When the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow night, Chiefs fans are hoping to see the entire team play well. The starters for both teams are likely to play well in to the 3rd quarter and it will be the last extended look the Chiefs will get at these players before the Monday Night Football matchup against the San Diego Chargers.
Here are 5 players I think need to show up tomorrow night to help Chiefs fans sleep a little easier as the regular season approaches.
1. Matt Cassel
Cassel looked much better against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers than he did against the Falcons but he faces an intimidating test in the Eagles defense. When the Chiefs and Eagles played in 2009, the Eagles were ruthless and stingy allowing little to no rushing yards while blitzing multiple men on passing downs. Cassel completed most of his passes but only threw for 90 yards.
This time around the Chiefs can’t let the Eagles defense dictate the flow of the game. They need to come out with the same intensity then did against the Bucs and start moving the ball early. The Eagles love to blitz and they are likely going to come after Matt Cassel. If the Chiefs QB can read the blitzes, get rid of the ball quickly and take care of the football, the Chiefs should be able to make the Eagles pay for being too aggressive.
2. The Offensive Line
The offensive line looked much better in both run and pass blocking last week. They did a fantastic job of picking up Tampa’s frequent blitzes save for one play where Jamaal Charles missed a block. The line will face a strong Eagles defensive line so this should be a good test. If they can open up some holes for Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones and keep the heat off Matt Cassel, Chiefs fans will feel a lot better about the progress of the big guys up front.
3. Jeremy Horne
Jeremy Horne has been the surprise of training camp and if he hopes to lock up a roster position, he will need to show up this week against Philly. The Chiefs will eventually need a replacement for Chris Chambers and if Horne can develop in to that guy in 2010, the Chiefs will have one less position of need in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Horne caught a TD pass against the Bucs with the first team so the Chiefs are likely to give him some chances against the Eagles to see what he’s made of. Horne needs to rise to the occasion.
4. Eric Berry
Ok, youngin. It is time to make an impact. Berry have played well in his first two games in the NFL but that isn’t going to be good enough for Chiefs fans. The #5 overall pick needs shows he is worth the money with his first significant playing time as a pro. Andy Reid like to throw the ball so Berry has a chance to make an impact by possibly snagging a pick or helping the Chiefs corners with over the top help.
5. Javier Arenas
Javier Arenas has had a sensational preseason returning kicks but the Chiefs also drafted him to cover receivers. Arenas has a lot to live up to in my eyes because he is the player the Chiefs acquired with the Tony Gonzalez trade. If Arenas starts to look as good as a nickel corner as he does returning kicks, the Chiefs may have a special player.
Arenas has been pretty good in coverage so far but he hasn’t really broken up many passes. Being a rookie, Arenas is likely playing it a little bit safe with his coverage. The Eagles are likely to throw a lot of 3 WR sets at the Chiefs so Arenas should get his most significant playing time yet. If he can stick to his man, he could make things a lot easier on the Chiefs defense.
Ok, Addicts! Those are my 5 players to watch. Who do you have your eye on?