OMG THE CHIEFS PLAY TONIGHT YOU GUYS!!!
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
Well, at least, kind of.
Were all adults here, so we understand the significance of NFL preseason games, and why the NFL is seriously considering changes to how this whole thing looks. But the way it looks tonight is the Chiefs play in New Orleans, site of one of their two wins from last year. The major story locally, of course, is Sean Paytons return to coaching but in Kansas City we dont care so much about that.
Injuries: This is really all that matters. If there is a major injury, this game will be big step back for the Chiefs. If there is not, the Chiefs will have made progress. Thats an oversimplification, but barely.
Tyler Bray: Hes todays column, because hes impressed everyone inside of the organization and these four preseason games are his biggest chance to make it more than a good first impression. So far, hes shown humility, hard work, self-awareness and a tendency to take shots downfield. Preseason games especially the first preseason games are irrelevant for most of the guys fans care about. Bray is a 6-foot-6, strong-armed exception. Hell start the second half.
Eric Berry: This sets up as a season Berry could solidly establish himself as an elite player. Randy wrote about this the other day, but new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton for some reason it makes me giggle a little bit when the players refer to him as "Coach Bob" is going to have Berry all over the field. Hes still the strong safety, but it sounds like hell blitz more and play linebacker in the dime. This is a good match for both Berrys skillset and style. Hes strong, athletic, smart, diligent, and has always been very physical, especially for a safety. He might be the biggest beneficiary of the coaching change on defense.
Eric Fisher: He had a rough start to training camp, especially for a No. 1 overall pick. Nobodys expecting him to be Anthony Munoz right away, but it would be a bad look for the Chiefs new leadership if their No. 1 pick struggles too much. We are miles and miles away from the time for real concern. If nothing else, it will be good for him to go through a "real" routine of NFL gameday, play in an NFL stadium, against other NFL players.
Dontari Poe: There are other guys on defense worth your eye, but Im picking Poe because the watered-down, vanilla sort of plays were likely to see tonight shouldnt effect whether we can judge him. His job is to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, collapse the pocket if he can, and that doesnt change much whether theyre in a soft zone or blitz. NFL conventional wisdom is that defensive linemen often make a jump from year one to two. This is his first chance.