Things aren’t as rosy as they were this time last week for the Things aren’t as rosy as they were this time last week for the

Seahawks @ Chiefs Preseason Game #3 Preview


Things aren’t as rosy as they were this time last week for the Kansas City Chiefs.

KC is coming off a 31-17 preseason loss to the Rams in St.Louis in and while the final score of the game doesn’t matter, the performance of the starters does, to an extent.

The Chiefs starting defense looked flat and struggled their first couple of possessions. The first team offense looked pretty good again, but a Jon Baldwin fumble and a few penalties (two on Branden Albert) killed two drives. Overall, it was a lackluster preseason performance by the Chiefs.

And to top it off, starting safety Kendrick Lewis injured his right shoulder, the same shoulder he had surgery on during the offseason. Lewis’ arm was in a sling after the game, but it wasn’t in one at practice on Wednesday. Still, Lewis probably won’t play the remainder of the preseason and nobody knows what his status will be for the regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on September 9th.

Another important member of the Chiefs secondary, Brandon Flowers, still hasn’t practiced since injuring his heel over three weeks ago. Flowers was reportedly in a walking boot at practice this week and it doesn’t look like he will be playing Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks. Like Lewis, the biggest concern is whether Flowers’ heel will be ready to go come September 9th.

Another major concern for the Chiefs come September 9th is their pass rush. Pro Bowl pass rusher Tamba Hali was suspended one game by the league on Monday for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It was quite a shock for Chiefs fans as Hali seemed like the last guy to get in trouble off the field. Hali will miss the opener and will lose two game checks, costing Hali $1,323,529.

So, yeah. Not the greatest week for the Chiefs and their fans. Hopefully they can reconcile by playing well in front of the home crowd against the Seahawks tomorrow night. It’s the third preseason game, which of course means the starters will play well into the 3rd quarter.

Here are the 10 things I’m looking for/wanting to see in preseason game #3:

#1). Starting D – Needs to reconcile like I said. They will be facing rookie quarterback Russell Wilson who was announced the starter for this game over Matt Flynn earlier this week. The Chiefs won’t be facing their Pro Bowl running back in Marshawn Lynch however as he will be sitting out as a precaution because of a back issue. For the Chiefs, Flowers and Lewis will be out in the secondary with Jalil Brown and Abram Elam taking their place in the starting lineup. The defense will need to come out with a lot more energy than they did last week. I think they will and I’d love to see the secondary perform well without Flowers and Lewis.

#2). Secondary – Speaking of the secondary…Like I said, it would be great to see them perform well without Flowers and Lewis. Going from Flowers and Brandon Carr to Stanford Routt and Jalil Brown at corner is definitely a downgrade. But when Flowers returns, I think Routt will be great as the #2 corner, like he was in Oakland. I don’t think Brown is quite ready for primetime yet as a starter, but he’s good depth and has the potential to start one day. The loss of Lewis isn’t the end of the world as Abe Elam is an adequate replacement at free safety, but there’s no doubt the defense would be better with Lewis back there.

#3). The Return of D-Bowe – Dwayne Bowe practiced in full pads for the first time on Tuesday and will play Friday night against the Seahawks. How much he will play is unknown, but I doubt he’s on the field as long as the other starters. Still, it will be great to see Bowe back out there, giving Matt Cassel yet another weapon at his disposal.

#4). Chiefs O-Line vs. Hawks D-Line – The battle of the trenches will be a focal point tomorrow night as the Seahawks have one of the biggest defensive lines in the league and are built to stop the run. The Chiefs offensive line has looked great as expected so far, but this will be their biggest challenge yet. Seattle was 12th in the NFL against the run last year and will be focusing in on Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis all night. Who will win the battle up front?

#5). Once again, get the WRs involved Matt! – While Matt Cassel has looked efficient thus far, he’s made a lot of safe passes to the flats and hasn’t really gotten his wide receivers involved yet. Last week tight end Kevin Boss introduced himself to Chiefs fans with 4 catches for 62 yards, but the trio of Jon Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Tony Moeaki only accounted for 2 catches for 8 yards. Breaston hasn’t even been targeted yet this preseason. With Cassel and the starters playing into the 3rd quarter, obviously there will be more opportunities for those three, so hopefully Cassel can get them the ball.

#6). Baldwin Where Art Thou? – And speaking of wide receivers…Where’s the Jon Baldwin of OTA’s and training camp at? A debatable drop in the preseason opener and a fumble last week is not what Chiefs fans were expecting from the 2011 first round draft pick in the first two preseason games after all the buzz he’s been getting in camp. But it’s preseason. And he’s only played like six series. He’ll be fine. Still, it would be nice to see Baldwin do something tomorrow night considering he’ll be out there well into the 3rd quarter.

#7). Studebaker or Sheffield? – Who will replace Tamba Hali at outside linebacker for the season opener? As of now, Andy Studebaker is slated to get the start against the Falcons, but Cameron Sheffield could have something to say about that…if he’s healthy. Sheffield didn’t play last week against the Rams and it is unknown if he’ll be ready to go tomorrow night. If he isn’t, it’ll most likely be Studebaker in place of Hali week one.

#8). More improvement from Poe – After a night full of struggles for first round pick Dontari Poe in his first game as a professional, the 6’5, 350lb nose tackle from Memphis definitely showed some improvement in his second game. Poe displayed the athleticism and quickness that he possesses on several plays and looked like he was more comfortable out there. It was very encouraging and it does look like he will contribute in sub packages with his pass rushing abilities.

#9). Matthew Cassel – I don’t know why this is 9th on the list as Cassel is the main concern on the team, but regardless, tomorrow night is a big test for Cassel. As mentioned, Seattle has a very good defense, both against the run and pass. The starters will go into the 3rd quarter, so it’s basically a dress rehearsal for the regular season. If Cassel can look good against Seattle’s defense, it will make Chiefs fans feel a little better about their quarterback going into the season.

#10). NO MORE INJURIES – I’ve had enough of the whole injury thing. No more please. I can’t wait for this game to get over. The starters usually only play a series, maybe two, in the final preseason game so this is it for the starters really.