- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Random thoughts from Kansas City’s 20-15 loss at Tampa Bay on Saturday night:
It’s kind of what we’ve thought: The Chiefs may be good on offense, but the defense could hold them back.
Offensively, this is a potentially exciting team, and we saw glimpses of that. Blessed with a better supporting cast, quarterback Matt Cassel made progress from the first preseason game. Cassel was 14-of-19 for 125 yards against Tampa Bay.
Receiver Dwayne Bowe looked good and rookie free-agent Jeremy Horne made the important transformation from training-camp phenom to preseason game standout. Horne was thrown in with the first team and he didn’t disappoint during his time with the big dogs. He routinely got open and caught a touchdown pass from Cassel. It would be a huge bonus if Horne turns out to be a legitimate player.
Running back Jamaal Charles continued to shine as he had 49 yards on eight touches. Charles, who said this week it is his goal to average at least six yards a pop, has 92 yards on 14 touches in the preseason. He has 64 yards rushing yards on nine attempts. That’s a pretty nice follow-up for a guy who averaged 5.9 yards per tote last season. Charles is outplaying Thomas Jones, who had a fumble. Even though Jones is listed as the starter, it seems Charles will be the featured back while Jones will be a valuable complementary runner.
Second-round pick Javier Arenas continued to look good as a returner. He had a 54-yard kickoff return. Last week, he had a 99-yard touchdown return nullified by a penalty.
Defensively, though, the Chiefs’ first team struggled. The Buccaneers were nails on third down and Kansas City’s pass defense faltered. Once again, the front seven didn’t provide any pass rush. Thus, the post Jared Allen-sack deficiency tour continues. The Chiefs were better against the run than the pass, though.
Still, if the Chiefs are going to be improved this season, they must find a way to stop the pass.
Meanwhile, Kansas City coach Todd Haley said there were some encouraging signs about the health of defensive back Maurice Leggett. He had to be carted off the field and he stayed the night in a Tampa Bay hospital.