Kansas City Chiefs' 2008 Preseason Run Down
Brodie Croyle, frankly, has looked appalling at times this preseason, and yet the third year, third rounder will likely be "the man" when the season starts.
Croyle seems to take one step forward and two steps back. You can actually see his brain shut off on occasion, as he wings one up for grabs or dances comically with a running back after blowing an ill-advised audible.
Chief fans should thank their lucky stars for Larry Johnson.
The big man can rumble, and he looks to be back in fighting trim. The 6'1", 230-lb. sixth-year man from Papa Joe’s Penn State could be looking at another 1,000-yd+ season.
That sounds peculiar to those familiar with KC’s offensive-line woes, but if rookie first-round draft pick (15th overall) Brandon Albert is anything like analysts figured him to be before the draft, the Chiefs could have a serious left side to run to.
Right now, former sixth-round pick Herb Taylor is filling for Albert, who rolled his ankle earlier in camp.
Missing invaluable snaps in camp will hurt him, but his power and quickness in the run game could be a major threat when coupled with All Pro guard Brian Waters.
With Taylor at his side, Waters has helped create massive running lanes for Johnson. Granted, it's the preseason, but when Albert settles in, it's not hard to imagine Johnson reeling off big gainers.
And that would be music to Croyle and Coach Herm Edwards.
Center Rudy Niswanger is looking like a serviceable starter, but the man working next to him, five-year vet Adrian Jones looks terrible. He’s listed as a tackle, but with Albert out, the line is all over the place.
The right side looks quite the opposite of the left, with right tackle Damion McIntosh missing a lot of practice time with injuries.
With the way KC’s line is, it's not difficult to imagine that whoever starts at QB could get injured at some point. The Chiefs have stalwart backup and 12-year veteran Damon Huard, but if the run game falters or Johnson gets injured, KC could be sunk.
As insurance against this, the Chiefs drafted 6'1", 205-lb. Jamaal Charles out of Texas with their 2008 third-round pick.
Charles is lightning fast, and despite a slow start and some inconsistencies in college, he exploded in the back half of his junior year, running for 997 yards and scoring 10 TDs in his final five games.
One knock on the former track sprinter is his tendency to put the ball on the ground. They’re working on it, to be sure, but it will be a concern if he starts seeing a lot of reps.
Kolby Smith put in time last year at RB and will likely see reps, too.
6'1", 215-lb. wideout Devard Darling could develop this year, if anyone can throw the ball to him.
Former LSU star Dwayne Bowe turned heads last year and could have a breakout year, again, if there is anyone who can throw it to him.
Of course, at TE, the Chiefs have a HOF shoo-in—Tony Gonzales—and a surprising rookie, Brad Cottam, who has shown some decent hands in the early going.
After the spectacular failure of kicker Justin Medlock last season, and the subsequent failure of replacement Dave Rayner, the Chiefs are not much closer to finding a solid starter.
You can bet they'll be watching closely to see what happens to current Raider fill-in kicker Aaron Elling when roster cut downs begin.
Competing for the roster slot are kickers Nick Novak and Connor Barth.
Novak has the edge with 16 games of NFL experience since 2005, and rookie Barth, out of NC has none, but Novak has done little to separate himself.
Barth nailed a 37 yarder that tied last week's game with Chicago, but Coach Edwards isn’t happy with their kickoffs.
He stated Tuesday: "It’s a 50-50 shot for both guys."
As all kickers know, that's not a very good percentage, but based solely on the offense, the odds of KC making a postseason trip this year seem a lot higher.
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