This is the next part in our series of previews of the Eagles 2009 opponents. Joining us for this feature is Dave Schwab, who writes about the Eagles at his site Eagles Lincs.
With this preview, we've finished the Eagles slate of games against the AFC West. Actually one of my favorite regular season Eagles wins came the last time the Eagles played the Chiefs back in 2005. The Eagles came back from being down 17-0 and 24-6 to win the game on the road 37-31. That was then, this is now... What's in store for us 4 years later?
The Kansas City Chiefs roll into town in week three to play the Eagles on Sunday, September 27th in a 1:00 P.M. (EST) game at the Linc. They last time these two teams played was back in 2005 with the Eagles winning a shootout in Kansas City, 37-31. Since then, the Chiefs have fallen on hard times as their record has gotten progressively worse over the years, culminating in a 2-14 disaster in 2008.
This free fall cost third year head coach and former Eagle’s defensive back, Herm Edwards his job as Kansas City cleaned house at the end of the season. In his place they hired Arizona offensive coordinator, Todd Haley as their new head coach. Haley brings a no nonsense, aggressive attitude to this team that is directly opposed to Edwards laid back style. Whether the current players adapt to this style remains to be seen, but one thing is certain; this will be a different Kansas City team in 2009.
One of their first moves to try and change things around was trading draft picks to New England for QB Matt Cassel and LB Mike Vrabel. Cassell stepped in for an injured Tom Brady last season and led his team to an 11-5 record. He will be counted to put points on the board, as the Chiefs only averaged 18 points per game in 2008. Vrabel had been a staple in the Patriots defense since 2001 and can bring some veteran leadership to a defense that ranked near the bottom of the league in a number of categories. They also drafted three defensive players in the first three rounds of this year’s draft including DE Tyson Jackson from LSU with the third overall pick. At 6’4 295 lbs, he should be able to make an immediate impact in bolstering one of the worst defensive lines in the league.
While there has been an immediate upgrade in several key positions, Haley’s biggest problem will be teaching his team how to win again. They have only won six games in the last two seasons after making the playoffs in 2006. Playing on the road in Philadelphia this early in the season will certainly not help his cause.
While the Chiefs will be better on defense, they will still have their hands filled with this high powered Eagles offense. Being equally porous against the run and the pass, there will be a number ways for the Birds to attack this team as well as put points on the board. On the offensive side of the ball, Cassell is a definite upgrade at quarterback, but he will not have the supporting cast he enjoyed in New England. The Eagles have a history of feasting on inexperienced QB’s and this game should be no different.
I do not expect any major tie ups on 95 after the game as many of the fans will be on the road early as the Birds should be comfortably ahead by the mid way point of the 3rd quarter.