Fellow Addicts, here we are on the verge of the second preseason game of the 2013 season. It’s been a busy week in Chiefs’ Kingdom, with the injury to Charles, the up and down practices and, of course, the anticipation of preparing for tonight’s showdown with Alex Smith’s former team, the San Francisco 49ers.
Heading into this evening’s game, there are several things we still don’t know about the Reid/Dorsey era of the Chiefs. However, there are some things we do know.
We know, of course, that even though coaches generally don’t game plan for preseason opponents, there may be a little bit of pride at stake in this game. Andy Reid will want to give a victory, albeit a preseason “W,” to the home crowd at Arrowhead. Alex Smith would surely love to stick it to the team and especially the coaching staff that cast him off last year for the younger “better” model, especially after the comments from his former teammate, Navarro Bowman, this week.
We know (at least we think we know) that the “1’s” could potentially play the entire first quarter to ensure the schemes are running on all cylinders. Of course this could all change depending on Reid’s philosophy and how well the first team performs on their first couple of drives.
We also know that this will be the first chance that the Sea of Red will have to see the new and improved, home town Chiefs live and in action. If you’re planning on going to the game, please scream extra loud for me. I’ll be listening for you down here in San Antonio.
Even with the preseason record as meaningless as a football on a basketball court, here are the 5 keys to victory for the Chief this week against the 49ers:
1. Hold the line!
The New Orleans Saints had perhaps one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season. Despite the hiring of Rob Ryan as the new defensive coordinator in the off season, and the switch to the 3-4 from the 4-3, I don’t think they got much better. That is not true for the 49ers. The 49ers defense is good. It’s scary good. They have all-pros at most positions, especially the D-Line in Aldon Smith and linebackers Patrick Willis and the aforementioned Bowman. If the Chiefs expect to move the ball as well as they did last week, the O-line will have to create a barrier around Alex Smith and not allow any penetration by Aldon Smith (no relation). If any of the 49er defenders set up camp in the Chiefs’ backfield, it could make for a long night.
2. Control the pistol!
While preseason playbooks tend to be quite vanilla, 49er’s head coach doesn’t have much to hide from the Chiefs considering his playoff winning quarterback now calls Kansas City home. I expect to see Colin Kaepernick run plays out of the “pistol” formation and try to fool the Chiefs’ defense with the run option that formation lends itself to. Andy Reid took special care in hiring Chris Ault (the Pistoleer if you will) to come in and not only coach the Chiefs’ offense in running the Pistol, but the defense in stopping it. Chiefs’ defenders will need to “stay at home” and ensure they contain the explosive #7 wearing Niner’s red and gold on Friday night.
3. Will the real D-Bowe please stand up?
With limited action last week against the Saints, I can see why the only Chief WR to catch a pass was Dexter McCluster. However, with an expected larger showing of the “1’s” on offense and defense in preseason Week 2, I expect some other Chiefs receivers to get in the mix. This means the man that Reid and Dorsey were praised for re-signing, #82, Dwayne Bowe. While Bowe threw a couple of blocks last week to help JC get a first down and then a touchdown, I want him to do what he gets paid a lot of money to do, and that’s catch passes and score touchdowns himself. We’ll see if Alex Smith is able to get him the ball this week.
4. Hold on to the damn ball!
This not only means don’t fumble (I’m talking to you Tyler Bray and Knile Davis), but also catch it when it hits you in the hand…ahem…Travis Kelce…ahem. Drops have traditionally been a problem for the Chiefs. Alex Smith is the most accurate passer in the league, at 70+ percent last year. No other QB has come close. If he’s putting the ball where it needs to be, the receivers need to catch it. It’s as simple as that.
5. Backups need to step up…
Last week against the New Orleans Saints, the Chiefs’ first team and special teams outscored the Saints 10-0 in the first quarter. If the final whistle had blown then, the Chiefs would have come away with the “W.” The problem is, games are 60 minutes, not 15. Therefore, the guys fighting for a spot on the final 53 man roster need to fight a bit harder and close the game out, since they’re the ones on the field for the last quarter. It’s that simple. If you think you belong on this team, prove it.
In addition to this, while it has not been “confirmed nor denied,” there’s a pretty good chance that Jamaal Charles doesn’t play in tonight’s game. That’s okay. Charles has nothing to prove, as it’s only preseason and I think even though we’d like to see him torch the 49ers defense, we’d rather him rest his foot. That being said, backups Knile Davis, Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray and even the long shot, Jordan Roberts need to bring their “A” game to Arrowhead and show they can carry the running back load, if they are called upon.
There it is, Addicts. If the Chiefs can follow these 5 keys, they’ll come away with a victory at Arrowhead! See you tomorrow to see how they did. Enjoy the game and GO CHIEFS!!!