So we’ve all had a few days to digest the Kansas City Chiefs first preseason game. The 25-0 beating by Tampa Bay wasn’t much fun. The real question is, did we learn anything? We learned that winning this game was not at the top of Todd Haley’s goals for the week. Is that a bad thing? I’ll give my thoughts on that a little later on. This week I had too many random thoughts to try and string together into one cohesive piece. So without further ado, here are my Armchair Ramblings on the Chiefs first preseason game.
☞ The fact that Kansas City’s starting offense didn’t move the ball well doesn’t mean anything. Matt Cassel never threw a pass. Jamaal Charles and DeWayne Bowe never touched the football. This may have technically been KC’s first string, but it certainly wasn’t the offense we’ll see in week one of the regular season.
☞ The fact that TB moved the ball against our “first string” defense means even less. Yes, TB looked good going against a “first string” defense that included Dion Gales, Pierre Walters, and Anthony Toribio. Whoopee!!!!! Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson, Glenn Dorsey, Kelly Gregg, and Wallace Gilberry didn’t play at all. That’s 6 of our top twelve defenders and those first 4 I listed are 4 of our top 5 (along with Berry). I’m kind of surprised that TB didn’t score more then they did with their first string players in so long.
More ramblings after the break.
☞ Even though it looked like the o-line depth was terrible on Friday, you can argue that we can go 9 deep before we get into trouble with Albert, Lilja, Weigmann, Asamoah, Richardson, Gaither, Hudson, O’Callaghan, and Harris. That doesn’t include David Mims who has had a good camp thus far, but was just okay on Friday.
☞ The o-line that had Ricky Stanzi running for his life included undrafted players like Chris Harr, Mike Ingersoll, and Luke Patterson (who played DL in college). That’s right, the Chiefs were playing an undrafted rookie defensive lineman on the OL Friday night. If you don’t believe me, check his bio on the Chiefs website and go back and watch the tape of the game in the fourth quarter. He’s number 68. I really hope they give Stanzi a better line to play in front of next week. Not only so that we can better see what he can do, but because I’m scared he’ll get hurt if he has to do that against the Ravens.
☞ I can literally never remember Tamba Hali going up to encourage an offensive player after a play, good or bad. So it really stuck out to me when he approached Ricky Stanzi after one of the series where he literally had to run for his life on every play. It was either a sign of just how BAD Stanzi had it or a sign that Tamba has seen something in Stanzi that he respects a lot. Here’s hoping that it was both.
☞ While I don’t feel we have a depth problem at OL, I can’t say the same for the defensive line. I was happy with how Jerrell Powe played and Amon Gordon was respectable for how short of time he’s been on the team. However, the fact that Toribio and Gales were starters with Dorsey and Gregg not playing is a problem. I’m guessing we’ll see one more d-line signing after teams start cutting players. I’m betting Pioli will grab someone that can fill the Shaun Smith role from last year and can back up at both DE and NT.
☞ I’m surprised to say this, but I thought the linebacker depth looked as good as any position on the team. I saw really positive flashes from several reserves like Justin Cole, Cameron Sheffield, Micah Johnson, Eric Bakhitari, Cory Greenwood, Justin Houston, Amara Kamara, and (even though it pains me to say it) Gabe Miller.
☞ That near circus grab by Baldwin has me really excited to see him play with a real QB, especially in the red zone.
☞ This team hasn’t tackled much at all in camp so far and IT SHOWED on Friday. I really hope that Haley starts hitting in practice more and more as the regular season gets closer. More on that in a minute.
☞ When watching the locker room interviews from after the game two things stuck out to me. First, if you go to the 1:00 minute mark, it appears that Andy Studebaker is actually transforming into Mike Vrabel (check the man stubble).
☞ Second, I’ve been saying for a while that Tyler Palko will be the #2 QB to start the season because he knows the offense better then Stanzi, but after seeing Palko’s hair band at the 1:45 mark, I can no longer support him making this team at all, let alone as the primary back up to Cassel.
☞ If the free agent signings and huge contract given to Tamba Hali didn’t already squash the idea, I would say our game plan (or lack there of?) on Friday night is the final proof that Clark Hunt isn’t forcing Pioli or Haley’s hands when it comes to how the team is run for the sake of turning a profit. There is already a lot of grumblings from fans about having to fork over regular season prices for preseason games. If the “Evil and Greedy” Clark Hunt was in fact calling the shots there is no way he would go for letting the Chiefs sit (or not use) all their best players. Friday’s game was the perfect example as to why full price for preseason is such a rip off.
☞ Finally, let’s talk about Todd Haley’s preseason game plan. If you haven’t seen it already, go watch Haley’s post game press conference from Friday night. Watch the first 30 seconds and tell me he doesn’t look like he feels really guilty. I’ve seen Haley really upset and even embarrassed about how his team played, but I don’t ever remember seeing him look like he felt guilty. So the question is, should he feel bad? He clearly didn’t try to win that game. You can make a strong argument that since people payed good money to go to that game that he has an obligation to try and win and to play the players that people payed their hard earned money to see. However, Haley is ALWAYS a man with a plan. The plan may not work or you may not agree with it, but I don’t think anybody can make a case that Haley doesn’t think things through. I mean the guy went as far as to call the coaches and trainers of the Canadian Football League to see how they prepare for a season since they don’t have any off season conditioning programs. So clearly Haley thinks that this approach will serve the team best during the regular season. So I ask you, my fellow Addicts, if Haley’s plan to have the team healthy and ready for the regular season works, does it matter if fans don’t get their money’s worth during the preseason? My answer is that winning in the regular season trumps everything. My guess is that Haley’s plan includes building the conditioning and limiting injuries early on until everyone starts to get in football shape. Then once they get there they’ll start hitting consistantly in practice leading up to the regular season. I don’t know if this number is still accurate but about a week ago Adam Schefter reported that there had been something like 11 torn achilles tendons already since camps started. That’s the kind of thing Haley is protecting his players from. If he can do that and still give the starters time to “gel” before September 11th I’m fine with watching a couple really bad preseason games, but I’d love to hear what you think.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!