Last week on 610 Sports with Nick Wright I said the two things I said I wanted to see the most in Friday night's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons was the play of Matt Cassel and the front seven.
One didn't do so well and the other played adequately. At the end of the day, we didn't really learn anything new about either of those two, which I consider the biggest question marks entering the season.
Just so you all can see how wrong I was about what needed to happen against the Falcons, I've transcribed my conversation with Nick. You can listen to the audio here (about 3/4ths of the way through).
There's also some stuff in there about how awesome all of our readers/contributors are so you all have been recognized.
Nick: A couple years ago I stumbled across a website known as ArrowheadPride.com. It was a pretty well run site with a lot of fan interaction. It has become the very best Chiefs website there is and it's part of the SB Nation family of blogs.
A few weeks ago I made a bet with the man that runs Arrowhead Pride, Joel Thorman, about when Eric Berry would get to camp. I bet a barbecue lunch on the winner and plus if I won I was going to write a post on his site and if he won he was going to come on the show. To be honest, I was going to have him on the show anyway but Joel was right and Eric Berry was there much earlier than I expected.
Joel Thorman from Arrowhead Pride joins us now. Joel, how's it going my friend?
Joel: What's going on Nick? Doing great. Glad you were able to live up to your side of the bet on this one.
Nick: Absolutely. I still have to buy you some Oklahoma Joe's. You were going to have to buy me Arthur Bryants but Oklahoma Joe's for you. I did put out there that if Eric Berry got to camp on the first day I would buy barbecue for the entire Arrowhead Pride readership. It looked like I was going to be out thousands of dollars but fortunately for me he didn't get there until the second ay. He tweeted he was coming up the first day but didn't get there until the second day so I think I'm safe on that.
But one of the things I love about your website is all the information you cull but also all the fan interaction. You probably have your pulse on the diehard Chiefs fans more than anybody. Joel, what do you think they're looking for tonight?
Joel: People want to see...first, Cassel. He has to step it up. He had a rough year last year. I was looking at the stats from the 2009 preseason and the Chiefs didn't have one game where they scored more than one touchdown. So Cassel has to do it.
The second thing is getting to the quarterback with that front seven. The Chiefs didn't do anything there so that's a huge question mark at this point. We'll have to see how much of a difference Romeo Crennel is going to make.
Nick: You mention Cassel as one of the things Chiefs fans want to see as well as a pass rush. I don't know about you but I've been surprised, and maybe this is partly on me, but there's been almost no discussion on Tamba Hali. Why do you think that is and what did you think when you were up at training camp?
Joel: He's one of those high-effort guys. I always appreciate guys like that. Last year he only had like eight sacks but he near the top of the league in quarterback pressures.
Nick: And as far as drawing holding calls on the other team.
Joel: Right. Maybe he's not getting the sexy stats but he's still making a difference. Tamba Hali can go out there and have an eight to ten sack season but make a bigger difference than it seems. I think Tamba will have a similar eight to ten sack season and he'll be fine.
Nick: They need to find someone else that can get to the quartebrack. If you're running a 3-4 and you want to do it effectively, you need about 20 sacks from those linebackers.They didn't upgrade that linebacking corp with the exception of Cameron Shefifield in the 5th round. Who do you think, linebacker or otherwise, can get to the quarterback other than Hali?
Joel: That's a tough question to answer. It's not going to be Vrabel because that's not really his strong suit at this point. It's got to be Derrick Johnson. Nick, you and I both have seen him a lot over the last few weeks and he looks high-energy and ready to go. If he actually gets on the field he's probably the best bet to be that complementary pass rusher but after that we're going to have to be surprised by someone because they didn't do anything.
Nick: Let's swtich to the offense. You do a very nice job at your website of adding some opinion but is it fair to say that you're more informational than opinion and leave the opinion in the comments?
Joel: Right. I think that's fair. The commenters do a good job of that, too.
Nick: How would you split the running back carries? I think they're edging closer to a 50/50 split but I think myself and a lot of the fans would rather see Charles get a 60/40 or 65/35 split.
Joel: I would definitely give Charles as many carries as possible. You kinda know what you're going to get with Thomas Jones at this point. He had a big year last year but also had a ton of carries. Jamaal Charles is a guy that can break loose at any time and there's really no one else on the roster who can offer that. If it's up to me, Jamaal Charles is getting a 70/30 split at least.
Nick: The only other guy on the roster with a big game potential is Dexter McCluster. I'm a littler worried for Dexter in as much as it seems like a guy who came into camp with very little hype. I think some were upset he was the second round draft pick because some people didn't understand it. Through two and a half weeks of camp, he's gotten all the hype. Now I think it's going to be tough for him to live up to it. But he certainly adds that game breaking potential.
Joel: He's definitely got that potential but like you I am getting worried he is getting hyped a little out of control. The fact is he hasn't played a game yet. He's, what, 5'7", 170 pounds? I really want to see him get that first pass across the middle, get drilled and get back up and go to the huddle. I think that's something he has to prove quickly. He can get into the open field and do some special things but he has to be in there for hopefully quite a few plays every game.
Nick: We're talking with Joel Thorman. His website's ArrowheadPride.com, it's part of the SB Nation blogs. It's the most visited of all the SB Nation blogs outside of one on mixed martial arts. Joel, how important is it that the Chiefs win this game?
Joel: I think it's more important than maybe any other preseason game because there's a strange amount of optimism for a team that's won so little so it would be nice to get a win. They didn't have any wins in preeason last year. Young teams like this need that momentum and confidence builders to keep going. I think they do need to win this game even if it is just preseason.
Nick: Let's move away from the Chiefs. Joel, how did you get your start doing this? What did you do before this was your full time job and how long did it take for this to become your full time job?
Joel: I worked in the most boring capacity for a marketing company. So basically the bar was set really low when I got there. I wasn't quite working eight hours a day. I was probably working four hours and then four hours on the blog, when I was supposed to be working.
Over the last year or year and a half, my brother Chris and I, really started to put more and more effort into it. At the end of the 2009 season, things really started to pick up quite a bit. I was able to transition over and just do this thing full time. So, I spend most of my days talking Chiefs all day, barely get pants on before noon, it's not a bad life.
Nick: You also run SB Nation Kansas City which has some of the same info as Arrowhead Pride but focuses on the other Kansas City sports teams. And that's one of the newer SB Nation blogs, right?
Joel: Right we rolled out these regional sites. We have all these team blogs and the regional blogs kind of tie it all together. I think all of our team blogs do such a good job that sometimes it's easier to go to the Kansas City to catch up on the Royals and Chiefs or the Chicago site to catch up on the Cubs and White Sox. It's kind of a higher level look at Kansas City sports but the idea is that you can go to the home page and look at the headlines and find out what the big stories in Kansas City sports that day are.
Nick: I can't encourage you guys to go to his sites enough. ArrowheadPride.com is one of my first sites in the day. For Chiefs fans, it is the absolute best place to go. He's a little too nice to the other radio station but that's because Joel's a nice guy.
I'm not overselling it. There's no money involved. This isn't a sponsorship. It's a really, really cool website and their commenters hate me. They hate me. I'm telling you. He posted my tweet inviting him on the show and they were critiquing my grammar on Twitter. They're not nice (laughs).