Here we go. It’s time for some Chiefs football. The 2012 season begins tonight at 7:00 ..."/> Here we go. It’s time for some Chiefs football. The 2012 season begins tonight at 7:00 ..."/>

Cardinals @ Chiefs Preseason Game #1 Preview


Here we go. It’s time for some Chiefs football.

The 2012 season begins tonight at 7:00 with the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium.

After two weeks of training camp, not only are the fans ready, but I’m sure the players are ready for some real game action. Of course the first preseason game is usually the most frustrating of them all because the starters usually only play a series or two and teams are very vanilla both offensively and defensively. It just leaves you wanting more.

Under former head coach Todd Haley, the Chiefs were a woeful 1-11 in preseason games, including two winless years in 2009 and 2011. While bad preseason play usually doesn’t mean much, the Chiefs looked really bad during last year’s preseason and it carried into the beginning of the regular season.

Here are the 10 things I’m looking for/wanting to see tonight:

1). The ACL Crew – Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki are cleared and ready to play in their first game since early last season. Every Chiefs fan is ready to see how far they’ve come since tearing their ACLs in consecutive weeks in a nightmarish beginning to last season. How close are they to 100%? Not that I want Charles or Moeaki to get hit, but I’m ready to see them take that first hit, bounce back up and do it again. The ACL crew won’t play that much tonight, probably just a series, but it’ll be great seeing them on the field again.

2). #1 Offense – I imagine Matt Cassel and the starting offense will only play a series, maybe two, and what everyone wants to see is that 80 yard touchdown drive to begin the season. While that would be great, I just want to see us move the ball. No 3 and outs. A couple first downs, a third down conversion or two and no turnovers would be great from the #1 offense.

3). Quarterback play – The play of Matt Cassel is the key to the entire season. The most important position in sports is the one position where the Chiefs are lacking. KC seems to have everything in place around Cassel, will he take advantage of it? Behind Cassel is Brady Quinn and second year QB Ricky Stanzi. The battle for the backup job will be very interesting. If Cassel gets injured or plays horribly, who will be the first one to get a crack at the starting job?

4). Dontari Poe – The 1st round draft pick, taken 11th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, will have all eyes on him tonight in his first game as a professional. Anthony Toribio is listed as the starter at NT at the moment, but I think we’ll see Poe come in in sub packages as early as the first defensive series of the game. It would be great to see some push from Poe as a pass rusher and to see him clog the middle during run plays. He’ll make some mistakes of course, but hopefully he’ll show some flashes.

5). Revamped O-Line – The Chiefs revamped an already solid offensive line during the offseason with the addition of one of the best RTs in the NFL in Eric Winston. Winston replaces one of the worst RTs last year in Barry Richardson. The Chiefs are also upgrading at center this season as second year man Rodney Hudson replaces the undersized and aging Casey Weigmann. With Branden Albert at LT and Jon Asamoah at RG, the only minor question mark is Ryan Lilja at LG, who struggled last season. Enter in Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson. The second and third round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft provide the Chiefs with much needed depth on the offensive line and Allen could possibly win the starting job at LG over Lilja. Stephenson is currently Albert’s backup at LT.

6). Jon Baldwin – How can I leave out this guy? Baldwin’s been arguably the best player in camp and has helped ease the absence of star receiver Dwayne Bowe. I can’t wait to see what he can do tonight.

7). Stanford Routt – With Brandon Flowers out for tonight’s game, Routt will most likely be matched up with Larry Fitzgerald a few times during the game. While it won’t mean much if Fitz gets the best of Routt once or twice, it would be great to see him lock down one of the best WRs in the game in his first action as a Chief. Replacing Brandon Carr will be tough to do this season, but he’s not that much of a downgrade.

8). Backup safeties – When Eric Berry went down for the season after just the first series of the season, the safety position went from a strength to a weakness just like that. While Kendrick Lewis stepped his game up in Berry’s absence, the likes of Jon McGraw, Sabby Piscatelli, Donald Washington and Rashard Langford left a lot to be desired. If Berry or Lewis go down this year, the Chiefs should be better off than last. KC moved corner Travis Daniels to free safety and signed veteran Abram Elam to back up Berry. Both are upgrades to McGraw and company. It will be interesting to see what they bring to the table tonight.

9). Return game – Ever since the Chiefs traded off Dante Hall to the St.Louis Rams, the return game in KC hasn’t been the same. In 2010, the Chiefs attempted to address that with the selections of Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Aside from a punt return touchdown from McCluster in his first game as pro in 2010, the Chiefs haven’t got much from their return game. Arenas averaged 12.8 yards per punt return in 2011, good for third in the NFL, but he could never bust the big one, with his longest run only 37 yards. The reoccurring problem seems to be the blocking. Will it finally improve? Let’s hope because Arenas and McCluster were great returners in college, and the Chiefs 4th round draft pick Devon Wylie has serious potential as a returner with his blazing speed and quickness.

10). NO INJURIES – Most importantly, please let there be no injuries. None serious at least. There will be bumps and bruises of course, but after last year, I cannot take another serious injury to another young and talented player.