Coming off a 23-12 victory over the Buccaneers, which saw the Bengals backups defeat the Buccaneers’ backups, the Bengals are at it again this week, hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. The last time the Bengals and Chiefs played each other, Andy Dalton and Alex Smith combined for more than 700 passing yards, and the Chiefs’ kicker made seven more field goals than the Bengals’ kicker (Cairo Santos was 7 for 7 while Nugent was 0 for 1) in a 36-21 Bengals’ victory.
It’s doubtful either team will feature a quarterback compiling 300 yards, and it’s equally doubtful the Bengals’ kicking competition will be overshadowed seven to zero. So what will this game feature? To get a better feel for this we spoke with Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride some questions to get better understand the opponent the Bengals will be facing Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Scott Schulze: Now that Jamaal Charles is in Denver, how do you envision the Chiefs splitting the workload between Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, Kareem Hunt, and C.J. Spiller?
Joel Thorman: Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt should get the bulk of the touches this season. Hunt in particular has shined in the passing game so far in training camp which is a big part of a back's duty in Andy Reid's offense. Spiller has looked pretty good so at this point I think he makes the 53-man and factors in. West, if he makes it, would likely be an "in case of emergency" type back.
SS: The Chiefs parting ways with Jeremy Maclin came as a surprise to those of us who don’t follow the Chiefs that closely. Was it something that was that surprising to more ardent observers of the team? Did the team see enough in Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley that made them feel Maclin was expendable?
JT: It was a surprise to everyone involved. Chiefs fans had talked about the possibility of cutting Maclin but that was months earlier when free agency started and you could actually spend the money you saved by cutting him. Not in June. The reason for his release, besides his cap hit, was Tyreek Hill. He has emerged as a legit receiver and the sky feels like the limit for him. His ceiling is one of the top receivers in the NFL. He's not there yet but he has the skills to get there.
SS: The Chiefs traded away two 1st round picks and a 3rd round pick to move up in the draft and select Patrick Mahomes. He had an efficient first preseason game, with completions on seven of nine attempts for 49 with a touchdown. Has he looked good in training camp, and do you see him replacing Alex Smith and starting some time this season?
JT: I'm going to say no on starting this season. If Alex is hurt, all bets are off. Mahomes will likely be the No. 2 this season so he could get in with an injury. However, the Chiefs ideally want to wait a year. They know Alex Smith can potentially lead them to the playoffs again. They'll ride Alex as far as he'll take them this season and then the real debate starts in 2018.
SS: After starting 2016 at 2-2, the Chiefs went on a big 10-2 run to win the AFC West and reach the playoffs. What do fans expect from the Chiefs this year?
JT: There is more pessimism this year than you'd expect from a 12-4 team who's been to the playoffs in three of the past four seasons. That's because the offseason felt like there was some turmoil - from cutting Maclin to firing GM John Dorsey to giving up future picks to draft a quarterback who ideally doesn't play this year. It was nothing that, in itself, would be a huge concern but all these things piling up on each other this offseason it almost feels ominous. That said, you still have Andy Reid and Alex Smith and that defense. The Chiefs will be competing for a playoff spot but in arguably the toughest decision there isn't the optimism there was last year.
SS: I know it’s only pre-season, so I won’t ask for a score or a winner, but what should Bengals’ fans look for from the Chiefs in the game? Any hidden gems or rookies who are impressing in camp that we should take notice of? Any interesting positional battles of note?
JT: Tyreek Hill will be fun. If he gets a clear release then you need a safety over the top or he's gone. The Chiefs have been working on their deep passing game this offseason so look for a few shots in this game. Check out Chiefs rookie defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon who has a huge wingspan. He's played inside and outside so I'm curious to see how he turns out. The Chiefs have a really good kicker in Cairo Santos but he has been hurt. Sam Ficken was signed to replace him last week and could do so again this week. He missed a few kicks in practice over the weekend so we could be in for a ride if he has to kick again on Saturday.
How well do you know the Kansas City Chiefs? In which STATE are the Kansas City Chiefs located?
This poll is closed
Duh, it’s Kansas!
I think it’s Missouri, maybe?
I have no idea. But I think they make BBQ sauce there.