Kansas City Chiefs: Winners and Losers from Preseason Week 1
Losing 25-0, Coach Haley used this game as more of an evaluation session than a chance for the starters to prepare for the regular season.
While the game was an ugly loss for the Chiefs, there is no reason for Chief fans to worry. In fact, there were some positive things for fans to look at. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of negatives.
For players hoping to move up the depth chart or, for some, onto the depth chart, this game provided the first chance to prove themselves in a real-game situation. For some, they can count this as a win. For others, it did not quite go as planned.
Winner: Jerrell Powe, Nose Tackle
The rookie nose tackle showed a great deal of talent Friday night. Leading the Chiefs defense with four solo tackles, Powe demonstrated great speed for a tackle when he chased down Buccaneers quarterback Josh Johnson.
Johnson was in the middle of a 24-yard scramble when Powe caught up to him at KC's 5-yard line, showcasing his power with a ferocious tackle and preventing a Tampa Bay touchdown.
If he is able to play this effectively against the A-team of an NFL squad, Powe should have a strong, effective career in the NFL.
Winner: Jonathan Baldwin, Wide Receiver
In his first NFL action, Baldwin registered the longest catch of the night, grabbing a 14-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Palko.
Baldwin showed that his hamstring problems are not significantly slowing him down in his first NFL action.
With a few more weeks to go before the season begins, Baldwin should improve even more. His first NFL game should be encouraging to Chief fans.
Winner: Thomas Jones, Running Back
At 32, Thomas Jones has lasted significantly longer than many running backs in the NFL. Jones was a major part of the Chiefs’ success in 2010, teaming up for a dominant running attack with the younger and faster Jamaal Charles.
It would be reasonable to wonder if Jones is able to replicate his 2010 performance this season..
Jones put a lot of this talk to rest Friday night. On only two back-to-back carries, Jones registered 25 yards, taking the second carry 17 yards.
While not all of the Buccaneer starters were in, Jones’ performance shows he is ready for another season of tag-team running with Charles.
Loser: Quinten Lawrence, Cornerback
Quinten Lawrence’s hopes of earning a spot on the Chiefs roster lie in the special team. Unfortunately for Lawrence, becoming a return man seems unlikely after Friday night.
On the opening kick off, Lawrence received the kick five yards deep in the end zone. Much to the dismay of Chief fans, Lawrence brought the kick out and was promptly tackled at the Chiefs’ 8-yard line.
This set up a three-and-out situation—starting off the game on the wrong foot and preventing Lawrence from a climb up the depth chart. While Lawrence attempted to atone for this mistake with five tackles, his poor decision-making on special teams may have hurt his chances of suiting up for KC when it counts.
Loser: Tyler Palko, Quarterback
Hoping to earn a spot as the backup quarterback to Matt Cassel, the job was Palko’s to lose. Unfortunately, he did not make a strong case for himself Friday night.
Palko matched rookie Ricky Stanzi’s passing numbers, but his pocket presence was far behind the rookie’s, with Palko only gaining two yards on the ground compared to Stanzi‘s 11. He was also sacked in the end zone for a safety and fumbled on another sack.
Neither quarterback received much help from their offensive line, but Stanzi seemed to deal with it as well, if not better, never losing more than five yards and hanging onto the ball.
While both quarterbacks were sacked far more than they should have been, Palko’s experience did not give him an edge against Tampa Bay and may not give him an advantage in the quarterback race.
If Palko performs at the same level as a rookie still getting a handle on the NFL game, Stanzi could gain the job with a breakout performance, relegating Palko to third-string duties once again.
Loser: The Offensive Line
Six sacks. 85 yards rushing. 153 total yards of offense. This game showed what happens when an offensive line does not block effectively.
It also showed a lack of depth and, more importantly, a lack of ability from several players.
There may be some new talent brought in to prevent another fun-filled scrambling festival on the part of KC quarterbacks. One thing is for sure: some players will find themselves on the chopping block after Friday's performance.