NFL Preseason Week 4: Kansas City Chiefs Looking For a Win
The final pre-season game is upon us, and the Kansas City Chiefs still haven't found an exhibition win for head coach Todd Haley.
Last week against the Eagles, the Chiefs defense showed off just what they can become capable of. With defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel at the helm, the defense registered five sacks, one interception, and a handful of pass breakups along the way.
Players like Andy Studebaker have cemented their place within the Chiefs scheme.
This week, although the starters will rest the majority of the game, the Chiefs have their toughest match-up yet.
Facing the Green Bay Packers will be no easy task, under any circumstances. They managed to put up 59 points last week against a good Indianapolis team, and were dominate in all phases of the game.
What the offense needs to do to pull out a win
Even though Green Bay might rest the majority of their first string, the Chiefs are in no position to slack off.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis needs to bring the best out of quarterback Matt Cassel during his limited playing time.
Thus far the first team has yet to complete a long pass, and they have played to the strength of Cassel, which is keeping the routes short and simple. And allowing easy decisions.
That may sound good in theory, but the offense needs to open up, and Cassel can't be afraid of making the big mistake, because that is when the mistakes tend to happen.
Teams that win games, know how to throw the ball downfield. Even teams with offenses that play as West Coast as it gets, always have downfield passes sprinkled in.
The Running backs emerge
With this being the final pre-season game, it is also the final game in which Halfback Jamaal Charles can come out and prove to the organization that he is deserving of being the starter.
He didn't get off on the right foot last week, as he fumbled on the very first offensive play. Similar to what veteran Thomas Jones did in week 2.
But this time, Jamaal was given the opportunity to start, and he let the possibility of gluing himself to the starters chair, slip through his hands.
With that said, he has still shown a strong performance in preseason action. Managing to average a solid 6.9 yards per carry.
That should be good enough to give him the starters cap, on week one against San Diego.
Jackie Battle has also been a very productive runningback in preseason. He leads the Chiefs with 113 rushing yards, and his productivity has been steady each game.
Kansas City has a great problem on their hands with all of their talented runningbacks, including Dexter McCluster. A problem that any team would love to have.
Defense will be tested
Although the Chiefs defense has looked inconsistent, yet decent, throughout the first three games, this game will be the squads biggest challenge on the front 3.
The Packers not only field a top notch passing team, they are solid in the ground game as well.
They love running plays that attack the defensive ends, and get outside the tackles to stretch the defense. They average over 5.0 YPC when running off the left tackle.
Luckily, that happens to be the Chiefs stronger side. They have been able to wrangle offenses to just 2.75 YPC when running to the left, the side that defenders, Tamba Hali, and Glenn Dorsey man down.
Second year defensive end Tyson Jackson will be tested early and often against Green Bay. He has been less than appealing in all phases of his game, especially when you compare him to Dorsey.
His side of the defense has given up well over 5 YPC, and a lot of that is thanks to the lackluster play of Jackson. Unless he steps his game up to another level this week, we just might see veteran DE Wallace Gilberry take his place, and keep it!
Chiefs secondary looks to maintain a high level
It's no surprise that the Packers passing offense ranks second in the league right now, but what may surprise some, is that the Chiefs own the 5th best passing defense through three games.
There's no question, they have the talent. They have leadership in the secondary, and they have the mix for a team that will dangerous to pass on during the 2010 season.
Rookie 5th round pick Kendrick Lewis made his case for a starting spot last week when he plucked an errant Kevin Kolb pass.
But he wasn't the only defensive back to show up.
Other rookie first round pick, Eric Berry was seen all over the field, making plays, and using his versatility, and quickness to disrupt the quarterback.
And that is just the icing on top. Brandon Flowers is looking to be found in that top 5 CB conversation this year. He has been a lock down machine since his terrific rookie performance.
But more so than the defensive backs, the linebackers will be forced to cover a lot of ground and make plays covering the Tight Ends, and receivers. Green Bay likes attacking over the middle of the field, so guys like Demorrio Williams, and Jovan Belcher, who are fighting for a starting position will have to make plays in the secondary to catch the eye of the coaching staff.
If the Chiefs are serious about getting Todd Haley his first preseason win, they are going to need Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster to once again come up huge in the return game.
They are both explosive players with the ball in their hands. Arenas needs a wall of defenders to take him down, and McCluster is too fast to be brought down from behind, therefore, one of them needs to make a play, and lift this team to the "W" column for the preseason, and set that mental stone going into the season.