegmann, their center, is the only weak link, but he's still good. He's better than the guy we saw last week, and top-to-bottom Kansas City has one of the better lines around. John Tait's also good and their other guard, Brian Waters, is underrated and good.

R: OK. What about their defensive line? Vonnie Holliday had three sacks last week. That's about half a career for him, isn't it?
AM: He's not a premier guy, but there are very few premier D-ends in the league. I do think he's much better than what they had. He's solid. Do you have to double team him? No. But you have to be aware of him. The rest of the line is OK. Ryan Sims is stout and will get some push. John Browning is a pretty good combination of run and pass defender. Eric Hicks is a vet, nothing spectacular. Their linebackers really drop and play the pass quickly. They're speed guys, except the middle guy. None of the three are stout, strong, take-on guys. Their safeties are aggressive, but they're more run-stopping safeties. Their corners are their weakness.

R: What's the key to the game?
AM: The corners. Whoever's corners play better, I think, will win. And right now, I think our corners are better. So that's it. Got fuel to burn; got roads to drive.

By Jim Wexell

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