Each week Coltzilla will preview the upcoming game by speaking with fellow bloggers who write about the upcoming opponent. The Colts face the Chiefs this weekend, who are 3-0 and the last undefeated team this year. Joining Coltzilla this week is Joel Thorman from Arrowhead Pride to give us some answers.
CZ: In your opinion, how well has Ryan Lilja performed since you picked him up, after the Colts released him following the 2009 season? Some fans in Indianapolis feel like this was the wrong move for the Colts offensive line, do you agree?
JT: I think he’s been just fine. The Chiefs are running a zone blocking system so they need athletic guys like that. From what I understand, he was released in Indy because they were going bigger on offense. I don’t think that’s a knock on Lilja — it’s just the system. But for KC, he’s been very good, and more than anything he’s been consistent at a position that caused a lot of problems last year.
CZ: The Chiefs secondary is very young, with rookies like safety Eric Berry and Javier Arenas. Even some of Kansas City’s experienced players have only been around for a few years. Are you worried about Peyton Manning taking advantage of this inexperience? How have Berry and cornerback Brandon Flowers looked so far? How have they responded to play action?
JT: Yeah I’m worried about that to an extent. I don’t think being young means Manning will necessarily attack you — I think he attacks everyone. But I do know what you mean. I’d be more worried about the rookie safeties, Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis, biting on a play-action or something like that and getting beat deep. I’m confident though that Romeo Crennel will put these guys in the best possible position and won’t allow a ton of 50+ yard touchdown passes.
CZ: Who will cover Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, and Pierre Garçon? Which match-up worries you most?
JT: You’ve got Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers at the corners. Flowers is at the very top of the second tier group of corners right now. He’s very close to becoming one of the very few best corners in the game. He’s outstanding and watching him go up against Reggie Wayne would be pretty awesome. The Chiefs have rookie Javier Arenas at nickel and he seems solid but definitely young. Berry may end up on Clark at times which could be a fun matchup. I’m not sure that any particular matchup worries me because Manning will spread it around to everyone.
CZ: A lot of Colts fans are unfamiliar with much of the Chiefs offense. There are familiar names like Dwayne Bowe, Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles, and Tony Moeaki who have earned some NFL notoriety. Even though the Colts have given fans reason to worry about the defense so far this year, how do you think the Chiefs offense can best exploit Indy’s defense? What player will have an impact that most Colts fans do not know?
JT: The best way for the Chiefs to win: run the ball. That’s the Chiefs strength by a long shot and the Colts biggest weakness. Running the football will slow things down, keep Peyton Manning off the field and give the defense a break. It does so many good things that the Chiefs need to do to win this game.
Dexter McCluster could be part of the offense. He’s got video game-like skills and in Week 3 was involved in the offense more than he ever has been so we’re thinking you may see more of him.
CZ: The Chiefs are the lone undefeated team in the NFL after four weeks. How big of a surprise is this to fans in Kansas City? What are your expectations, or what does the fan base expect from the rest of the season? What would make it a success? Predict the outcome of the game this Sunday?
JT: It’s definitely a surprise to Kansas City fans and every NFL fan. No one predicted this. As for expectations, I think fans are starting to get excited again but I would characterize us as cautiously optimistic. Clearly, at 3-0, playoffs on your mind, whether it’s premature or not. But I think with the 3-0 start, making the playoffs would be a successful season.
Prediction: 20-16 Chiefs.