Red Zone Podcast: Petro With Mitch Holthus

The voice of the Kansas City Chiefs Mitch Holthus stopped by Soren Petro’s weekly Red Zone Podcast today on

Listen to the show via the player below or check out my notes on the interview after the jump.

Holthus talked about everything from who will return kicks for the Chiefs week 1 in Baltimore to how many TDs Dwayne Bowe will have.  Check it out.

Petro’s questions and Holthus’ comments are paraphrased.

What’s your reaction to the first go round with Matt Cassel?

Somewhat inconclusive, but I’m okay with him because I’ve been able to watch him 21 practice session in River Falls.  I like him very much.  One area is: he gets it.  From the very first time I met him, he gets it and what he gets is that beyond any money he’s making he is ready to take the responsibility for not just the offense but the entire organization.  That’s not a trait you see in all young quarterbacks.  I like his accountability.  The other thing that has impressed me is his feet.  You want to be able to run spreads, boots, he can take off and get you 10-15 yards.  I like everything about him so far.  He’s going to have to have some help, but what I see so far I like very much.

What kind of ripples have the rumors in the NY Post about Dwayne Bowe being traded to the Jets made at training camp?

No one is talking about it.  I think it’s a stretch right now, but that’s what they said about Brett Favre.  People are worried about him getting reps with the first team, but he’s had reps the last three practice sessions with Matt Cassel and the first unit.  Yesterday they had a red zone touchdown from Cassel.  I would tell folks they are getting more action this week.  It would be news to me if that trade happened.

When we get to Baltimore, who is returning kicks and punts?

Honestly, I think they continue to audition people.  Maurice Leggett is getting reps now.  A bunch of guys are getting auditions.  Jackie Batte — not as the fullback on returns, the returner — and then you throw in the usual suspects: Rodney Wright, Dantrell Savage, Jamaal Charles.  But there’s still an open door on that position.

Some people had a problem with the defense, but I was impressed.

Two very important items to look at: The Texans were 2 of 13 on third down conversions and they basically only played two quarterbacks the whole game.  They clamped down on third down.  And the short field.  The defense had to defend a short field on at least three occasions and held them to field goals twice.  They looked faster and I know they gave up the one long drive, but I thought there were a lot of positives to build on.

Quite a battle at right tackle.  We figured it would be Damion McIntosh vs. Herb Taylor but Barry Richardson has been getting the reps lately with the first team.  Who will be the right tackle and how many offensive linemen will make the team?

What people haven’t discussed, particularly with the second and third units, there has been a lot of movement: up and down, left and right.  Barry has repped at the left tackle with the second group, then the right side with the second group and now this week with the first group on the right side.  Then you’ve got behind them a bunch of guys moving around: Colin Brown drafted as a tackle, now working at guard.  They are going to give Barry a chance at the right tackle to see what he can do.  If he has to line up Friday night, those will be some of the best guys he’ll see all year.  It’s going to be continual movement across the entire line.

What did you see from Larry Johnson?

I think if you are going to exceed expectations, you are going to get a much better year from him than anyone is currently expecting.  I think if it’s not the first paragraph from this camp, then it’s the second or third: the way he has reacted to Todd Haley and Scott Pioli and the way he has practiced.  He is slimmer and yet hasn’t lost any of his power.  And the way he is practicing, I’ve seen him work on his blocking more this camp than the past few years combined.  Vrabel works with him, he’s trying to embrace it.  They fly home Sunday, go full pads Monday morning with a pretty tough practice.  They go inside the five and during a live drill, he dives over the pile like it’s a regular season game against two 6-2 teams.  To me, it’s amazing the way he has reacted.  Lets be honest, it won’t be another 416 carry year, but there are going to need to be plays made on this offense by playmakers and he & Bowe are the candidates to do that for this team.

How many yards and TDs for Dwayne Bowe?

925 and 7 TDs.

First thoughts on the renovation?

Very good.  That was the first paragraph for Saturday night: the ribbon board, the video boards, the sound system.  The fans I’ve had a chance to interact with loved it.

Biggest positive surprise?

Corey Mays, Leggett.  I think there are just better athletes that have been on this team in the past few years.

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