They played in what was perhaps the biggest and most important game in NFL history. Super Bowl I.
Now…they’re playing in the most worthless football game besides the Pro Bowl, the fourth preseason game. Starters usually don’t last past a handful of series. Effort is lacking as most players are trying not to get hurt and the third and fourth stringers make terrible decisions that are the outcome of trying to make the roster by making a big play.
But nonetheless, the Kansas City Chiefs have a football game to play. 0-3 in the preseason, a win would go a long way for the Chiefs as far as confidence goes, but in a “big-picture” sense, I don’t think it’s that important.
The fourth preseason game is seriously worthless. But the Chiefs have some good position battles going on right now. And by battles, I mean slapfights that could turn into backyard brawls.
The Chiefs aren’t flooded by talent by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ve got some positions that aren’t finalized on this team and it will be interesting how Todd Haley doles out playing time on Thursday.
4th Wide Receiver:
Jeremy Horne vs. Jerehme Urban: Urban was a pick-up from Haley’s old team, the Arizona Cardinals and immediately got Wes Welker comparisons…because he’s white. But Urban has barely seen any time with the 1st string in Training Camp and preseason. Meanwhile, Horne has been a surprise out of camp. He’s beaten coverage downfield and been wide open several times this preseason, but Matt Cassel has failed to hit him on every occasion (more on this later). It seems the Chiefs may only keep five wide receivers as Quinten Lawrence and Terrance Copper aren’t battling for the fifth wideout spot, but rather a special teams job. Upper Hand: Jeremy Horne.
John McGraw vs. Kendrick Lewis: Grizzled veteran and former K-State Wildcat, John McGraw, has become a special teams whiz in his time in the NFL, but thanks to the Chiefs awfulness in the last three years, he’s been forced into a starting role. He looks incredibly overmatched when lined up on a speedy receiver or running back. Kendrick Lewis on the other hand was drafted by the Chiefs to remedy this problem. He’s got decent size for a safety at 6’0″ and 197 lbs and he’s fast. His specialty is in pass coverage, he’s won’t help much in run support, but he’s fantastic in pass coverage as we saw last week vs. Philadelphia. I expect Lewis to take the starting job before Week 8. But for now, the Chiefs seem to be content with McGraw. Upper Hand: John McGraw
Leonard Pope vs. Tony Moeaki: Pope, another grizzled vet, isn’t much of a downfield threat…or any kind of threat at all, but he’s solid as far as a blocking tight end. Moeaki could be a steal for the Chiefs in the third round of this year’s draft, but he has a history with injuries. That may be the only thing holding him back. But if he stays healthy, he could add another layer to an offense that is looking improved from last year. Upper Hand: Tony Moeaki
Where will Andy Studebaker fit in?
Ok, so not really a position battle, as the Chiefs seem to be going with Hali-Johnson-Belcher-Vrabel as their main linebacking corps, but Studebaker will likely become the weak outside backer in nickel sets with Mike Vrabel moving to the inside with Derrick Johnson. I like this, the Chiefs nickel set could be a strong suit this year. Maybe at some point in the season, we see Vrabel move to the inside on a full-time basis and Studebaker become the every down weak outside backer. He’s a guy who is easy to root for and has a sense for getting to the quarterback. He’s also a threat in pass coverage. He could be a potential “total package” guy for the Chiefs down the road.
So don’t expect much of an entertaining game, but these are the three position battles I’m keeping an eye on.