Ricky Stanzi, Brady Quinn and 8 Chiefs Players to Watch Tonight Against Arizona

Farzin Vousoughian@farzin21Contributor IIIAugust 10, 2012

Ricky Stanzi, Brady Quinn and 8 Chiefs Players to Watch Tonight Against Arizona

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    The long hiatus is over. The Kansas City Chiefs will return to Arrowhead Stadium on Friday night to host the Arizona Cardinals in their preseason opener.

    With a new head coach, new players and some players receiving new roles, it is imperative that the Chiefs starters and backups put on a good showing this month. With depth becoming a big part of football, a strong preseason outing would be beneficial for the Chiefs.

    Tonight, there are 10 Chiefs players who fans should keep a close eye on. Who do you think those players are?

    Check out this slideshow and express your opinion below!

QB Brady Quinn

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    Chiefs starting quarterback Matt Cassel may only be on the field for one or two drives. Therefore, the quarterbacks who will get most of the action will be the backups.

    Brady Quinn's career has not panned out the way he has expected it to. Quinn, who hasn't played a regular season snap in over two years, will use tonight's game as a stepping stone to move his career in the right direction.

    With Cassel's playing time being limited, Quinn might have the opportunity to play with some starters around him. Let's see how much success Quinn can have with the talent around him.

QB Ricky Stanzi

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    Ricky Stanzi had a remarkable playing career at Iowa, but was not held to high expectations going into the NFL. Scott Pioli, the Chiefs general manager, used a fifth-round pick in 2011 on Stanzi and would like for him to flourish into a reliable backup.

    Stanzi saw no face time in the regular season during his rookie campaign and would like to change that this season. If Stanzi puts together an impressive output when he gets sent in, you can expect a hot battle for the backup spot as both Quinn and Stanzi look to make progress in their professional careers.

RB Peyton Hillis

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    Playing alongside Jamaal Charles is exactly what Peyton Hillis needs to help bounce back after a tough 2011 season. Charles and Hillis need each other this season after the two running backs missed 20 games combined last season.

    Hillis played in 10 games with the Cleveland Browns while rushing for 587 yards, which was a huge set back from his breakout year in 2010.

    After the events that went down in Cleveland for Hillis, it will be important that he gives the Chiefs coaching staff a good first impression. Brian Daboll, the Chiefs offensive coordinator, helped Hillis develop in Cleveland in 2010 and hopes that both he and Charles can return to their 2010 form.

TE Tony Moeaki

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    Among the three Chiefs players who tore their ACL last season, Tony Moeaki is the one player who Chiefs fans will need to look at. Moeaki has not been able to showcase his talent as he has missed 17 games in his career, including all 16 games in 2011.

    Moeaki will have Kevin Boss as his tag team partner at the tight end position. If Moeaki plays against the Cardinals with either Quinn or Stanzi, look for the backups to strike the ball to Moeaki often in tonight's game.

WR Dexter McCluster

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    Dexter McCluster's duties are not limited to one area. McCluster has done a little bit of rushing, catching and returning in his two seasons with the Chiefs.

    With his third offensive coordinator in three years, McCluster finds himself learning yet another offense this season. McCluster could get the most touches out of all the Chiefs players tonight since he is capable of playing running back, wide receiver and punt returner. But McCluster's versatility can only be appreciated if he excels in those areas.

    By the time this preseason is over, the Chiefs may have a better understanding of what McCluster's role might be.

C Rodney Hudson

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    Filling in for Casey Wiegmann is a tall order for Rodney Hudson, who was selected in the second round of last year's draft.

    Wiegmann's 11,000-plus consecutive snaps is not anything that can be duplicated by another player. However, Hudson got a chance to spend a season behind him and took in a lot of his skills. Now, Hudson will be the one who snaps the football to get plays going.

    His pass and run blocking abilities will be closely evaluated by the coaching staff as Hudson is getting ready for his first year in the league as a primary starter.

NT Dontari Poe

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    Placing Dontari Poe on this list should not be a surprise to anyone. Poe will get his first professional playing experience tonight and will have a lot of learning curves to overcome at the nose tackle spot.

    Poe is currently behind Anthony Toribio on the depth chart. He will enter the game later, working against backup offensive linemen to get himself going before facing starting offensive linemen in the latter part of the preseason.

OLB Justin Houston

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    After quickly coming away with 5.5 sacks before his rookie season ended, Justin Houston stepped up as the team's pass-rusher opposite of Tamba Hali.

    Houston is coming into this game knowing that he is projected to start in Week 1 of the regular season. If Houston can carry over his pass rushes to the preseason, there will be a lot of optimism surrounding Houston and the rest of the team's defense as they get set to play the Atlanta Falcons on September 9.

OLB Andy Studebaker

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    Andy Studebaker's popularity skyrocketed during a struggling 2009 season when the Chiefs shocked the world and beat the then-defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Studebaker played a big role in pulling off the upset, intercepting two of Ben Roethlisberger's passes.

    Since then, Studebaker has been quiet as a defender. The Chiefs know what they have in Hali and Houston, but are more than happy with other players—like Studebaker—who can chase the quarterback and command the ill-advised throws to be made.

    Studebaker has had flashes in past preseasons. If he can come up with some big plays this preseason, he will assure himself a spot before the season begins.

CB Stanford Routt

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    As the replacement of Brandon Carr at the No. 2 cornerback spot, Stanford Routt will have his work cut out for him. He knows he has a strong defensive front applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks while playing in the defensive backfield with Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis.

    Routt has Romeo Crennel as his head coach and defensive coordinator with Emmitt Thomas as his defensive backs coach. This is a chance for him to shine against the Cardinals and apply everything he has learned from Crennel and Thomas.

    If he can erase his penalty woes, the Chiefs know he can be an elite player and the team's defensive backs will be recognized by many offensive coordinators.