Random thoughts from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 20-10 defeat in Atlanta on Friday night:
For starters, you know it wasn’t a great night when Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said this: "The whole team, it looked like even defensively, that first drive, they were kind of sucking bananas."
The good: The rookies played well. This is a young team that is pointing toward the future. Second-round pick Dexter McCluster was a standout as he played well as both receiver and a rusher. Expect big things to come from this little dynamo. Fellow second-round pick Javier Arenas also made an impact. He had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that was nullified by a penalty. He also had a 42-yard return that counted.
First-round pick, safety Eric Berry, was active as was fifth-round pick, safety Kendrick Lewis. In June, Haley said he didn’t think the game was too big for his rookie class. After the first preseason game, that appears to be the case.
Standout running back Jamaal Charles also looked good. He had 37 yards on four carries. That’s Charles’ thing. He gets a lot of yards on not so many carries. Dude averaged 5.9 yards a pop last year. I know a lot of Chiefs fans are up in arms that Thomas Jones is listed as the starter. Don’t worry about it, Charles will get his chances. Jones, by the way, had two yards on two carries.
The bad: By all accounts, the starters, as a whole, weren’t very good. Quarterback Matt Cassel completed 6 of 8 passes, but for just 25 yards and he lost a fumble. So, Charlie Weis’ dynamic passing offense has yet to show itself in Kansas City. Still, passing games are often slow to develop in the preseason, so it’s not overly alarming. Yet, it would be nice to see Cassel take the next step in his Kansas City career at some point.
The run defense gave up 46 yards in the first quarter and the front seven wasn’t overly impressive aside from Tamba Hali. It was the same song and dance last year. The Chiefs were criticized for not adding to the front seven this offseason and they will continue to be until the group shows it can be effective.
Here’s my constant summer reminder: Don’t get too carried away about anything in the preseason until it becomes a major trend. There’s much work to do in Kansas City, but there’s still plenty of time to do it. Chiefs fans should take solace that that the team has a exciting rookie class that is only going to get better.