Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Chiefs Beat Cardinals: Earning Their Arrowheads

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The NFL preseason is underway and that means it is time to start handing out arrowheads to the Kansas City Chiefs players we felt showed up on Sunday Friday.

This column has been around for a while on AA and it is good to get back to it. The idea was inspired by Todd Haley’s preseason/training camp mind game of not putting arrowheads on the helmets, instead opting for a piece of tape with the player’s name on it. In Haley’s brain, not putting a sticker on the side of a helmet that a man is wearing and thus can’t see, would serve as extra motivation for the player to make the team, thus finally being rewarded with a helmet with a sticker of an arrowhead on it.

I am not sure if it worked so well. In fact, I think the Chiefs kind of abandoned the practice in Haley’s final season. Actually, Haley seemed to abandon a lot of things during his time as coach of the Chiefs. Remember going for it on 4th down all the time? What happened to that in 2011? Remember shaving/showering/doing laundry? Also out the door in 2011. Winning? Out the door. Quality QB play? Done with that. Practicing in the preseason as if the team would eventually play games that mattered? Not in 2011.

A lot of dumb/pointless/head-scratching Todd Haley traditions were tossed out the window during the first preseason game of the Rome Crennel era. Here are just some of them:

1. The tradition of starting anyone but Jamaal Charles at RB.
2. The tradition of pretending, under any circumstance, that Terrance Copper should be among the first receivers to step on the field.
3. The tradition of only playing well on one side of the football per game.
4. The tradition of employing a bull fighter instead of a football player at RT.
5. Losing.
6. Losing in a really ugly and embarrassing fashion.
7. Post-game finger-wagging.
8. Use of the phrase “Snap the F$^%&ing Ball!”
9. The tradition of the head coach pretending he has absolutely no idea what the media is talking about when asked simple, straight-forward questions.
10. The tradition of the head coach talking about how “not good” his team is following wins and talking about how good the team is after horrendous losses in which players named Tyler Palko and/or “Shabby” Sabby Piscitelli played significant snaps.
11. The Mike Vrabel shrine has been removed from Arrowhead.

Ok, on to the arrowheads.

Offense:

Matt Cassel

Cassel only missed one pass the entire game. He tried to force the ball to Jonathan Baldwin, who was in double-coverage while both Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis were wide open underneath.

And even then, Cassel got hit late and the Chiefs got a first down. Not much to complain about here.

Jamaal Charles

Just for showing up. Looks ok to me.

Peyton Hillis

More, please. B.E.A.S.T.

The offensive line

The KC offensive line straight up humiliated the Cardinals defensive line. Manhandled. Also, Matt Cassel never even came close to getting sacked.

Dexter McCluster

The force is strong in this one. His routes were sharp. He’s going to be a problem for defenses in Daboll’s offense.

Kevin Boss

Boss threw some fine blocks and is looking more and more like a brilliant addition by Pioli.

Steve Maneri

Maneri, a TE turned tackle turned back into a TE, looked extremely dangerous catching the football. On two of his catches he was wide open but the third was a damn fine catch. Sorry, Jake O’Connell.

Shaun Draughn

Everyone was all excited about Cyrus Gray (who also flashed some talent) but Draughn looked good running behind the first team offensive line. The Chiefs carried four RBs last season but this year they are much deeper at TE and WR. Stashing Draughn or Gray on the practice squad could be trouble as another team could snatch them. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs roll without a FB this season. Hillis lined up in front of Charles on the first play from scrimmage.

Defense:

Justin Houston

Beat Hali, DJ and a bull-rushing Poe to a sack. That is impressive.

Tamba Hali

Beat his man most every play he was in the game. Caused a holding call and pressured the QB into an interception. All in a day’s work for the NFL’s best pass rusher.

DJ

Third and short is DJ time!

Abram Elam

So long, Donald Washington. It’s been real.

Eric Berry

He’s back. Flew in on one play and saved what would have been a big run. A very good sign.

Jovan Belcher

Belcher looks faster to me. Apparently he didn’t get the memo that he has peaked and will soon be replaced.

Special Teams:

Matt Szymanski

The kid has a hell of a leg. Booted his kicks out of the back of the end zone. I wonder if he can kick field goals?

Coaching:

Romeo Crennel

Romeo had his team playing sharp football right out of the gate. Who knows how the season under Crennel will play out but it doesn’t appear as though preparedness is going to be an issue in 2012.

Brian Daboll

Folks had some concerns about Daboll, mainly about his teams’ poor past offensive rankings and his temper. I did see him looking a little snappy on the sidelines once when an assistant was talking to him but if the first quarter was any indication of how his offense will perform in Kansas City, the Chiefs are going to be very good.

All right, Addicts. Those are all the arrowheads I have to give out but I am sure I missed some people. Who do you think earned their arrowheads on Friday night?

 

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