The Chiefs will welcome a former division foe to Arrowhead Stadium tomorrow night when the Seattle Seahawks come to town for the third game of the NFL exhibition season.
The last time these two teams met it was during the 2010 regular season. The Chiefs hung 42 points on Seattle, mostly thanks to Jamaal Charles going off, carrying the ball 22 times for 173 yards and a TD. In fact, the Chiefs ran the ball 48 times that day, amassing 270 yards on the ground. Hell, even Perv Smith had a carry for a TD. Matt Cassel threw four TDs and no picks. Dwayne Bowe had 13 catches for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
A good time was had by all.
Well, except for maybe the Seahawks.
Anyway, that was then and this is now. The Chiefs have even more weapons this time around. KC did what they did to the ‘Hawks in 2010 with no other legit receiver aside from Bowe (Veran Tucker and Terry Copper each had a catch and that was it for receivers not named Bowe) and with old man Thomas Jones getting 20 carries while only averaging 3.4 yards-per-tote.
Two years later, however, the Seahwks sport a much more dangerous defense. They were 11th against the pass in 2011 and 15th against the run. Their secondary faces Eric Berry’s arch nemesis, Earl Thomas. Campbell made the Pro Bowl last season, recording 74 tackles, seven interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Since this is the third preseason game, the starters for both squads will likely play the entire first half and perhaps a series or two into the third quarter.
The Chiefs are looking to rebound following a poor performance against the St. Louis Rams a week ago. For some of the younger guys, this could be their last real chance to impress the KC coaching staff and make the team. They’ll see plenty of playing time in the fourth preseason game but by then, most of the roster decisions will likely be close to being made.
Here are five players to watch in the most important preseason game of the year.
1. Brady Quinn
It is unlikely we’ll see much of Ricky Stanzi in this game. Romeo Crennel has said that he hasn’t made a decision on the backup QB position yet, however that is more than likely coach-speak. The coaches have had plenty of time to watch and evaluate Quinn and Stanzi. Neither has been in impressive in the preseason but Quinn has been the clear winner. With the starters playing more than half the game, there won’t be as much time for evaluating the backup QBs. If Crennel is smart, he’ll want to give his likely backup QB most, if not all the remaining snaps. Don’t be surprised if Quinn is that guy.
2. Dwayne Bowe
Bowe says he feels ready to play as much as is necessary. Crennel says he will play Bowe just a little bit. When he is on the field, it will be nice to see if the WR and QB Matt Cassel can hook up a few times. The Chiefs will need Bowe to hit the ground running when the Atlanta Falcons come to town to play a game that counts. The KC offense has been moving the ball well but the wideouts have been under-utilized. If Bowe can help the offense add that extra dimension, Cassel and Co. could be extremely dangerous.
3. Eric Berry
Berry clearly has returned athletically from his injury but it was clear in last week’s game that he isn’t all the way back mentally. It is easy to forget how little NFL experience Berry has under his belt. He played every snap his rookie season but missing his entire sophomore campaign will likely have an effect on his play early this season. This game is a chance for Berry to relax and stop pressing. Crennel needs to make sure that Berry knows that, despite his ability, he doesn’t have to try to be the hero on every play. If he just does his job and sticks to his assignments, all that stuff will take care of itself and he’ll be the best player on the field.
Right now, I feel the biggest danger for Berry is over-thinking things.
4. Jalil Brown
Brown makes the list again. Brandon Flowers is still hurt and the Rams picked on Brown a week ago. The youngster had better grow up and grow up quickly because if Flowers isn’t back for Week 1, he could find himself lined up across from Julio Jones or Roddy White.
5. Jonathan Baldwin
Two games down and despite all the training camp buzz, the only thing Baldwin has done on the field is fumble the ball.
Dwayne Bowe’s return, combined with all the underneath options in Daboll’s offense is going to make getting looks harder, not easier for Baldwin. The good news is, Bowe will likely draw Seattle’s best corner on most plays so Baldwin could see some favorable matchups. If Cassel looks his way, he needs to come through.