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Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (2-7) - Getting To Know Pittsburgh's Week 11 Opponent

It's been a few weeks since we had a little Q&A with the SBN blog of the Pittsburgh Steelers upcoming opponent. Let's get back to it with a few questions from me for Arrowhead Pride, an immensely fast paced and popular blog. Considering just how sorry the Chiefs have been the past two years, it's remarkable just how vibrant and heavily populated a site Chris Thorman and his brother Joel (who I exchanged these questions with) have built. My questions to Joel's answers should be up on AP at some point soon. - Blitz - 


BTSC: Matt Cassell hasn't quite played like a quarterback worthy of the big free agent contract he got this offseason. Tell us a bit about how he's played and what Chiefs fans think his potential is as the rest of the roster on offense improves moving forward.

Arrowhead PrideCassel's hasn't played the best season in '09 but I think to a degree that was expected.  There was no way he was going to match the numbers he put up in New England so I think that was an unrealistic expectation.  The fact that he hasn't imploded in a situation with so many things going against him is impressive. He's not putting up the numbers yet but when the rest of the offense catches up to him he should play well. 

BTSC: The Chiefs are 1-0 without Larry Johnson. Granted it was a win over the Raiders, but sometime the old adage 'addition by subtraction' is oh so true. Are the Chiefs better off without LJ from a 'chemistry' standpoint. Perhaps more importantly, might the Chiefs be better offensively without LJ? I wrote recently that I thought the Redskins would be better without Clinton Portis - the reasoning being that their offense is designed aournd him to be a workhorse; and he's just not capable of shouldering that load anymore. My initial hunch is that the Chiefs might be the same way. Thoughts?

Arrowhead Pride:  I think you're onto something.  While I'm not sure how much the chemistry is or isn't affected, I do think the Chiefs are a better offense without LJ.His biggest strength was wearing down defenses by running the ball between the tackles for 20+ times a game. The Chiefs simply do not have the personnel to do that. His absence is making the Chiefs look elsewhere for ball carriers.  Last week Jamaal Charles went for over 100 yards for the second time in his career so I'd say they're off to a good start. 

BTSC: Talk to us about your new head coach Todd Haley. Multiple national writers have commented on his propensity to lose his cool on the sidelines during games. We learned about Haley and his father during the lead up to the Super Bowl last year and how he's been a temperamental guy dating all the way back to his youth.  What are your thoughts on Haley as a leader of men? We know he's had ample success designing and coordinating offenses, but obviously being a head coach in the NFL requires more than just scheming. 

Arrowhead Pride:  Personally, this topic is a little overblown to me.  His personality doesn't bother me a whole lot one way or the other. If we're losing, then Todd Haley is a jerk who screams a lot.  If we're winning, he's Bill Cowher.


BTSC: How is Kansas City's rush defense? Have their first round draft picks from the past two years - Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson - shown anything this year that gives fans reason to believe their defense will be improved moving forward? 

Arrowhead PrideStatistically the Chiefs rush defense is about the same as last year but if you've watched them you can tell they're better.  Glenn Dorsey is coming along.  He's probably not the multiple Pro Bowler many of us thought he would be when he was drafted into a 4-3 scheme, but I'm content with his progress.  Tyson Jackson is haven't a huge season but defensive linemen take a little while to develop and I trust Scott Pioli's drafting prowess when it comes to 3-4 defensive ends.  I think both ends will turn out just fine. 


BTSC: The Steelers have been atrocious covering kick returns this year. Who is the Chiefs KR and how has he fared this year? 

Arrowhead PrideYou're terrible at covering kick returns? Consider this game a confidence booster. The Chiefs have really struggled in the return game this year. It seems like every week another combination of guys is trotted out there and the results are the same. The Chiefs return game isn't something you should be worrying about.