Saturday, August 27, 2011
Breaking down Chiefs vs. Rams
By Bill Williamson
Random thoughts of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 14-10 loss to visiting St. Louis on Friday night:
- It is clear Kansas City coach Todd Haley doesn’t put a premium on the preseason. The Chiefs are now 1-10 in the preseason in three seasons under Haley. The Chiefs take the preseason simply as a time to get some repetitions. I can’t blame Haley nor do I think it is a bad sign of things to come. I have never been a believer in the importance of winning in the preseason. I can’t be counted among those who are freaked out by the lack of spunk shown by the defending AFC West champions in this string of August football.
- The Chiefs clearly weren’t interested in being the kings of summer Friday night. The Rams were better on both sides of the ball. Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel was 6-of-13 for 59 yards and running back Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones -- who led the way for the NFL’s No.1 run offense last season -- were held to a total of eight yards on four carries.
- Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ defense allowed Sam Bradford to pass for 95 yards in a limited duty and it allowed Steven Jackson 72 yards on the ground. The Chiefs’ first-team defense allowed the Rams’ only two scores. Are these offensive and defensive deficiencies cause for concern? Time, of course, will tell, but I don’t think so. It is obvious Haley doesn’t like to show much this time of year.
- What I do take seriously in the preseason is penalties. It is a matter of discipline. That tone has to be set early. The Chiefs had eight penalties for 55 yards. That needs to be cleaned up.
- Running back/receiver Dexter McCluster continued to get a lot of action. He had five catches for 37 yards. Expect to see him a lot third down.
- Rookie Ricky Stanzi made strides as he pushes Tyler Palko. Stanzi led the Chiefs’ only touchdown drive. He threw for 121 yards. Palko also had a solid game as he threw for 92 yards. It was the second decent games for both players as they try to convince the Chiefs not to go out and get a veteran backup for Cassel.
- The Chiefs’ offensive line improved. The Rams had just two sacks. Last week, the Chiefs allowed five sacks against Baltimore.
- Jared Gaither played some at left tackle. That is a good sign. If he can stay healthy, expect him to be in starting lineup at some point.
- Third-round pick Justin Houston continued to look impressive. Expect him to be in the mix for serious playing time early in the season.
- It was a good learning night for second-round pick Rodney Hudson. He played the first half at left guard and he played the second half at center. He is going to have a role and his versatility will help the line.
- Underrated Kansas City punter Dustin Colquitt was his usual fantastic self. He pinned the Rams inside their own 10-yard line four times.