The NFL preseason matters.
No, it doesn’t matter in the win-loss column. The Indianapolis Colts are a terrible preseason team as far as record is concerned and they’ve done just fine over the last decade or so.
Still, there is a lot you can glean from preseason games. What I’ve gleaned so far is that the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t ready to play football.
Let’s start with the special teams because to me, that is the largest area of concern. The KC special teams have looked terrible. In the games against the Ravens and the Rams punts were almost blocked on multiple occasions. Late in the Rams game, a FG was blocked. This is very worrisome. The Chiefs had better figure out their kick protections and figure them out fast or it could be a long season.
Another area of concern is penalties. Todd Haley prides himself on having a smart and disciplined football team but thus far in the preseason the Chiefs have been anything but. The Chiefs were penalized eight times for 55-yards against the Rams Seven times for 75-yards against the Ravens.
On offense the passing game appears out of synch. Matt Cassel’s throws have been a tough erratic and he has been largely ineffective all preseason. In fact, he’s been the team’s least effective QB. Both Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi have led touchdown drives. Cassel has led none. To be fair, the Chiefs are taking an odd approach to their offensive game plan. Against the Rams the Chiefs threw 19 first-half passes vs. only six rushing attempts. The KC offense is built around the threat of the run. Todd Haley may be trying to get his passing game as many reps as possible but it doesn’t appear to be improving. The play has been sloppy while other teams, like the San Diego Chargers, have come out looking sharp on offense.
Reason for panic? No. Reason for concern? Yes.
What really disappointed me last night was the KC first team defense. In last year’s third preseason game, I thought the starters looked greatly improved. They were flying to the ball and making plays. It was obvious they were going to be much improved.
This year, the Chiefs starters allowed the Rams to run and pass down their throats. Sam Bradford completed his first eight passes and Steven Jackson ran on the Chiefs at will. Just a bad series or two? Possible. Still, the Chiefs looked horrendously soft.
Right now the Chiefs appear to have major issues to correct in all three phases of the game.
Clunky preseason performances are common and they are not a sign of impeding doom. They are, however, an indication that the team still has some issues to work out. The question for the Chiefs is, will they be able to get things in order in time for their first game against the Buffalo Bills?