In the words of former American Idol judge and tabloid queen Paula Abdul – The Chiefs Saturday night took two steps forward and two steps back losing to the Seahawks 14-10.
Building off momentum seized in the Minnesota game the Chiefs were hoping to capitalize and finally punch thru with a win in the preseason . The only thing the Chiefs did on Saturday was fail to accomplish any of the goals they had set out for their selves.
Coach Todd Haley had to hope that the Chiefs offensive unit could continue to gel and build off of the rhythm they established against the Vikings. That was the first plan that went down the toilet, Cassel was injured on the third offensive snap of the game with what is listed as a knee sprain and the extent of the injury is still not known at this time.
The eternal optimist could look at Matt Cassel going down as a chance to showcase Tyler Thigpen’s talents. Thigpen who has been the subject of trade rumors all this week had the Jaguars apparently willing to offer a fifth round pick for his services, that offer may now change come Monday morning.
Thigpen was erratic at best, struggled in plays from under center and even when blessed with great field position could not help the Chiefs get on the scoreboard or even find first downs. In Thigpen’s defense the Chiefs rookie kicker Ryan Succop did miss two make able field goals on Thigpen drives that would propelled the Chiefs in to the lead but Thigpen did not showcase his talents going 8-for-15 for 56 yards in a performance that should only diminish his trade value.
The defense did show their bend but don’t break style again on Saturday allowing only fourteen points, the Chiefs defense has not allowed over seventeen points all pre season . The highlight for the defense had to come from second year corner Brandon Flowers who took a early Matt Hasselbeck pass back to the house putting the Chiefs in the lead seven to nothing early in the game but Flowers left the game soon after that with a shoulder injury. The Seahawks could have easily put this game away but they also missed three very make bale field goals and while they beat the Chiefs they are lucky to leave with a win with that kind of poor execution.
Keys to the Game
Find your starters on the offensive line: While the Chiefs did get new comers Ikechuku Ndukwe and Andy Alleman in to the game early as they had promised neither player stood out not only did the new comers not stand out nobody on the Chiefs line stood out, while they did a adequate job of run blocking for Jamaal Charles and Larry Johnson in the first half, they could not protect their QB. The most important job for a O-line is to protect your QB and the Chiefs failed miserably as Cassel was in injured on his first pass play of the game. Needless to say expect the Chiefs to try to bring in some more lineman with roster cuts looming.
Decide on a nose tackle: Ron Edwards started the game at the nose tackle but rotated plays evenly with Tank Tyler, neither player stood out or did anything to firmly entrench them as a starter. Overall Edwards did play better than Tyler as he was able to get a bit more of a push up the middle but both players looked like backups at best. Nose tackle should be another position that the Chiefs personnel department watches as teams shed their number of players from 80 to 53 over the next week, expect another big body to be brought in before the start of the regular season.
Keep your starters healthy: When you lose your starting quarterback, your shutdown corner and one of your starting receivers to injury in a preseason game you have just witnessed a coaches worst nightmare. The severity of the injuries to Matt Cassel’s knee, Brandon Flower’s shoulder and Devard Darling’s leg are still unknown at this time but with the Chiefs being short handed in talent to begin with they had better hope to get healthy in a hurry or this season could be a disaster of epic proportions.