Of course, Green is known very well around these parts for being an elite quarterback during his six-year stint with the Chiefs. Between 2001-06, Kansas City won the AFC West once and made the postseason twice, both times falling to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Still, the Green era is fondly remembered by many for a lightning-strike offense and the greatest offensive line in franchise history.
Green, who resides in Kansas City and reads Arrowhead Pride in his spare time, was nice enough to take a few minutes Friday for a phone interview, and spoke about a variety of topics.
Q: The Chiefs seemed buried after an 0-2 start, but have rallied to become a good team. What are your thoughts on the turnaround?
A: "The thing I'm most impressed with is ability to overcome injuries, when you lose Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito. They have been without Eric Berry, the leader of secondary for five games. You are talking Pro Bowl guys and the defense has responded. Jamell Fleming was not around in preseason; Josh Mauga wasn't even around with an injury. I was watching film and I'm getting caught up on new bodies. On the offensive line, Mike McGlynn they got before the last preseason game and he's started all the games. Their ability to adjust, with all the injuries and distractions, the way they have gotten re-focused, has been impressive."
Q: Travis Kelce has emerged this season. You played with a great tight end in Tony Gonzalez, so what are your thoughts on the importance of a playmaker at the position?
A: "That was one of the points I tried making in the preseason. Everyone was making such an issue of the receiving position, about needing to complement Dwayne Bowe. My point was, you need guys to develop but what are we getting out of Travis Kelce. His ability to attack the middle of the field keeps teams from rolling safeties over the top toward Bowe ... All the years I was here, you could always get the matchup with Gonzalez. Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson would move inside to play nickel against him, unless Bailey was occasionally playing Eddie Kennison. Kelce is a difference maker. Instead of eight in the box, you get the running game opened up."
Q: Knile Davis was becoming a factor down the stretch last year but has blossomed this season. Is it watching the other guys or running backs coach Eric Bienemy?
A: "I think it's a combo. He sees Jamaal Charles' work ethic and approach. He has a player of that caliber to emulate and learn from, and having a second year in the system. You come in as a rookie and you're trying to understand the play from the quarterback, and you are saying ‘Wait a second, what is the play and what am I reading?' Then there is Eric Bienemy. Every running back I've talked to over the years who have dealt with him say he's very demanding. They love playing for him because they know he has their back, but he's very demanding. He doesn't accept mental mistakes. As a coach you have to find that fine line."
Q: Is this the year the Chiefs finally win a playoff game?
A: "I think the makeup is there. They have proven with the distractions and injuries they are a solid team. I made the statement a week ago that it is hard for three teams to make the playoffs out of one division, but I think it happens again this year. There is a long way to go but I think that happens. We are in Week 9 and I'm not surprised if all three make it. If the Chiefs win in the playoffs, that comes down to matchups. We run the ball well but haven't created turnovers, but we're getting the ball back and creating third and longs. We're also getting pressure on the quarterback. It gives you every reason to believe as a Chiefs fan."
Q: Is there a sense of optimism around this team that had been missing before Andy Reid showed up?
A: "I'll take it one step further. It's the addition of John Dorsey. He came in and changed the environment around the building and Andy changed it around the locker room. The entire feeling there is these are the two guys in place to get it done. The players trust Andy, but he's very demanding of them. There is a certain expectation of what he wants them to do and how he wants them to play and prepare. He knows when to push them and when to applaud them. In talking to players who have been through the coaching changes, they have a great deal of respect for Andy because they know where they stand."
Q: The defense has exceeded expectations, especially the secondary. Do you think it's Bob Sutton's scheme or the pass rush?
A: "I've said this for years, even as a player, that a pass rush helps the secondary and a secondary helps the pass rush. ... Sean Smith is playing better than a year ago and Phillip Gaines is getting an opportunity. Ron Parker has been playing safety but can also play corner and nickel, he's the most versatile guy they have."