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Chiefs vs Dolphins preview: Jamaal Charles injury, Travis Kelce, and playoffs talk with Arrowhead Pride

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The Miami Dolphins welcome the Kansas City Chiefs into Sun Life Stadium this weekend. To get a better look at the Chiefs, we turned to Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride.

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Can Chiefs running back Knile Davis step up against the Miami Dolphins this week?
Can Chiefs running back Knile Davis step up against the Miami Dolphins this week?
Justin Edmonds

Kevin Nogle, The Phinsider (KN): With the injury to Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs' running game takes a blow. However, Knile Davis looks like he is itching to be given the reins of the ground attack, already leading the team in attempts, yards, and rushing touchdowns. Is Davis capable of being the main guy, and how has he looked in the early part of the season?

Joel Thorman, Arrowhead Pride (JT): He is a solid backup. He has the size and speed to be someone defenses will have to account for. He's almost 230 pounds so he is a bulky guy who does run fast. He needs to work on his pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield, which is actually a significant part of the Chiefs offense. The problem with Davis is really that he's not Jamaal Charles. We're used to seeing a superstar in the backfield with Charles who can do anything; when Davis comes in, the Chiefs merely have a very good back. Andy Reid is a smart guy though. He recognizes that Davis does some things better than he does other things. If last week is any indication, the Chiefs will play to his strengths.

KN: Charles is not the only injury in Kansas City right now, with what appears to be about half the roster missing time due to various injuries. What's been the biggest loss so far, and how are the Chiefs handling all of these injuries?

JT: Besides Charles, linebacker Derrick Johnson is easily the biggest loss. He and starting defensive end Mike DeVito were both lost to Achilles injuries in the season opener. DJ is one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL and one a leader on the Chiefs defense. He is so, so rangy and allows your defense to do a lot of different things. It was a stunning blow to lose him. Yet surprisingly, the Chiefs did a decent job in their first game without him last week. I don't expect his replacement James Michael-Johnson to play at DJ's level but the Chiefs can live with him playing like he did last week in Denver. Besides DJ, there's DeVito also injured. The other starting inside linebacker next to DJ, Joe Mays, is also out for half the year. Starting safety Eric Berry has a sprained ankle and may not play. Guard Jeff Allen, who was playing tackle while Donald Stephenson was suspended, was lost for the year. Things are evening out after the Chiefs had such good injury luck last year.

KN: After an 0-2 start, slightly different than last year's incredible run to open the season, how panicked are Chiefs fans? And what has to change (besides players getting healthy)?

JT: I would say very panicked in the sense that some people thought before the season the Chiefs were a playoff team and we're starting to realize the odds are heavily stacked against that at this point. So you go from potential playoff team to unlikely playoff team in two weeks -- it's a blow to fans, who wait all year for the season to get here. That said, I do not believe the Chiefs are one of these horrible 2-14 teams like we saw, oh, two years ago. They're better than that. For the Chiefs to improve, the biggest change has to be the turnovers. The Chiefs were plus-four in turnovers by this point last year; they're currently minus-three in turnovers. The Chiefs are one of just a few teams who have not yet forced a turnover, which is amazing when you consider they lived on turnovers last year. I could sit here and point at other stats but really it comes down to the turnovers.

KN: Travis Kelce has a ton of talent and is a weapon that still seems to be under utilized, playing just 32 snaps last week, yet leading the team in receiving yards right now, including four receptions over 20 yards. How are the Chiefs balancing a player capable of breaking out this year with a solid, all-around tight end in former Dolphins starter Anthony Fasano? Will we see more of Kelce this week?

JT: One of our bloggers is determined to write about Kelce every week until he sees more playing time. Kelce went from 19 snaps in Week 1 to 32 in Week 2 so it's on its way. He is coming off major knee surgery last season so I can understand the Chiefs are taking it slower than normal. But here we sit with the Chiefs at 0-2 and they need a win; I would play my best players. Kelce is one of the best mismatches on the field. There's an argument that the Chiefs are better off in two tight end sets with just a pair of receivers rather than one tight end and three receivers (11 personnel that Andy Reid likes to run) so that they can get Kelce on the field more. The difference between Kelce and Fasano is that Fasano is a better run blocker. So when Fasano is in the game, the Chiefs are more versatile in whether they choose to run or pass. I'm not saying Kelce is a bad blocker or anything, he's just not at the level Fasano is. Kelce offers a great mismatch in the passing game but I can see where the Chiefs might not think he offers the versatility in the offense that Fasano does if that makes any sense.

KN: As the season approached, the Chiefs seemed to be an enigma for most analysts, with some seeing them as the sure-fire Wildcard team behind the Denver Broncos, while others saw last year as an outlier. As a fan of a team that went 1-15 in 2007, then jumped to 11-5 the next year, only to crash back down to 7-9 in 2009, I know how that hope for two good years in a row feels, only to see it all fall apart. What were your expectations of the team before the season, and where do you see the Chiefs ending 2014?

JT: The thing that got Chiefs fans is that they looked so flat in Week 1, which is the week where you see the most overreactions. It confirmed what those who were down on the Chiefs thought and gave the optimistic group little to look forward to. Knowing it was a harder schedule this year, that first week was a major downer. The expectations before the season were split. There was a crowd (including me) who thought the Chiefs could win nine games and make a playoff run, basically saying that last year wasn't a fluke. Then there were others who thought the Chiefs overachieved last year and would come back down to Earth as a seven-win team. Neither prediction is looking very good after an 0-2 start. I think the Chiefs are closer to the team that took the Broncos to the final seconds in Denver rather than the team that was blown out by Tennessee at home. Hopefully the record shows that.

A big thank you to Joel for taking the time to give us a better look at the Chiefs. Kickoff for the game is at 4:25pm ET Sunday.

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