By Big Matt
With the first of four meaningless-yet-tantalizing games set to take place tonight in Atlanta, I though this would be a good time to make a few predictions for the preseason. Actually, I guess predictions might not be the right word. I’m not going to be talking about wins and losses here. For me every preseason looks pretty much the same. It’s impossible for me to figure out how much meaning I should attach to these performances. I’m basically just looking for a few good plays from key players to hang my hat on. Maybe a long shot rookie free agent to get excited about. Honestly, if I could fast-forward to September 13 I probably would. But since I haven’t figured out how to reverse-hibernate (yet), this is the best I can do.
Here are some expectations I have for the Chiefs 2010 preseason:
The first-team offense will struggle, and we’ll hear it’s because they’re using a limited playbook- This hardly even qualifies as a prediction. It happens every year, and this year will be no exception. If the offense ever looks the slightest bit out of sync, we’ll be reminded that they aren’t showing their best stuff. The phrase “cloak-and-dagger” will probably be used. Apparently during the preseason every offensive coordinator becomes a never-nude. Won’t take off the cutoffs.
There probably is something to this, actually. I’m sure most teams really do scale down their playbooks when the games don’t count. It makes sense. But there’s no denying it sounds a lot like all the other excuses we’re fed by the Chiefs spin doctors any time anything goes wrong. I rank “we didn’t show anything” right after “nobody was calling” on the “lamest things a GM can say” list.
A young defensive player will make a big play and we’ll all get very excited about it- I still remember when Tank Tyler made that goal-line stop in the preseason his rookie year. He looked like a force to be reckoned with. He was psyched afterwards, too. It was a cool moment. I thought we’d finally found that presence in the middle we’ve been missing since…..Saleamua? Alas, it was not meant to be. I was happy just to get a 5th round pick back for Stank.
Which young defender (other than Eric Berry) will endear himself to us this preseason? Jovan Belcher? Kendrick Lewis? Donald Washington? Smart money is on Junior Siavii. My sources tell me we’re about to bring him back. Time to finish what Carl Peterson started.
Brodie Croyle will throw short passes really hard, and people will continue to act like he is a viable option at quarterback- Croyle isn’t accurate, isn’t mobile, and he can’t stay healthy. I don’t understand why anyone would want to see him starting games for us, but apparently some people do. They see him whipping 5 yard passes with all his might and think “that guy has all the tools.”
I don’t mind having Croyle on the roster. It’s not like we’re flush with quality backup quarterbacks right now. But a Herm Edwards seal of approval and some face time on Hard Knocks does not a successful quarterback make. I’m guessing this preseason will provide further evidence that Croyle just isn’t that good.
Chiefs Nation will collectively piss our pants the first time Dexter McCluster touches the ball- Is McCluster already the most popular player on our team? It certainly seems that way. I still don’t love the pick, but I’m really looking forward to watching him run. There has been A LOT of hype (local hype, anyway) surrounding this kid. Apparently he runs so fast he breaks his shoes. Neat.
Thomas Jones will start more games than he should- I’m assuming Jones will get the start tonight, and that worries me. Sure it’s only a preseason game, and Pioli and Haley have been telling us not to read too much into depth charts*. Still, I want him nowhere near that starting lineup.
*I find this annoying. Of course we’re going to care about depth charts, and we should. They have meaning, even at this stage. Obviously nothing is set in stone, but Pioli telling us not to concern ourselves with depth charts is like KFC telling us not to look at their ingredients. Obviously he’d rather nobody scrutinize anything he’s doing, he’s made that abundantly clear. But if he’s not going to tell us anything, we’re going to have to interpret some things for ourselves.
Look, I like Thom Jones. I like that we brought him in. But if the intent is to give this guy anywhere near as many touches as Jamaal Charles, something is seriously wrong here. Jones averaged 4.2 yards per carry last year, Charles averaged 5.9 (behind an inferior line no less). No amount of intangibles or veteran leadership can make up for almost two yards per carry. A single start for Jones, even in a preseason game, is a bad sign.
I know preseason games don’t mean much, but we can’t ignore them entirely. Any opportunity to learn anything about this team over the next month will be greedily devoured like a blocker by one of our defensive ends. Speaking of which, whats the over/under on blocks eaten by Tyson Jackson this preseason? I’ll start the bidding at 10,000.