QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED AFTER CHIEFS FIRST PRESEASON GAME
The Chiefs had few questions coming into their first game of the preseason. Coming out of it, they have even fewer.
The Chiefs may have lost the game, but preseason isn’t about the score, it’s about player evaluation and health. For many of the lesser known players, the preseason is about opportunities for opportunity.
Tyler Bray had a chance to prove he had taken steps toward turning potential into production, but instead reaffirmed he has a long way to go. He also got hurt in the process. Meanwhile, former Ram and Eagle Nick Foles came in and showed that while the throws may not look great in practice, in the heat of a live game he’s cool in the pocket. Aaron Murray showed us his low ceiling may not be that low and Kevin Hogan showed us… well he showed us we can wait until 2018 before he really needs to show us anything we want to see.
Verdict? Alex Smith looked great, Nick Foles is clearly his number two, Tyler Bray is headed to the IR with a cervical spine chip fracture, and Aaron Murray may have some trade value…. Kevin Hogan did a lot of convincing he could easily make it to the practice squad. Maybe, just maybe, the Chiefs can stash two quarterbacks and carry three. Well played Andy, well played.
The offensive line wasn’t much of a question for me. They looked great. Which, in turn made the running backs, wide receivers, quarterback and tight ends all look great. Asked, if it really needed to be, and answered.
Defensively, unfortunately, the Chiefs had more issues. The run defense was suspect, which Derrick Johnson acknowledged. Dee Ford was a mess (more on this in a moment) and there was little if any pass rush to speak of until later in the game when Dadi Nicolas showed some displays of speed and athleticism that are promising. The pass defense was also an issue until Marcus Peters picked off Russell WIlson in the endzone. Peters is excellent, the problem is, he doesn’t have a lockdown corner to compliment and funnel passes to his side like he did a season ago. He instead has a Steven Nelson, who got abused in the game, and Phillip Gaines who gets abused regularly in practice. Gaines may not be quite ready to come back as he and the coaches had hoped. He’s not quite trusting the knee just yet. Nelson is aggressive, just not as talented as Peters, which means he is more easily beaten obviously. This year will be an adventure with the corners. One cannot help but think “what if the Chiefs had franchise-tagged Sean Smith instead of Eric Berry.” (#ShoulaFranchiseTaggedSeanSmith)
Dee Ford. Where to start… He’s been bad in run defense. He gets swallowed up by the right tackle…. Every time. Doesn’t matter who the right tackle is. Even with a little help from Dontari Poe at setting the edge, he’s still struggled. Forget pass coverage. Although there have been moments against the back where he’s had success and he does seem to predict the throw on the line and push the quarterback off his line, but he hasn’t been able to react fast enough to bat the pass down. Now the pass rush… He’s got speed. But speed isn’t enough. He needs two or three more moves. His long arm still needs work, and his spin move is under-utilized. I actually like his spin move. He’s had moments where it’s looked lethal, albeit misplaced. Bottom line, Dee Ford isn’t good enough at the one thing he’s the best at to make up for his deficencies in all other areas as a player. Unless he has an incredible beginning to the season, Dee Ford may have just run out of chances to earn a starting spot for the Chiefs. His best asset as a player currently: He’s all the Chiefs have.
Cairo Santos hit a 58-yard field goal. It may have been the only thing in the game that legitimately “counted” in my mind in the grand scheme of things. Field goals are field goals. Santos showed a lot of people he could be primed for one heck of a year. That range means a lot of those no man’s land punts could be field goal attempts this season. That could at up to 21 points this season that weren’t there a season ago.
Chiefs answered a lot of questions in preseason game number one. They may have raised a few about the secondary and pass rush, but the takeaway from game one are far more positive than negative. We’re one step closer to the beginning of football season.
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