The Kansas City Chiefs will kick off their 2011 season tomorrow at Arrowhead Stadium when they face the Buffalo Bills.
The 2011 preseason left more questions than answers heading into the regular season. Fortunately for the fans, the waiting is over. We’ll have a much better idea of who the 2011 Chiefs are after tomorrow’s game.
Here are five players you should keep an eye on.
WR Steve Breaston
Breaston was KC’s “big” free agent pickup. He failed to really light things up in the preseason leading many to wonder how big of an impact he’ll have on the team’s offense.
With injuries to Tony Moeaki and Jonathan Baldwin, Breaston becomes even more important. Somebody has to help keep the heat off of Dwayne Bowe. If Breaston can step up and make some plays things will be a lot easier for Matt Cassel.
DE Tyson Jackson
A major disappointment to this point in his career, it is time for Tyson Jackson to either show up or be shown the door. The rest of the Chiefs defense is young and talented. Jackson, at this point, is the weak link. If he can’t make major strides and soon, the Chiefs could struggle to stop runs to the outside.
RT Barry Richardson
Richardson is pretty good against the run but struggles mightily in the pass blocking department. Still, Richardson has never looked as bad as he did in the preseason. Was it just a couple of bad games, or is Richardson getting exposed?
Whatever the answer, the Bills are likely to test Richardson early and often. With Jared Gaither questionable to play, Richardson is KC’s best option.
He’d better show up.
RB Dexter McCluster
McCluster is listed as a running back, and he is sure to get a couple of handoffs, but he is more of a receiver coming out of the backfield. Look for the Chiefs to spread the field with Bowe, Urban and Breaston on passing downs to allow McCluster some space out of the backfield.
I think Dexter will truly be an x-factor for the team this season. If the Chiefs use him well and design clever plays to give him room to run, he could help move the chains all season long.
G Jon Asamoah
Asamoah was drafted to someday replace Brian Waters.
That day is tomorrow.
The Chiefs liked Asamoah so much that they cut Waters. Now Asamoah has to step up next to veterans Branden Albert, Casey Wiegmann and Ryan Lilja to keep the KC running game on track. Asamoah looked good at times in the preseason, but other times he vanished. There are sure to be some growing pains as the second-year player gets his first-ever extended playing time but the Chiefs can’t afford for the learning curve to be too steep.
There you have it, Addicts. All the Chiefs must show up tomorrow. It goes without saying that guys like Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry need to play at their usual high level. The guys above, however, Breaston, Jackson, Asamoah, McCluster and Richardson could mean the difference between a win and a loss.
Who will you be watching Sunday?