1. QB Alex Smith - After completing seven of eight passes on the Chiefs opening drive that lead to an early 7-0 lead, it would appear that the early returns on Alex Smith were a success. And if you consider his only incomplete pass of the night was dumping one of his passes out of bounds, he was near perfect in his KC debut.
Before the game, Andy Reid, stated each of his quarterbacks would play one quarter. But after Smith drove the Chiefs offense on a 14-play, 80 yard drive, he was done for the night.
Still it wasn’t a surprise that Smith played so well. After all, he did complete 70% of his passes a year ago before his injury that put him on the bench the rest of the season. But what the Chiefs found out Friday night was that Smith, given time to survey the field, could deliver the ball to his offensive playmakers.
Granted he never stretched the field like his counterpart Saints Quarterback, Drew Brees, but it really didn’t matter. If the Chiefs offense is going to duplicate more of what Smith did on his first drive this preseason, Reid can’t alter this offense too much in the regular season. He has to keep the game simple for Smith until he gains the confidence to use all of his weapons including his wide receivers.
2. Special Teams - When was the last time Chiefs fans saw all four phases of it’s special teams be successful in the same game. From Ryan Succop’s first field goal, Dustin Colquitt’s booming punts, Dexter McCluster’s return abilities and strong cover units on punts and kick-offs.
If this is any indication of what lies ahead for the Chiefs, this unit could be the difference between eight and ten wins this season.
When Special Teams coach, Dave Taub, came over from the Bears, he brought with him a precision for detail and high end results on the field. So I’m not sure why, Chicago let him go but I’m glad he’s in Kansas City.
For two years, McCluster has been unable to shake off the early success of his rookie season when he was on pace, before he fizzled out, to become an outstanding return man in the NFL. That’s why I was giddy to see McCluster’s 55-yard romp set up Succop’s 42-yard field goal that gave the Chiefs a 10-0 lead.
And that can’t be overlooked nor can Kniles Davis long kick-off 78-yard return in the third quarter. Let’s face it KC’s offense is going to take time to develop. But if the special teams can gel at the onset of the season the way it did in game one against the Saints, the Chiefs might become a complete football team in a hurry.
3. RB Jamaal Charles - After watching running back, Jamaal Charles, catch and run the ball on the Chiefs first drive of the game, you have to think he’s going to become the most feared back in the game.
What was most impressive about Charles night was the fact he ran very well between the tackles. Though his stats weren’t fantasy worthy he just seemed to be one step better than any other player on the field Friday night.
Earlier in the day I read one publication that predicted Charles would be hard-pressed to rush for 1000 yards this season. Granted that was partially based on the fact, that most pundits believe like what they saw against the Saints, Charles will be featured equally in the run and receiving aspect of KC’s offense.
That might be true but what you can’t factor into the mix is the fact that on any given run or catch Sir Charles can take it to the house. And that’s exactly what Reid wants from his superstar running back.
4. QB Chase Daniel - In watching the Chiefs back-up quarterback on Friday night, I can see why the New Orleans Saints didn’t re-sign him. In my book, it wasn’t a good homecoming for Daniel against his old team. In each of his series, he looked uncomfortable running the Chiefs offense.
That wasn’t the case for his counterpart, Saints Quarterback, Luke McCown., who carved up the Chiefs back-up secondary in his two quarters of work. Thus in the battle of the back-ups, McCown put Daniel to shame with his passing precision and offensive execution.
I was never big on the Daniel signing but he’ll have three more games to prove me wrong and impress his coaching staff.
If not, the Chiefs might be forced to enter the season with undrafted rookie, Tyler Bray, being #2 on the quarterback depth chart.
5. KC’s Pass Rush - Though the run defense was solid you have to wonder if anyone can get to the quarterabck outside of linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Don’t get me wrong that combo is darn good. But they need some help.
As I mentioned in my preview article, Dontari Poe has shown the ability in camp to get to the quarterback from both the defensive tackle and defensive end positions.
Outside of that I couldn’t find anyone Friday night that showed even the slightest ability on the defensive line that can sack opposing quarterbacks.
Granted KC’s linebackers and secondary (at least the first team units) are rock solid so the front three has time to find a pass rusher amongst the bodies that remain in camp. One player that has the ability is former third round draft pick, Alan Bailey, that has pass rushing abilities.
He’s certainly someone to keep an eye on because last season he spent considerable time playing defense end in the Chiefs nickel package. And they’re going to need Bailey to step up his game.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
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