From Tampa, Florida
The importance level of pre-season games is small when taken in their individual snapshots. It’s stringing them together that provide a real picture of where a team is and where it might be going.
That’s the important element of what’s on the line for the Chiefs on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium. What Todd Haley carried out of the 20-10 opening pre-season defeat in Atlanta was that his team needs to increase the tempo it starts the game with. Last week the Falcons came out and hit the Chiefs in the nose with quick punches from the offense and defense.
They need to make sure the No. 1 offense gets something done in a hurry against the Tampa Bay defense. And they must put the clamps on Bucs QB and Kansas City native Josh Freeman (above right) immediately.
Here are some other things the Chiefs need to get done in pre-season game No. 2
Must Keep Pass Rush Off QB Matt Cassel β Although he went down just twice in limited play time against the Falcons, both sacks were big plays β sacks tend to be that way. On one, Cassel went down and pushed back a FG attempt by Ryan Succop to 53 yards. On the other, the ball was knocked from Cassel’s hand and the fumble was recovered by Atlanta. The right side of the No. 1 line needs a better night, and backup tackles Barry Richardson and Colin Brown must improve. Richardson spent part of the practice week sidelined with a knee injury suffered last Friday at the Georgia Dome.
Start fast β The Chiefs offense has had problems getting a jump on the game. In 16 games last year, they scored a touchdown one time. The start of last week’s pre-season game was much of the same, as they struggled to pick up a first down, not moving the chains until the final play of the first quarter. That’s got to get turned around for this team. They need the help in all the little areas.
Get Moeaki Into The Passing Game β The rookie TE was kept at home last week for the Atlanta game as he was recovering from an ankle injury. He was back practicing this week and should be cleared to play. In between his time nursing injuries, Moeaki showed a great ability to get open, get deep and catch the ball. This offense needs that threat, and they need to get him the ball.
Cause Some Turnovers β They were unable to take the ball away from the Falcons last week. Forcing turnovers is not something they’ve done a good of over the last two or three years. Last week in rainy conditions, Tampa had four turnovers playing Miami.
Harass Bucs QB Josh Freeman β One part of the game that helps create more takeaways is putting pressure on the passer. The No. 1 defense did little of that against Atlanta early in the game and by the time it was all over, they had no sacks and were credited with only two quarterback hurries in 29 passing plays.
Get Arenas In The Open Field Again β The Chiefs spent a lot of time on kick return blocking this week, as well they should. That group was good enough to spring Arenas, but he ended up losing his touchdown thanks to a holding call. They need to see if they can spring him again.
Watch The Personnel In Kicking Game β Here’s just two examples comparing last week’s first teamers on kick return and kick coverage with this week’s participants. There are three changes on kick coverage, with LB Cameron Sheffield, FB Tim Castille and CB Travis Daniels on, and LB Andy Studebaker, TE Jake O’Connell and FS Jon McGraw off. That makes tonight important for Daniels. On kick return, LB Corey Mays is in for Castille and TE Leroy Banks for TE Leonard Pope.