Here are five predictions about the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs based off of one (yes, just one) preseason game.
5. The Chiefs will be a running team in
Their coaching staff would indicate that they'll pass the ball. Head coach Todd Haley made his name with Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin in Arizona. They were known for passing the ball all over the field. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is most known for his work with quarterbacks -- Tom Brady, Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen -- to name the last three.
But the Chiefs strength is in the running game. Their best player -- Jamaal Charles -- is there. Their most exciting player -- Dexter McCluster -- will see some time there. And one of their leaders in Thomas Jones is also there. Plus, that's the position where they might have the most depth.
This is a running team, not a passing team.
4. The run defense will be improved, but not great
The defensive line will make strides as will some of the linebackers which will improve the run defense. The Chiefs were 31st against the run last year so improvement doesn't mean a whole lot.
While this line will get better, it won't be a dominating presence for some time. We'll see improvement but at the end of the year, there will be the same arguments that a nose tackle is needed, another outside linebacker is needed and maybe two inside linebackers are needed.
3. More of the same for Derrick Johnson in 2010
I don't foresee DJ being a starter for all of 2010 or even long stretches of it. I think he'll be playing a similar role as to the one he played in 2009 and he'll see spot time behind Demorrio Williams at inside linebacker.
DJ was playing with the UDFAs and bottom-of-the-roster players in the fourth quarter Friday night. The first preseason game and the guy many of us feel should be one of the stars of the defense is playing with the third and fourth stringers.
What's changed with DJ? Haley has said he worked hard last year and this year so it's not a matter of effort. Whatever it is, he's just not Haley's style and I don't think that will change in 2010.
2. The Chiefs will have a player in the conversation for rookie of the year
Really I want to say two.
First, you've got Eric Berry. He was quickly around the ball on Friday night and showed lots of effort. The Chiefs will use him in plenty of ways adding to his versatility.
Second, you've got Dexter McCluster. With some of his abilities, he may have the best chance at being rookie of the year. He's fast, quick and should be a good-sized portion of the Chiefs offense. He can run the ball and catch the ball and it appears, at least judging from one game, that the Chiefs will give him an opportunity to do both.
Third, there's Javier Arenas. He's going to be a solid nickelback but they're never going to give rookie of the year to just a nickelback. So Arenas will have to sell them on his return abilities. Already, in preseason week one, we've seen Arenas is dangerous returning kicks. He took his first one back to the 42 yard line and the second one he brought back to the house but it was later called back for a holding call away from the ball.
One of those players will be in the conversation at the end of the year for rookie of the year.
Am I crazy?
1. Tamba Hali will be the most effective defensive player
I say effective and not productive because Hali may only get 8-10 sacks but still be a defensive force.
He's got some company in Brandon Flowers but pressuring the quarterback is the most important facet of a defense. I'm not discounting Flowers' abilities by any means but Hali can again create plenty of quarterback pressures even if the sacks aren't there.
He's making a difference and there's no reason that shouldn't continue.