Good evening, Addicts.
We are one day away from finally getting to see our Kansas City Chiefs back on the football field. After all sorts of speculation on who makes the roster and how the team will fare, we can put down the multitude of articles and just enjoy some football.
However, for us here at Arrowhead Addict, it just gives us more fuel for the fire of analysis. We’ve already looked at a potential 53 man roster for the regular season, and if the secondary really is our biggest problem. We all want to see the safety situation play out, along with the new talent added to the team. Each quarterback will play for one quarter, and the battle for third string will definitely be on the mind of most who watch the game.
Instead of checking out more position battles and specific groupings, however, I decided to create a viewing guide for the game tomorrow, and one that will work for the entire preseason.
Keep an Eye on Special Teams
For a lot of the players taking the field tomorrow, special teams will make or break them in relation to making the 53 man roster. While blocking on punt return and flying down on kickoff aren’t the most fun aspects of a game to watch, they are very important in determining those last few spots.
What seperates the players on the bottom of the depth chart from those that are cut typically isn’t skill at that given position: it is a mix of potential and versatility. The versatility normally comes in the form of special teams ability. Instead of using special teams plays as a time to grab another drink or tweet out your thoughts about the play calling of the game, sit back for another minute and check out the play.
Look for who gets down the field fastest, the players who are breaking down and staying in their lanes, and of course the ones who actually make the play. And of course, the “skill positions” of special teams will be interesting to view. Knile Davis showed his playmaking ability on kickoff return last year, and DAT will get shots at punt return, but who is next in line after them? Look at a return-by-committee and see which ones show the most explosiveness and best field vision.
Finally, a specific player to keep an eye on is Cairo Santos.Everyone has mentioned the battle between him and Succop, and this will be Santos’ first real opportunity to pull away in the race for the kicker job.
It’s the Little Things That Matter
As hard as it is to watch, some of the most important aspects of preseason football happen away from the ball. It is habit to simply watch the ball to see the play develop, but by doing that you eliminate most of what is going on in the play. While you shouldn’t avoid watching the running backs make cuts and read blocks, and how the quarterback sets up in the pocket and makes the throw, make sure you check out the details that let the rest of the play develop.
Is a lineman perhaps not getting beat every play, but seems to be just a step slow getting to the block? Or is he continually finishing blocks all the way to the whistle? Besides just the line, watch for receivers staying on their man downfield on runs, and running crisp routes. For the defense, not only is being in the right place important, but also flat out hustle. Even in the NFL, hustle players find spots on the team.
Look to see the big boys up front tracking down the running back on outside runs, and especially backside pursuit from the entire defense. Small details can separate players from being number 53 on the roster to being the odd man out at number 54.
Don’t Worry, It’s Just Preseason
The most important thing to keep in mind while watching the preseason games is that they do not matter. Not one bit. Literally, they have no impact on our playoff status. Win, lose, or draw, we still will enter the regular season 0-0, just like every other team.
Everyone looks into preseason games so much, analyzing the way each individual player drinks Gatorade on the sideline and how that impacts their gameplay. If the team comes out looking like a well oiled machine, great! I’d love to see all the players on our team play well, and for the bottom of the roster to look good out there. If they completely lay an egg and get trounced, okay! It doesn’t matter, because these games don’t count.
While I have a blast watching preseason games, and often get caught up in the score, it is always important to remember that these games don’t matter. Besides the win-loss record, a players performance in the preseason doesn’t necesarrily translate to the regular season. Jon Baldwin comes to mind as one player who excited during the offseason and preseason, but failed to live up to that excitement. While we may want to get caught up in the performance of new players, we have to wait and see how they fare during the regular season.
There you have it, Addicts. I am ecstatic about finally getting to watch some Kansas City Chiefs football, as I know many of you are. Tomorrow night will be a great time to get to see what the team will bring to the table, and to check out some of the position battles we’ve been discussing for such a long time. Of course, what happens tomorrow night doesn’t gurantee anything for the regular season. However, even with any meaningful implications, it is still Chiefs football. So sit back, relax, and enjoy what we’ve been waiting on since last season.
Tags: Kansas City Chiefs