The Kansas City Chiefs head to Jacksonville this Sunday to officially kick off the 2013 regular season, and while the Jags aren’t the best team out there, they’ll still present some problems for the defense.
Jacksonville may not have a complete team full of talented players, but they undoubtedly do have a few very good players here and there, especially offensively.
The other day, Nick Floyd took a look at the defenders the Chiefs will have to game plan for. Today, let’s focus on three offensive player Kansas City’s defense will have to stop in order to come away with a win in Week 1:
1. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
When healthy, Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the best running backs in the NFL, and he has been for some time now. He only played six games last season, so it’s going to be interesting to see how he bounces back. I imagine Jacksonville is going to try to get the rock to him early and often in an effort to re-establish the run game and get MJD back into the flow of things.
His last complete season, 2011, saw him run for 1,606 yards and eight touchdowns, in addition to grabbing three touchdowns through the air.
2. Marcedes Lewis, TE
Marcedes Lewis is a big tight end at 6’6”, 272 pounds who can really stretch the field as a receiver. He’s a consistent, veteran target who has the ability to be productive. Last season he caught 52 passes for 540 yards and four touchdowns.
If Kansas City gets too aggressive between the hash marks Lewis is talented enough to make the Chiefs pay over the top, so keep an eye on him.
3. Blaine Gabbert, QB
Nobody said the player has to be good for you to game plan for them. Gabbert has struggled as the Jaguars’ signal caller and that means the Chiefs should be planning to take advantage of Gabbert’s weaknesses. When a player with serious flaws and a lack of experience handles the ball on every play, you want to rattle his cage.
The Chiefs D needs to come after Gabbert early and often. This is not a QB without talent so KC would be wise to ensure he doesn’t get off to a hot start.
Note: The original version of this article listedJustin Blackmon as a player the Chiefs should game plan for. We forgot that Blackmon is suspended by the NFL. Our bad.