Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Johnny Burczak, a man who follows all things Kansas City Chiefs and co-hosts a podcast called WildWestAFC Podcast who shined some insight into of the Raiders’ most hated rivals.
Now I do not usually fraternize with the enemy because I am acutely aware that Raiders versus Chiefs is the best AFC West rivalry in my book, but in this instance, I was looking for another man’s opinion on perhaps Oakland’s fiercest rival.
Johnny too was able to put aside his disdain for the Raiders and was gracious enough to tackle some questions I put to him. So without further ado, here’s how my trek into enemy territory turned out.
Question: ” Johnny what is the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about this 2017 Chiefs team?”
Johnny: “2017 Chiefs are a better team than last year. They are building the correct way around Andy Reid’s philosophies and they seem to have health on their side for now (*knocks vigorously on wood*).”
My thoughts: While I agree with Johnny that Andy Reid seems to get his players to buy into his system, I do not see what pieces the Chiefs have added that makes them better than they were in 2016.(Or perhaps I am still bitter about the fact that Andy Reid seems always to be one step ahead of the Raiders.)
Question: “With Kansas City going QB round one in the 2017 draft and losing Jeremy Maclin and Jamaal Charles, what do you expect to see from the Chiefs offense in 2017?”
Johnny: “I expect the Chiefs record to be a win or two lower. With our division gaining so much momentum over the offseason I do not see a sweep happening again. Not to mention our regular season schedule is the 2nd hardest in the league right now playing the Patriots and Cowboys on their home turf. I don’t think we utilized Maclin as best we could, but I also don’t think it’s a huge loss. Our run game has always been [from] decent to very good, our coaches along with our offense tailor to a strong run game, and it seems to be trending upward still. While the 1st round pick of Mahomes raises questions about the future, this team is ready to roll behind Alex Smith this season pending something drastic.”
My thoughts: I am veeerryyyyy curious to see how Alex Smith handles the pressure of the Chiefs drafting a quarterback in round one especially if Mahomes plays well during preseason! Depending on how he can handle that pressure could be the difference between Smith taking his game to the next level and with it the entire offense or Smith folding and sinking the Chiefs’ season.
Question: “What is your biggest concern for this Chiefs team heading into the 2017 season?”
Johnny: “My biggest concern for the Chiefs is not taking the next step forward. If we play like we have the last couple of seasons, we will inevitably regress. Our schedule is tougher, and we are a run first offense while not putting up huge numbers that can break down any opposing team’s game plan.”
My thoughts: While “defense does win championships” and the Chiefs aren’t lacking in that department, ask Alex Smith how it feels to win in January.
Question: “As unbiased as you possibly can be, where do you see this Chiefs team at the end of the 2017 regular season and how do they fare against the Oakland Raiders?”
Johnny: “As unbiased as possible I put the Chiefs in the first wild card spot at the end of the season with the Raiders [winning] the division. However, as I said before, I think we are built for a better run, and I see us in the AFC Championship game this year. This will be a very good season for the Chiefs and I only expect a dip in production to come in future transition years with Mahomes eventually taking over. For now, the Chiefs are running on high with hopefully a healthy Justin Houston patching up the pass rush.”
My thoughts: I would love nothing more than a Raider versus Chiefs AFC Championship game; however, I still don’t see Alex Smith leading this team to a playoff victory this year which will result in Mahomes taking over the team in 2018. I too agree with Johnny’s thought about a regular season split between the Raiders and Chiefs which should lead to some high stakes games in late December!
The Ramble greatly appreciates Johnny taking his time to talk shop with us about the Chiefs. However, while we cannot wish him the best (he is still a Chiefs fan), we do hope you follow him on Twitter for more insight on the Chiefs throughout the season @footballfatty and also hear him and the gang over at @wildwestafc podcast breaking down everything AFC West throughout the season!