The Pregame: Chiefs Travel to New Orleans for Preseason Opener

September 23, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) breaks away from New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer (33) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Chiefs defeated the Saints 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

VITALS

Time: 7 p.m., Friday, August 9

TV: KCTV 5

Radio: 101.1 FM KCFX

Weather: The Superdome, as you may infer, is an indoor facility.

MOTIVATIONAL MOVIE CLIP

THREE TO WATCH

1. Alex Smith

Yes, it is the preseason, but the importance for the offense to get off to a good start is important, not just for the team, but for the fan base as well. John Dorsey and Andy Reid gave up two very high picks to obtain Smith, and a slow start may snowball into a bad first season with the Chiefs.

Again, it is preseason. But people remember first impressions, and this is Smith’s introduction to Chiefs Nation.

2. Jonathan Baldwin

I can see a scenario where Baldwin is either the team’s number two wide receiver or cut at the end of camp. While the latter is not likely because he would actually cost more money against the cap if he were released, it still wouldn’t be a surprise if it happened. The need for Baldwin to make strides on the field is important to both his future and for the chances of the Chiefs making the playoffs. If Baldwin starts to show the potential he has flashed in practice and in college, then the Chiefs offensive outlook changes considerably.

Friday night will be our first look at what kind of odds Baldwin has at actually becoming that player.

3. Dontari Poe

Depending on who read or listen to, Poe has been the MVP of training camp so far, making great strides in Bob Sutton’s aggressive defensive scheme.

Kansas City has zero pass rush coming from their defensive line as things stand now, and Poe is the only player on the roster with the potential to become a solid pass rusher. The difference between the Chiefs being a top 10 defense and a top 3 defense may be Poe’s development. If the Chiefs can get a pass rush from their defensive line to go with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali then KC defense will certainly be one of the best in football.

But training camp MVP means little if it doesn’t translate to the field. We’ll see what Poe has learned when he’s under the lights and lining up against Drew Brees.

BEER OF THE GAME

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Yeah, it’s an Oregon brewery, but what is more fitting for a New Orleans game than a beer named after the Mayan Day of the Dead?  Dead Guy Ale is a very tasty German Mailbock with a deep honey color and hearty flavor. It is not very hoppy, 40 IBU, but it is a beer that will go well the pork you may or may not be considering grilling on Friday night.

GAME PLAN

Let’er fly.

Because of all the huge rosters and substitutions that will be made throughout Friday’s game, having a complex game plan is kind of silly. But it doesn’t mean there are not some things we need to see.

First, the Chiefs need to throw the ball around. Virtually all of the questions on offense for the Chiefs is in the passing game. What does the depth of the Chiefs quarterback situation look like? What do the Chiefs have at wide receiver behind Dwayne Bowe? How are the tight ends going to fit into the offense? How quickly is Eric Fisher adapting to the right side?

Hell, can the Chiefs complete a pass beyond 10 yards?

Getting an early glimpse of how the passing game is progressing has to be priority number one for the Chiefs offense.

Second, we need to see how the new defensive scheme is effecting the pass rush. It is one thing to hear about improvements in practice, but another thing to see it on the field. I don’t expect to see perfection, but I do expect to see Drew Brees have to deal with pressure in the pocket.

Third, how is the return game on special teams playing out? The Chiefs have gotten next to nothing from their return game – both punts and kickoff returns – in what seems like a decade. I don’t expect a kick or punt to be returned for a touchdown, but I do want to see some explosive potential from the players sent back to return kicks, and for the blocking to be more aggressive in opening lanes.

RANDOM TAILGATE RECIPE

BBQ Sundaes with Pork, Cole Slaw, and Baked Beans

Ingredients: pool pork,½ can baked beans, coleslaw, pickle

Instructions:

Cook pool pork

cook ½ can baked beans

make coleslaw

make Barbecue Sundae in a glass

add a layer of the baked beans in there

then add fresh coleslaw and cabbage and carrots and all that in there

add a pickle

add layer of pork barbecue

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKDOWN

Welp, fantasy season hasn’t started yet. But while watching this game I’m going to be looking to see who is emerging as the Chiefs top pass-catching tight end and what secondary receivers Smith likes to throw to. The Chiefs are going to have an offense that is funneled through Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, this is for certain. But the “third” option may end up being a key fantasy contributor, especially in the red zone.

For New Orleans, they’ve had a lot of turnover in the wide receiver group over the last few seasons. Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, and Darren Sproles will all be awesome, that’s a given. It will be interesting to see what new wrinkles Sean Payton is adding to the offense after his year-long suspension.

GO CHIEFS!

 

Topics: Alex Smith, Dontari Poe, Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City Chiefs

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