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The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New Orleans Saints 13-17 in the season’s first preseason game, but that’s not the real story here.
On paper, the Chiefs may have lost, but there were plenty of small “wins” that should have fans excited. I’m not normally one to exalt moral victories, but in the first game of the Andy Reid era, those were the wins that mattered most.
The first string didn’t see much action at all, but when they were out on the field, they looked crisp and they looked ready.
The Chiefs moved the ball, utilized the play-action and got all of the big-play guys involved.
Alex Smith looked cool, calm and collected. He only threw the ball eight times, but he completed seven of those throws. His one incompletion was a throw away to the sideline, which one can never fault a quarterback for.
Smith hit four different receivers during his one and only drive, and the Chiefs moved the ball effortlessly.
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Jamaal Charles showed up in a big way, as expected, and he accounted for most of the first team’s production. Charles caught three of Smith’s passes on the first drive for 27 yards. He also ran the ball five times for 13 yards, and punched in the first score of the game with a strong run near the goal line.
Reid utilized his running backs in both phases of the offense when he was with Philadelphia—think Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy—and it looks like he’ll do the same with Charles in Kansas City. Expect a big year out of the Chiefs’ running back in 2013 as a result.
Tight end is also an area to watch as the preseason progresses. Like running back, Reid liked to use tight ends a lot in Philly, so look for players like Anthony Fasano and 6’5”, 260 pound rookie Travis Kelce to get some looks. Fasano caught two passes on the first drive for 21 yards. Kelce hauled in one pass for 17.
Defensively the first unit was aggressive as promised, and it’s easy to see the potential. Specifically on third down, the Chiefs got after Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees, and the defense showed us a bit of what they’re hoping to do in 2013. Dontari Poe was able to collapse the middle of the pocket and get after Brees. That pressure is going to be huge for Kansas City in 2013, and Poe, in particular, looks like he could be poised for a Pro Bowl season.
-Backup QB Chase Daniel went 6-of-10 for 42 yards. He didn’t look all that comfortable out there though.
-Tyler Bray on the other-hand showed some potential, but he did cough up the ball on a fumble. He’ll have to learn to tuck the ball away, and that will come as he gets used to the speed of NFL defenses. As a coach, I tell my running backs that ball security equals job security. The same concept applies for NFL quarterbacks.
-Dexter McCluster had a nice 55-yard punt return. Field position is crucial in the NFL, so he’ll be a huge asset.
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-Fifth year defensive back Husain Abdullah stood out as a physical player on defense. Whether it was in coverage or in the box against the run, he looked like an impact player with five tackles and one assist.
-Ricky Stanzi does not look like he’s ready or capable to compete on the quarterback depth chart.
-Tysyn Hartman got a nice pick. It was thrown right into his breadbasket, but it was still a huge play right when the defense needed it.
First Downs: 15
First Downs Allowed: 26
Third Down Efficiency: 3-of-14
Total Yards: 215
Total Yards Allowed: 427
Penalties: 6 for 106 yards
Time of Possession: 22:42
Note: Stats and info courtesy of NFL.com
Editor, Arrowhead Addict