Kansas City Chiefs: Keys to Week 2 Matchup vs. Dallas Cowboys
Now, you're probably wondering, "Why should I care about this Preston Road Trophy you speak of, sir?" Honestly, you'll probably forget about five minutes after reading this article.
Preston Road sounds like some kind of rags-to-riches movie where small-town Matt Damon becomes a superficial Wall Street banker, revisits his hometown for a funeral and undergoes a tear-jerking revelation about life's simple joys while he's midway through an ice cream cone.
As for the trophy? It looks like a street sign photobombing a tree stump.
However, it serves as proof that Sunday's matchup is rooted in rivalry. Before Lamar Hunt packed his bags for Kansas City, he and his friend, Jerry Jones, lived only a few football fields away from each other.
As Dave Skretta of the Associated Press (h/t The Miami Herald) points out, "The plaque on the front of the trophy even reads 'Created in friendship.'"
Jones recalled a conversation with Hunt surrounding the trophy:
I was visiting with him and I said, "You know, it's been so long since I've seen it. I wonder if I could come by and get it and kind of show it to some folks that I'm going to have over at my house." And he said, "You know, I'd be a little uneasy with that." He said, "I'll set it up in the window. ... You can drive by and look at it."
If Andy Reid's Arrowhead inauguration earns him points with the owner, it will coincide with recapturing the storied eyesore.
Here are the keys to Kansas City pulling out a win.
Threaten the Safeties
Obviously, Alex Smith doesn't tote a rocket launcher.
However, Dallas' base defense is basically a hybrid of Cover 2 and Cover 3 schemes.
If the middle linebacker charges forward, the safeties roam their respective deep zones outside the hash marks. Otherwise, the man in the middle drops back into coverage as well, and he often covers the deep zone inside the hash marks.
If Kansas City stretches the field, it will likely stem from luring the middle linebacker—in this case, Sean Lee—via play action.
Jamaal Charles will receive no shortage of attention from the Cowboys defense, which could spring Anthony Fasano and/or Dexter McCluster to exploit the vacated zone.
It's true that Dallas' defenders forced six turnovers in Week 1. It's also true that they allowed three New York Giants receivers to post 100-plus-yard efforts.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com has confirmed that Dunta Robinson will be absent from the sidelines on Sunday.
#Chiefs CB Dunta Robinson is, in fact, out, while he tends to a family matter. Tough blow for KC.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2013
The corner could be replaced by safety Husain Abdullah. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Abdullah was one of four players—Robinson serving as another—who defended the slot without surrendering a catch last week.
Whether the veteran can replicate his Week 1 success is anybody's guess, but pestering Tony Romo will only bolster the safety's odds.
Nobody will be able to gauge the extent of Romo's injury until he palms his first snap. Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the quarterback's ribs appeared to have a lingering effect on his passing throughout the week, though:
Romo struggling with his accuracy. I am sure those ribs are sore.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) September 12, 2013
Last week, Dallas' starting guards, Ronald Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau, combined to allow five quarterback pressures and one sack.
The team's rookie center, Travis Frederick, also failed to thwart pass-rushers on two occasions.
The Giants aren't notorious for blitzing. Bob Sutton is.
Kansas City's defensive coordinator will undoubtedly dial up a healthy dose of blitzes for Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry.
Keep the Crowd Engaged
"Of our opening five, six games, this could be the toughest with the environment and the problems they give you with what they do defensively," Romo told DallasCowboys.com during the week.
Also speaking with the team's official website, tight end Jason Witten confirmed that Dallas prepared for Arrowhead by pumping noise into the week's practices.
Meanwhile, Derrick Johnson told Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com that the Cowboys will suffer a "rude awakening" due to the decibel levels.
However, if Kansas City forfeits an early double-digit lead, the Chiefs' lauded Arrowhead advantage will have the wind knocked out of its sails.
The defense can't afford to let the raucous atmosphere seep into its head either.
An overdose of aggression usually leads to over-pursuit, and over-pursuit usually births an offensive highlight reel.
For more Chiefs news, follow Brett on Twitter @BrettGering
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