Chiefs Win Dress Rehearsal, Cut Fifteen
By Jordan Smith
The Chiefs won dress rehearsal. Yes people, preseason is almost over. Here's a few things to take away from the game.
Dink and dunk
In the first two preseason games Jonathan Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe had zero receptions, and Bowe was targeted a single time. That changed quickly this game, as Alex Smith completed six passes to both Bowe and Avery. I've been really down on Avery as a signing, he's known as a one trick pony and is always near the top of the league in drops, but if last night was any indication then the Chiefs might not be in such dire straits at wide out.
The clear trend throughout the preseason was the dink and dunk style of the offense. There was a lot of chatter throughout training camp that Alex Smith would be pulling the trigger down field quite a bit. That hasn't happened at all. Smith has a yards per attempt that looks like Matt Cassel's. It's got the chains moving, but the Chiefs will end up settling for a lot of field goals instead of touchdowns if things go badly.
Offensive line ups and downs
Eric Fisher hasn't had the best preseason showing. He improved in this game though, playing solid if unspectacular football. He's going to need some time to acclimate himself, and I imagine we'll see him have an up and down start and then we'll see why he was taken first overall mid way through the year.
The second team is very worrisome, especially considering the numerous high picks invested in the line over the past few years. Chase Daniel has been getting killed all preseason, and the Steelers second team put him on the ground four separate times. Jon Asamoah was a little banged up, and I'll be terrified if there's a backup, except for Donald Stephenson, that has to come in and start. Stephenson has looked solid, but if Albert goes down the Chiefs are still in trouble.
Defense looks better, but still vulnerable
The Chiefs have been littered with talent on defense for years. Unfortunately, some of the other pieces have been so glaringly bad it hasn't mattered. So far the Chiefs defense has finally started to look dominant, and then comes Ben Roethlisberger running around avoiding sacks and trashing the defense. That part was just a good quarterback doing what he does best, but the separation his receivers were getting down field was disconcerting.
Bad nights happen, but the Chiefs defense is going to have to carry this team if they're going to make a run at the playoffs. That needs to start on the back end. The Chiefs have no reasonable excuse to not field a top 10 defense with the players they have on that side of the ball.
Chiefs make first cuts.
The Chiefs cut 15 players to get down to the league mandated 75. Here they are:
QB Ricky Stanzi
CB Vince Agnew
DE Miguel Chavis
WR Terrance Copper
OL Ryan Durand
OL Hutch Eckerson
DB Otha Foster III
OL AJ Hawkins
DE Rob Lohr
CB Kamaal McIlwain
RB Jordan Roberts
WR Tyler Shoemaker
DB Neiko Thorpe
FB Braden Wilson
WR Jamar Newsome
To me the most surprising cut was Terrance Copper. He was an ace special teamer, but his $1 million veteran salary was something the Chiefs needed gone, and they are very pleased with how special teams have played already. Ricky Stanzi was a goner. Projects from previous regimes that have awful camps and preseasons generally get cut.
Branden Wilson is only draft pick from this year to be cut (so far) and Andy Reid said they were “comfortable” with the depth at full back. If you're keeping score at home the Chiefs spent a 7th rounder on a full back in Todd Hayley's last year, the Chiefs traded former second rounder Javier Arenas for current starter Branden Wilson, and the Chiefs spent a sixth rounder on the now cut Wilson. So I hope they're comfortable.
I'm rooting for the Chiefs to hold on to wide receiver Rico Richardson. He stood out to me in camp and every single preseason game. He's the Chiefs best kept secret and I believe he'll make the Chiefs as the 6th or 7th receiver.