Observation Deck: Kansas City Chiefs
August, 28, 2014
By Jeffri Chadiha | ESPN.com
Since the fourth preseason game never gives any indication about a team’s true potential, the only real takeaway from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 34-14 loss to Green Bay was that it followed a familiar pattern established in the previous two exhibitions. The Chiefs' offense struggled for long stretches. There was a dearth of noteworthy plays. And since this game was a showcase primarily for backups and players hoping to make the 53-man roster, there are still questions about how much quality depth the Chiefs have at certain positions heading into their season opener against Tennessee.
Here are some other thoughts on the Chiefs’ final preseason effort:
- Quarterback Tyler Bray blew his opportunity to secure the coaches’ confidence. There had been plenty of discussion about Bray’s potential to unseat veteran Chase Daniel as the top backup to Alex Smith. That conversation ended with Bray completing 8 of 15 passes for 116 yards with one touchdown and one interception. This game was typical of what we’ve seen from Bray throughout the preseason. He displayed his tremendous arm strength on some plays, then made poor decisions on others, including the interception tossed to Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush in the second quarter. Bray had nearly two quarters to make a statement after replacing Daniel, who played the first quarter. The only message he sent was one Daniel surely liked hearing.
- Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop likely has played his last game in a Kansas City uniform. Succop has been the team’s kicker since 2009 and he’s been fairly reliable (converting 81 percent of his field goal attempts). His real problem is that he’s due to make $1.6 million this coming season and the Chiefs have a cheaper option in Cairo Santos. With the team discussing new contracts for Smith and outside linebacker Justin Houston, Succop could be trade bait or just outright expendable.
- Penalties were once again a disturbing sight, even with backups logging most of the minutes. The Chiefs were penalized 14 times for 131 yards. They also had 13 penalties in their second preseason game (a 28-16 loss to Carolina) and seven penalties in their preseason opener (a 41-39 win over Cincinnati). The good news is that the Chiefs had only two penalties in their 30-12 loss to Minnesota, when the starters played well into the third quarter. But a potential lack of discipline is something worth monitoring this season. The Chiefs just aren’t good enough to overcome those kinds of mistakes.
- Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke has a strong shot of making this roster. When the offseason began, he was better known for having to compete against his cousin, David Van Dyke, in a crowded secondary. But he’s benefited from the numbers game when the Chiefs released Brandon Flowers, a lack of great competition (rookie Phillip Gaines has struggled mightily) and his own performance. Given that the 6-foot-1 DeMarcus Van Dyke has 4.28 speed and three years of experience (one with Oakland and two with Pittsburgh), he was an intriguing developmental option from the start. Now he could bring much needed depth to a secondary that has plenty of questions.