The Kansas City Chiefs will play their final preseason game this Thursday when they travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers.
The fourth preseason game is usually the time when some of the bottom of the roster guys get a chance to audition for the rest of the NFL. Rosters have to be cut from 75 to 53 players by next week and most of the players you’ll see on the field Thursday night won’t be on the field come the regular season.
Still, for other teams that are still looking to work out some problems, the fourth preseason game can be a time to work through one or two more drives with the starters. Traditionally, coaches only play there starters for a series or two before pulling them. Nobody wants their key players getting hurt in the last meaningless exhibition game.
Last year, Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki tore his ACL playing in the fourth preseason game. The Chiefs had been so miserable throughout most of the preseason that then head coach Todd Haley decided to play his starters well into the final preseason game.
Haley is gone now but what will Romeo Crennel do? He said he’d like to play his starters until he sees some efficiency.
“Like I said yesterday, what I want to see is I want to see an efficient operation from all the units and particularly the starting unit,” Crennel said. “So, if they go out there and they operate efficiently, then I might be inclined to say, ‘Well, we’ve done something good,’ and if we don’t do anything good, I might say, ‘We need to do something good,’ to build up that confidence level and all of those things that you mentioned.”
Crennel is in a tough spot. The Chiefs were very efficient in their first preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals but they’ve since struggled. They looked shaky on defense vs. the Rams two weeks ago and last week, against the Seattle Seahawks, they looked downright miserable.
To be honest, I’d rather Crennel not play the starters very long, if at all. I understand he doesn’t want to team going into the season with a bad taste in its mouth but the risk is just too great. Other than a little bit of confidence, one more drive, regardless of how it turns out, isn’t going to make that much of a difference when the Atlanta Falcons come to town.
An injury to a crucial player, however, will make a big difference.
If I’m Crennel, I send my offense and defense out for one series a piece. I run a couple of my bread and butter plays, hopefully get a little production, then get them the hell out.
At this point, the Chiefs are either going to be ready for the Falcons or they won’t be.
What do you think Addicts? How long should Rome play the starters?