Kansas City Chiefs' Preseason: 10 Reasons Fans Should Be Encouraged
Even though the Kansas City Chiefs dropped to 0-2 this preseason following their 20-15 loss to Tampa Bay Saturday night, there were still some encouraging things Chiefs' fans can take from this game.
The Chiefs have a lot of young talent on their roster this season, but the big question in Kansas City is how fast can that talent turn into wins? The Chiefs showed once again that they still have a long way to go, but here are 10 reasons why Chiefs fans should not lose all hope quite yet.
Matt Cassel's Improved Quarterback Play
No Chiefs' player needed a strong offseason more than starting quarterback Matt Cassel, and Cassel delivered a good performance Saturday evening against Tampa Bay. Cassel completed 14 of the 19 passes he attempted for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Cassel still needs to improve his pocket presence as he took a sack on third down at the 50 yard line, but he also stepped up in the pocket a few times and made strong throws while being rushed. For now Chiefs fans will take the good with the bad when it comes to Cassel, but his 14 for 19 night was encouraging for now.
The Run Defense
The Chiefs rushing defense was the team's biggest weakness last season, and the starters were not exactly impressive last week against the Falcons, but they finally showed some promise tonight against the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay managed only 3.8 yards per carry on the Chiefs defense, rushing for only 43 yards in the first half against most of the Chiefs starting defenders. The Chiefs run defense still has a long ways to go, but they have to start somewhere, and tonight was a solid start.
Dante Hall who?
A week after taking one kick 99 yards to the house only to have it called back, and another for 42 yards, Arenas returned his first chance for 53 yards on Saturday night. Arenas showed his big play ability once again, something the Chiefs have been sorely lacking in their return game since Hall left Arrowhead.
Arenas made a couple of Buccaneers' defenders miss and spun out of a tackle before he was finally caught and drug to the ground. Arenas looks to be the real deal in the Chiefs return game this season.
Rookies Continue to Shine
Arenas wasn't the only Chiefs rookie who contributed tonight, Eric Berry had three tackles, including one on special teams for the second straight game and Dexter McCluster had a catch for 17 yards.
Wide receiver Jeremy Horne, an undrafted rookie out of UMass, caught the Chiefs lone touchdown on the night on a six-yard pass from Cassel. The Chiefs rookies have played well so far this preseason and will need to continue to improve for the Chiefs to be competitive this year.
The Running Game
Jamaal Charles continues to impress every time he touches the ball for the Chiefs as he had five carries for 26 yards. Thomas Jones fumbled the first carry he got, but bounced back to have a couple of nice runs and showed that he still has some moves even at the age of 32.
Jackie Battle also had a good night running for 59 yards on 11 carries. The Chiefs rushing attack figures to be the strength of the team this season.
Dwayne Bowe Makes an Appearance
After not getting a pass thrown his way in the Chiefs first preseason game, Bowe had a solid second game catching three passes from Cassel for 33 yards. Bowe is one of the many Kansas City players who needs to show improvement for the Chiefs to be successful this season.
Bowe showed elite receiver potential in his first two seasons, but had a disappointing campaign last year. Bowe has reportedly had a strong training camp for the Chiefs and will hopefully take a step forward in realizing his full potential this season.
Tamba Hali Continues to Get After the Quarterback
Tamba Hali continues to be the Chiefs biggest asset when it comes to rushing the passer. While Hali wasn't among the league leaders in sacks last season, he often put pressure on the quarterback and gave the Chiefs their only form of pass rush.
Hali has looked good so far in both preseason games and forced the Bucs to punt after hitting the quarterback on a third down pass attempt tonight.
A Blitzing Defense
The Chiefs blitzed the fewest times in the NFL last season, so a key to their success on defense this season will be new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's play-calling.
The Chiefs were unsuccessful in sacking any Bucs' quarterbacks Saturday night, but often pressured Josh Johnson out of the pocket, forcing him to scramble for yards.
Tamba Hali can't be the only Chief rushing the quarterback so the Chiefs will need to keep blitzing often during the season to improve their lackluster pass rush.
Special Teams Success
It's never good when your punter is your team's best player, just ask the Raiders, but Dustin Colquitt continues to be one of the league's top punters.
Colquitt punted four times for an average of 44.3 yards and kicker Ryan Succop made both of his field goal attempts on the night. Succop connected on field goal tries of 28 and 29 yards and continued his strong training camp and preseason.
It's Only the Preseason
While the Chiefs have started the 2010 preseason on a losing note, it is still only the preseason. A Chiefs' win, even in the preseason, would be encouraging, but consider the fact that the Chiefs were tied at halftime in both of their preseason games.
This doesn't bode well for the Chiefs backups who haven't been getting the job done, but the Chiefs first team unit has shown some improvement on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs still have a long way to go to get where they want to be, but they finally appear to have some direction.