The Kansas City Chiefs will try to keep their positive momentum going Saturday night when they take on the St. Louis Rams for the coveted Governor’s Cup!
To do that, KC’s starters will have to show that last week’s steamrolling of the Arizona Cardinals was not just a fluke. The Rams have problems of their own and the Chiefs will need to take advantage of those problems if they want to show the wider NFL world what Chiefs fans already know.
The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs are for real.
Here are five players I think you should keep an extra special eye on Saturday night.
1. WR Jonathan Baldwin
Baldwin has been a training camp star but he didn’t have a single catch in KC’s first preseason game. He was targeted once but was double-teamed on the play. In fact, this was Matt Cassel’s only incompletion of the game.
With Dwayne Bowe sitting around doing nothing, Baldwin is likely to see more double teams this week. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the play last week where Baldwin drew two defenders, both Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis were wide open. In fact, other than Dexter McCluster, no other KC WR caught a pass on the two Cassel-led TD drives. With Baldwin and Breaston drawing attention outside, Cassel was able to use other dangerous weapons to move the football.
Still, eventually Baldwin will need to get in on the act. He will have more time this week as the starters will likely play well into the second quarter. It is time for Baldwin to show the fans some of the highlight catches they’ve missed in camp.
2. QB Ricky Stanzi
Ricky is going to get his chance to play with the 2nd stringers this week. Neither he or Brady Quinn looked particularly impressive last week. Quinn had the slight edge but both looked inaccurate.
It can sometimes be hard to judge the backup QB’s in the preseason. By the time they get on the field, the game has gotten sloppy and they are playing with guys who have seen limited snaps in camp and who will probably be cut.
That being said, Stanzi has to shine now or never. Should he stumble this week, I anticipate the Chiefs will go back to Quinn for the third preseason game. If Quinn plays well in that game, the backup role will likely be his.
Now is the time, Stanzi.
3. WR Dexter McCluster
Everyone just assumed draft pick Devon Wylie would be the new small/slot option in the Chiefs’ passing game this season, however McCluster has emerged as a viable receiving option instead.
McCluster seems to be developing into the WR that Chiefs fans hoped he would be back when he was drafted. After spending a year at RB, McCluster looks to be running very sharp routes. If he can continue to get open, he’ll provide a very dangerous outlet underneath for Matt Cassel.
4. NT Anthony Toribio
Dontari Poe who?
Anthony Toribio has been drawing raves on his performance in training camp from head coach Romeo Crennel and he backed his coach’s statements up with his performance last week. Can Toribio keep it up with extended playing time?
If he can, Dontari Poe will be lucky to sniff a start this season. The rookie could be relegated to sub-package duty, which would allow him time to develop while the more experience Torinio keeps his spot warm.
Hey, we all want to see Poe dominate and dominate soon but talented, deep NFL teams are able to let their rookies sit and develop. Yes, even first round picks. If Toribio is playing well enough to keep Poe on the bench, that is fine by me.
5. CB Jalil Brown
Brown has stepped up to cover for the injured Brandon Flowers and he did a pretty decent job last week. Flowers is out again this week with a nagging foot injury so Brown could be tested playing opposite Stanford Routt. If he can rise to the occasion, Chiefs fans will be feeling a lot better about the team’s depth at CB.
All right, Addicts! There are my five players to watch.
Who will you be keeping a close eye on Saturday night?