Chiefs vs. Packers Preview: 5 Things to Watch in Preseason Finale
The last game of the preseason certainly isn't filled with star players, but that doesn't mean that there aren't a few things to watch for.
The starters will be on the field for a drive or two, so the game is a last look at the main guys before the first game of the regular season. But whether it's a guy trying to impress coaches and make the last roster spot, or key backups making big plays, the last preseason game isn't just for show.
The First Unit
The first unit will be on the field for a series or two.
For Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers won't have a chance to throw to his big man, Jermichael Finley, but he will get to use a multitude of receivers in order to matriculate down the field. Rodgers and the Green Bay offense are as deadly as any other in the NFL, and their passing attack is pretty fun to watch too.
The Chiefs' starters will likely see the field at least once as well. Will Matt Cassel be able to pick up his game against one of the NFL's best defenses? And will Jamaal Charles break a long run off in the last game before the regular season? The Chiefs' offense hasn't quite been in high-gear this preseason, so it is important that they can end it with a little confidence.
With the news that Jonathan Baldwin might miss the first regular season game, Steve Breaston becomes all the more important to the Chiefs offense.
Breaston has showed his abilities off in practice, but just how many targets will he get from Matt Cassel and the Chiefs' backup quarterbacks?
While the veteran will be ready to play in Week 1 of the regular season, getting a couple more passes thrown his way and working on in-game timing couldn't hurt.
Look for the Chiefs to test the Packers' defense with Breaston early.
The backup quarterbacks for the Chiefs have had solid preseasons, in fact, they have played better than Matt Cassel has this preseason.
Tyler Palko and rookie, Ricky Stanzi, are in a battle for who gets to be the No. 2 behind Cassel. With both playing well during the preseason so far, this game could be the deciding factor in who gets the job.
And Aaron Rodgers' backup, Matt Flynn, has had a pretty good preseason as well. It will be interesting to see if Flynn can get a victory against two Kansas City quarterbacks with a lot on the line, and if Graham Harrell can come out and contribute again, too.
The Chiefs' Running Backs
For the Chiefs, the running back position is starting to get crowded. And when you have one of the best running backs in the NFL, Jamaal Charles, that could cause a problem.
Now that the team signed Le'Ron McClain in the offseason, they will get to utilize his skills as a blocker. But don't be surprised if McClain steals some goal line and short yardage carries from both Charles and Thomas Jones, however sparingly.
And while the backs shouldn't worry too much about McClain being much more than a blocker, Jackie Battle has been carrying much of the load during the preseason.
Using Battle as often as the Chiefs have is simply in order to not put the other guys at risk for injury.
But Battle could be used to give Charles and Jones a rest as he is proven he can be a workhorse. Also, look for the speedy Dexter McCluster to get showcased versus the Packers. McCluster can bring excitement to the dullest of games.
Both Battle and McCluster will get some regular season carries as well, but McCluster, who only had 18 last season, will definitely get more, as he continues to be a match-up nightmare in both the running back and receiver roles.
Green Bay Tight Ends
Jermichael Finley is out for the last preseason game with an ankle injury, which means the other tight ends have to step up.
Last season, Finley was out with a knee injury, and hopefully for the Packers, another bad injury is not on Finley's horizon. But the Packers have tight ends who can play.
Andrew Quarless stepped in for Finley last season, and the Packers drafted D.J. Williams. They drafted Ryan Taylor, too, who caught a touchdown grab versus the Colts last week from Graham Harrell which helped set up the late comeback victory.
Also on the squad is Tom Crabtree, but with the other guys on the team even younger than he is, could Crabtree be a another tight end that is cut to make space on the roster, or will Green Bay keep them all?