Every week, I hope to bring you a quick Q&A with someone who covers the Ravens' opponent that week. On Sunday, the Ravens will take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Adam Teicher covers the Chiefs for The Kansas City Star, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions heading into the game.
MV: One of your colleagues, Sam Mellinger, wrote a column this week calling for the Chiefs to fire general manager Scott Pioli, coach Romeo Crennel and quarterback Matt Cassel. This year appeared to hold a lot of promise for the Chiefs, who were competitive in 2011 despite many injuries. How did it get to this point so quickly?
AT: I could keep you here a few hours answering that question. They have a lot of players who aren't playing well now. They're turning the ball over at incredible rates and not taking it away from opponents. Their defense continues to make the same errors over and over. Pretty long list.
MV: It appears Cassel has regressed since his strong 2010 season, the year the Ravens and Chiefs met in the playoffs. Speaking more specifically than his many turnovers this season, what went wrong for Cassel?
AT: He is, and always has been, a QB who needed everything working well around him in order to play well. Even when the Chiefs won the division in 2010, Cassel was just along for the ride. The Chiefs led the league in rushing and he didn't screw things up for them. He's never been the kind of QB that will carry a team on his back.
MV: There have been a lot of questions in Baltimore this week about how their no-huddle offense will operate in the unfriendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium, but the Chiefs have been outscored, 77-44, in two home losses this season. What has happened to that home-field advantage, and will a loud crowd still be a factor Sunday?
AT: The Chiefs have been blown out a lot at home the last couple of seasons. That takes the crowd out of the game. If the Chiefs can get a lead or keep things even, it should be loud Sunday. But if they fall way behind like they have in all four of their games this season, the Ravens should have no problem with noise.
MV: A year removed from a torn ACL, Jamaal Charles is among the league leaders in rushing yards and one of the few bright spots for the Chiefs. Are you surprised to see him get this large of a workload right away and to see him be so productive -- he's averaging 5.8 yards a carry -- after being sidelined for basically a full season?
AT: It is early for him to be so busy and so productive, but he is. The Chiefs would prefer not to use Charles so much but in the one game he got the ball a ton, against New Orleans, Hillis got injured and the Chiefs had the ball for a ton of plays so they had no choice but to get Charles the ball a lot.
MV: The Chiefs have chucked more than 40 passes per game this season and the Ravens, who rank near the bottom of the league in pass defense, have been thrown against more than 40 times a game. Do you expect the Chiefs, despite Cassel's struggles, to try to attack the Ravens mostly through the air Sunday?
AT: Not if they're smart. The Chiefs haven't led in a game all season, even the game they won. They were behind against the Saints all game and tied it with three seconds left before winning in OT. So the Chiefs haven't been able to play any portion of any game on their terms and call the plays they'd like to call. But if they fall hopelessly behind early as they have in all four of their games, they won't have any choice.