By Jay Skurski
The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs have plenty in common.
For starters, they're both 0-1 after the first week of the season. Both defenses were shredded in the process.
They also both have quarterbacks who struggle with consistency (read this column by the Kansas City Star's Kent Babb. If you replace "Matt Cassel" with "Ryan Fitzpatrick," it rings pretty true to the situation here in Buffalo).
To find out more about the Chiefs, I spoke with Kansas City Star team beat writer Adam Teicher. Topics discussed included Cassel's struggles, the return from suspension of Tamba Hali and how running back Jamaal Charles looks after surgery to repair a torn ACL.
We also discuss the situation between Chiefs safety Eric Berry and Bills receiver Stevie Johnson. Berry was hurt in the season opener last year on a block by Johnson and missed the rest of the season.
The full audio segment is below, but here are a few highlights.
Q: Quarterback Matt Cassel sounds like he’s similar to the Bills’ Ryan Fitzpatrick in that he can be very good one game and then the opposite the next. Is that accurate?
A: "He’s kind of limited. The only way they’re going to win with him is with a strong running game and a good defense. Two years ago when they won the division, he had a nice year -- 27 touchdowns, seven INTs. They really never had to come from behind. He was just kind of along for the ride, and to his credit didn’t screw it up. He’s started for two full seasons, then half of last year before he was injured. He’s got something like 38 starts. You can look at really one game where he’s kind of pulled a game out of the fire for them. They won a game in Indianapolis last year. They were down early and he threw like three or four touchdowns and they came back and won. Other than that, he’s just been along for the ride. He’s just been a guy. Other than that game, there’s been no signature moments, no signature games. He’s made some nice throws here or there, but there’s nothing to hang your hat on. There’s a lot of guys who probably can do for the Chiefs what he does. There’s just nothing special about him."
Q: How has running back Jamaal Charles looked coming back from a torn ACL?
A: “He played roughly half the snaps [against Atlanta in Week One], which I think is what they wanted. I think he would have run the ball a little more if the game had been more in their favor, but the Falcons got the opening kickoff and went down and scored a touchdown. There were a couple times – it was 10-10 for a while and 17-17 for a while – other than they were behind the whole game. They kind of had to get away from their running game. They’ll run him to whatever extent they think is necessary to win a game. He looks good. He’s still got his same moves and same speed.”
Q: Will there be any bad blood Sunday between Chiefs safety Eric Berry and Bills receiver Stevie Johnson given their history?
A: "When the injury happened, a day or two later, whenever it was, maybe later on in the day, [Berry] tweeted out some stuff that said, ‘hey they were coming after me. They wanted me out of the game.’ But then you ask him about it, during OTAs was really the first chance I had to ask him about that, and he’s like, ‘I was kidding. I can’t believe you have to ask me that. You couldn’t tell?’ Well, it didn’t look like he was kidding at the time. I do think there’s a little bit of bad blood there. … No matter what he says about it, I do think there’s some bitterness there. I don’t think he’ll take it out on anybody, he’s not that kind of guy, but I do think that’s an issue. They’ll try to downplay it and they’ll try to say it was nothing, but I think it’s going to be an issue for them on Sunday, or this week.”
Kansas City Star Chiefs beat writer Adam Teicher