The clock is ticking, Addicts and we are moving ever closer to September 8, which is when the Kansas City Chiefs will kick off their 2013 season. However, we still have two more preseason games to go, where head coach Andy Reid and his staff will continue to evaluate the talent on this team, let the cream rise to the top and weed out the bottom feeders. If you were not aware, the first round of NFL roster cuts will happen this Tuesday, where teams will be required to trim their rosters from 90 players to 75. That alone adds meaning to the third preseason game – that and the fact that the Chiefs are still searching for their first win since defeating the Carolina Panthers last season.
So, what do the Chiefs need to do to pull out a victory behind the “Steel Curtain” in Pittsburgh? Here are this week’s 5 Keys to Victory.
#1 Is there a J. Charles in the building?
Rumor has it that JC25 may seem some action, even if it is small, in tonight’s game. Reid is obviously treating his star running back with kid gloves after his foot strain, but letting Charles touch the ball a few times and seeing how he cuts and runs could be beneficial to everyone. I would expect him to share the first team load with his apparent backup, Davis, but anytime JC has the ball in his hands, the Chiefs have a better chance of winning.
#2 Special Teams are really special
Normally, special teams are just a way for bottom of the roster guys who are on the bubble to make the team. This season, however, the Chiefs special teams unit has a chance to really be…well…special. They’ve already had a return for a TD and a couple of close calls. It’s only preseason, but if this is a preview of what’s to come, I’m all in on this unit. When Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB, Ben Roethlisberger marches his team down the field and scores a TD, nothing will turn the tide and morale of the team like a Quentin Demps, or Knile Davis or Devon Wylie or Dexter McCluster return for a score.
#3 Keep Alex Smith on his feet
Last week, the Chiefs’ offensive line was…well…offensive. They gave up seven total sacks in the game, four of those were against Alex Smith. That can’t happen. Of course, Smith looked like he was, perhaps, trying to find some down field targets and held onto the ball too long, but still, the hogs up front get paid to protect the QB. So, protect him. Fans want Smith to find some down field targets, but the line needs to protect Smith in order for him to find those targets. Which leads me to the next point.
#4 Is there a WR on this team not named Dexter McCluster on this team
Thus far in the preseason, Alex Smith has completed passes to his running backs, tight ends and wide receivers…wearing #22. There are other guys on this team who Smith needs to connect with. Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and even newly acquired A.J. Jenkins have to get involved in the passing game if the Chiefs are going to move the ball consistently. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Smith doesn’t have to throw 40 yard strikes consistently. He just needs to get the ball to the guys who can do something with it and make the strike when the time comes.
#5 Defense…keep doin’ what you’re doin’
Thus far in the preseason, the defense has been pretty damn good. They’ve held when they needed to hold and stopped when they needed to stop. They’ve gotten to the quarterback, they’ve stuffed the run and they’ve created some turnovers. I hate this cliché, but “on paper” the Chiefs have one of the best D’s in the league. That needs to translate to the field in order to win against the Steelers, or any team. Roethlisberger is one of the hardest signal callers to bring down. But, he’s also been the bologna in a Houston/Hali sammich! As disturbing as that visual may be, I wouldn’t mind seeing that once or twice tonight.
There it is, Addicts. I am confident if the Chiefs can hold to these, they’ll be able to pull out a win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. What say you?