Breaking down the Chiefs-Bucs matchup
I recently spoke with Patrick Allen of Arrowhead Addict about tonight’s contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead of having me ramble on about tonight’s game, I figured it would be a nice change of pace to incorporate fellow bloggers and get their opinion on each game. So let’s see what Mr. Allen had to say about the Chiefs heading into their matchup with the Bucs.
1. Kansas City’s coming off a 20-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in their preseason opener. What is one thing you would like to see them improve upon against Tampa and throughout the preseason?
– I’d like to see the Chiefs first team get off to a fast start. Against Atlanta the offense began the game with two 3 and outs, the second of which was a strip sack that led to points for the Falcons. On defense, the Chiefs looked incredibly soft against the run. Michael Turner blew through the middle of the Chiefs line on a 9 play opening drive that lead to a FG.
I want to see the Chiefs come out early, play to their strengths and get something done. The Chiefs didn’t score a first quarter touchdown in 2009 until week 17. If they can show some polish early against Tampa’s starters, it could be a sign the Chiefs are moving in the right direction. They just need to start the game with some urgency.
2. Give us a player to watch for Kansas City in this particular game against the Buccaneers, and explain why you chose that player.
– It’s got to be Jamaal Charles. The only team worse than the Chiefs against the run in 2009 was the Bucs and the only RB who had more yards than Jamaal Charles over the second half of the season was Chris Johnson. Charles looked spectacular against the Falcons, running for 37 yards on only 4 carries. I saw that the Bucs did a really nice job of shutting down Miami’s running game last week so this could be a good litmus test for both teams.
If I can add another player, I would say to keep your eye on Dexter McCluster. He has been electric in training camp and he could hurt you coming out of the slot or the backfield. Both he and Charles are fast so they should test your defenses speed more than any other team you’ll face this preseason.
3. Tampa showed that they can contain the run pretty good after their opening game against the Miami Dolphins. How do you see Kansas City’s running game unfolding against the Bucs?
– I think the Bucs are going to struggle containing Jamaal Charles. This is no knock on the Bucs. Charles is just a special talent. He is lightening fast and his field vision really seemed to click last year. The Chiefs running game was terrible last year until Charles took over in week 9. They ended the year 11th in rushing.
That being said, I think you may do well shutting down our interior run game. Thomas Jones is likely to get a few straight ahead carries and the Chiefs offensive line simply isn’t physical enough to open up big holes for him. He had 2 carries for 2 yards against the Falcons and though that is a small sample size, it looked like the same old straight ahead running game the Chiefs had last year. If your D-line can shut down those runs I think it will be a sign your run defense is moving int he right direction. If not, it could be another long year for you guys on the ground.
4. The Matt Cassel led offense did not pan out well last season, but things can change at any moment in the NFL. How do you expect the Chiefs’ offense to look like in the upcoming season?
– I think the Chiefs are going to lean heavily on their running game. I don’t know that they will run a ton of Wildcat but they could resemble the Miami Dolphins offense of a couple years ago when the noodle-armed Chad Pennington was the starter. They will be a run first offense that will implement a ton of play action passes. The passing game will be based around short to medium throws that set up the occasional long ball. Cassel is no Payton Manning so this kind of offense will allow him to play to his strengths.
Cassel has never shown the ability to consistently hit the deep ball. If he can rectify that this season, I think he will have the chance to make some plays. The Chiefs run game is going to cause teams to cheat up towards the line and guys like Chambers and McCluster should be able to break away and get a step on their man on occasion. Unfortunately, if Cassel can’t get them the ball it will be all for nothing.
I am really looking forward to this game because I think these two teams are very similar and are at very similar points in their rebuilding. I mentioned earlier in the week to the readers at AA that I think it will be a “fair fight” so it should be a pretty good game.
5. Now I know this is a preseason game, which is almost impossible to predict, but how do you see this game being played, and what players do you see making the biggest impact, whether that be someone who gets an edge in a position battle or someone who just flat out has a great game.
– I think, on the Chiefs side, they are going to try to test out their passing game a little bit. Charles had a good game last week but they never really got Matt Cassel going. Most of his pass attempts were short routes so I look for them to try to open up the offensive playbook a little bit to try to get Cassel and the starters into a rhythm. In the end, the Chiefs success is always going to come down to their running game so they will always go back to that.
I think this game, at least the first half, will be pretty competitive. I think there is a chance both defenses struggle a little bit and I could see the score being something like 14-10 pr 10-10 going in to the half.
After that it could get pretty ugly. Neither of these teams are very deep and the Chiefs backup QB is hurt so they are likely to play a couple of terrible 3rd string level QB’s in the second half. for that fact alone I think the Bucs will pull our the win, probably thanks to a couple of ridiculous turnovers by our QB’s.
If by chance Croyle plays, I think the Chiefs will take it.