It has been a long time coming, but tomorrow the Chiefs will take the field in their first pre-season contest. Sitting here in New England, it is nice to see the Chiefs getting more respect. Fox is nationally televising the game. Their promo talks about how Matt Cassel and the Chiefs are taking on the Bucs. Notice two things about that phrasing. The Chiefs are mentioned first and a Chiefs player is mentioned and no Buc is mentioned. That Addicts, is a sign of respect.
Personally, I love watching pre-season games. It is a great chance to evaluate the reserve players. Let’s work through the units and talk about what players I will be focusing on.
Offense: It’s easy to talk about looking forward to seeing Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Le’Ron McClain in a Chiefs uniform. Jon Asamoah bears watching too. Beyond that, well, that’s where things get scary. I will have my eye on Rodney Hudson, since he carries the ‘starter in waiting’ label. Beyond that depth on the offensive line is a major concern. Do we have any depth beyond Hudson? David Mims is a rare undrafted rookie on my radar, but he is a project. Ryan O’Callaghan is a stopgap backup tackle. Can someone step forward and solidify the reserve offensive line?
With the receivers, after Bowe, Breaston and Baldwin, there is major uncertainty. Will Jeremy Horne or Verran Tucker take a step forward? Will any of the several undrafted rookies show they are more than training camp bodies or practice squad candidates?
It will be nice to see Ricky Stanzi calling signals. However, he is a rookie quarterback and expectations are low to start. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Tyler Palko. Is there a vet free agent quarterback on the horizon? That move would make a lot of sense.
The last offensive position that I want to focus on is the backup fullback battle. Will Shane Bannon claim a spot or will Mike Cox continue to survive or, will neither one survive?
Defense: Unlike on offense, the defense has a lot of higher draft picks in reserve roles. On the defensive line, Allen Bailey is someone to keep an eye on. Will he push Tyson Jackson? Although he was a later pick, Jerrell Powe will bear watching. Can he start to show he is a starter in waiting at NT?
The linebackers are loaded with potential. Can Justin Houston show why he was considered a borderline first round draft pick before he hit the bong? Will Brandon Siler push Jovan Belcher? Who among Cameron Sheffield, Corey Greenwood, and Gabe Miller will take a step forward?
Depth in the defensive backfield is an issue. Beyond Javier Arenas, who do we have there? Jalil Brown has already be rumored to be switching to safety. That concerns me. We need solid backups behind Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis. However, we also need a solid outside cornerback behind Flowers and Carr. Arenas is suited to the inside slot defense. If that player is not Brown, the who? Time is ticking on Donald Washington‘s career. This is a make or break camp for him.
OK Addicts, that’s my take. What reserve players will you be looking at?