It may have just been a preseason game, but this wasn't a pretty game for the Kansas City Chiefs. Before Chiefs fans go and overreact about a preseason game let's put things into context. This wasn't the Chiefs team that has most of Kansas City thinking optimistic about the 2011 season.
Kelly Gregg, Glenn Dorsey, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson all did not play in this game. Casey Wiegmann did not play in this game. Jamaal Charles did not touch the ball in this game. Matt Cassel did not attempt a pass in this game. Take a big, deep breath and continue reading. This game was a practice for the Kansas City Chiefs. Think of it like high school tryouts. Guys are out there competing for spots on this team and that's how Todd Haley and company approached this game. They have a lot of film on guys who they need film on right now. As frustrating as that may be for fans, that's the way it is.
The good news for those players who got the majority of snaps is that they can go back to the film and see where they need to improve. They have a weeks worth of practice to improve their technique and come back out next week and see where they stand. The coaches will then get to evaluate whether a player has the ability to learn from their mistakes and be 'coachable', and show they can take what they've learned and apply it to game situations.
There are three positive things the Chiefs can take from this loss.
1) Nobody was seriously injured.
This is the most obvious positive from the game but it's very important. This was something that Todd Haley was not shy about before this game. He didn't think all of the guys were ready from a football-conditioning standpoint to play in this game. We didn't see the majority of starters on defense playing together and hopefully in the second and third preseason games we can see the actual Chiefs defense lining up together out on the field. Consider this game a glorified scrimmage and chalk it up as no more than that. Nobody was injured and that's a victory.
2) The rookies look promising
The Chiefs rookies all had some moments during their first action in the NFL that brews some optimism about the 2011 draft class. Probably the play of the night was 6th round pick Jerrel Powe chasing down Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Johnson and tackling him 20 yards down the field.
Powe had a decent game and looks to be a much more impactful player than you would normally see from a 6th round pick in his first game. His effort was outstanding all game and that's all you can really ask for a rookie at this stage in his career. Anthony Toribio looked much better for the Chiefs also so it looks to be a battle for a spot in the rotation with Kelly Gregg at nose tackle.
Former Colorado cornerback Jalil Brown played well in coverage Friday night for the Chiefs. He could end up being one of the more important draft picks of the 2011 class depending on what the front office decides to do with the expiring contracts of Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers. Gabe Miller also stood out as a guy that fans can be optimistic about as a late-round pick for the Chiefs in 2011.
Ricky Stanzi showed that he can make good decisions while running for his life. Stanzi had zero help from the offensive line in the 4th quarter and despite that he did make a couple of really nice throws. One great pass was missed by Jeremy Horne that would have been a big gain for the Chiefs.
Jon Baldwin will fight for the ball in the air. Baldwin finished the night with just one catch for 14 yards, but it was a play that was ruled as an incompletion that showed us more about Baldwin on this night. An under thrown ball by Ricky Stanzi gave Baldwin the chance to try and tip the under thrown ball back into the air so he could come down with it. He did actually catch the ball but he had already touched down out of bounds and the pass was ruled incomplete.
3) Quinten Lawrence has a shot to make the team as a cornerback
His game was not flawless on Friday night and I don't think Flowers or Carr need worry about their starting jobs right now but Lawrence was a pleasant surprise in this game. He finished the game with seven tackles, which was good for second on the team to Cory Greenwood (8).
A former wide receiver that just recently made the change to defensive back, Lawrence did not look out of his element in this game and made a couple of plays where he was in great position. You didn't really know what to expect from Lawrence in this game and I believe most Chiefs fans would walk away impressed with what Lawrence showed us all on Friday night. His return ability still could leave us scratching our heads but he showed some promise as a defensive back tonight.
Granted it would have been much nicer for the Chiefs to come out and play well in this game, but it's not that surprising of a result from a team that hasn't spent a lot of time in live full-pad situations in camp thus far. For fans that are keeping track, the goal is to be ready by September 11th, not August 12th. The Chiefs have almost a full month to get ready for the regular season and despite the lackluster performance tonight, most of the guys you will see on the 11th against the Buffalo Bills played the same amount of snaps on Friday as you or I did at home.