Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5 Things Chiefs Fans Should Watch

Ben Gartland@@AngryKCFanAnalyst IIAugust 12, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5 Things Chiefs Fans Should Watch

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    It's finally time for football!

    Well, not really, but preseason games count for something, right?

    The Kansas City Chiefs will start their defense of the AFC West title against another franchise on the rise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    This game will be nationally televised on Fox.

    While preseason games don't necessarily indicate how a team will perform (a good example last year where the Chiefs went 1-3 in the preseason, but ended up with a 10-6 record and an AFC West crown) it does give fans a chance to check out some of the new players, and some returning favorites.

    So without further ado, here are five things that Chiefs fans should look for in their first preseason game.

5. Barry Richardson

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    Barry Richardson's job may very well be in jeopardy.

    According to sources watching at the training camp (The Kansas City Star), Richardson has looked over-matched during practices.

    Add that to the fact that the Chiefs just signed free-agent Jared Gaither, the former Baltimore Raven who missed last year due to back problems, and you get the impression that Richardson's playing time may be dwindling.

    Look for him to be playing his ass off in an effort to convince coach Todd Haley that he deserves the starting offensive tackle job. If not, then look for Gaither to get the start on September 11th against Buffalo.

4. The New Receiving Core

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    To compliment one of the best running games in the league, the Chiefs bolstered the receiving core over the offseason.

    In the draft they took Pittsburgh stud Jonathan Baldwin, and they used free agency to pick up the former Arizona Cardinal Steve Breaston.

    With two more threats added to compliment Dwayne Bowe, look for the Chiefs to take to the skies more, if the running game can open up Tampa Bay's defense.

    With four legitimate threats in Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston and Moeaki, Matt Cassel could be primed to have another big year. It all starts, however, in this first preseason game.

3. The Linebackers

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    Tamba Hali was great for the Chiefs last year, but the Chiefs needed someone opposite him to solidify their linebacking core.

    Enter Justin Houston and Allen Bailey.

    Justin Houston had Chiefs fans on the edge of their seats with his holdout, but managed to sign in time. Tamba Hali had a similar situation, but was awarded a generous contract for his valuable services.

    Once everyone was signed, the attention turned to how well they will perform opposite each other.

    Look for Hali to start, but not be in very long. Houston and Bailey, however, still have something to prove. Look for them to make some rookie mistakes, but still compliment Hali and Gilberry nicely.

2. Bill Muir

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    After the infamous resignation of Charlie Weis, the Chiefs promoted Bill Muir to the play-calling position.

    It has been confirmed that he will be calling the plays against Tampa Bay.

    This is not Muir's first time as an offensive coordinator. He was the OC for, coincidentally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Jon Gruden.

    He has been noted as a run-minded type of coach, so watch for the Chiefs to run the ball a lot. Thank goodness they have the best running game in the league, right?

1. The Defensive Line

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    Even last year, the Chiefs defensive line was suspect. It showed through in the final two games against Oakland and Baltimore respectively.

    To add to the weakness, the Chiefs lost defensive linemen in Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith.

    However, the most pressing need was for a nose tackle, which the Chiefs filled with veteran Kelly Gregg.

    The main thing to look for here is how well the 12-year veteran Gregg will perform at suffocating the run game, and how the rest of the D-line will do the same.