The third preseason game is usually a fair depiction of the framework for how the regular might unfold, at least early on.
The perceived starters play most of the game, coaches piece together a more defined gameplan and the players realize that the third exhibition is their last tuneup before Week 1 of the regular season.
The loss perks up memories of how the 2011 regular season kicked off with two losses to the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions by a combined score of 89-10. It also plants an unnecessary seed of doubt in what looked like a productive offseason for general manager Scott Pioli and the Chiefs organization.
However, there was one player that stuck out among the rest. There was one player that played his part perfectly.
Wide receiver Dexter McCluster had the game of his life Friday night.
While his seven receptions for 61 yards don't exactly leap off the page, the fact that McCluster was involved so heavily in the offense—even catching a first-half touchdown pass from Matt Cassel—indicates just how serious the Chiefs were by naming him a full-time wide receiver prior to training camp.
Sure, McCluster has ripped off more amazing runs or made more spectacular catches in his football career. But his emergence as Cassel's safety blanket helped those confused about his role within the Chiefs' offense realize just how important he will be to the success of this team in 2012.
When McCluster had no defined role with the Chiefs, his success was scattered and he was often lost in the shuffle. Now that he is able to centralize his focus, the diminutive wideout will stand out in the crowd.
With the full complement of weapons now back for the Chiefs, McCluster could find that his results from Friday night become more of the norm—something that bodes well for the him and the Chiefs.