Philly Five

Posted Aug 27, 2010

Five things to watch vs. Philadelphia

Finally, The New Arrowhead is ready to host an event slated for its intended purpose – to be the loudest stadium in the NFL and the Home of the Chiefs.

Renovations are complete and the finished product is absolutely stunning. You’ll find yourself wandering the stadium and staying late if tonight’s preseason game against Philadelphia is your first step inside. Be sure to take a look around and get your bearings before things turn up a notch on MNF September 13th.

It’s still the preseason for fans too, and these next two games offer a dress rehearsal for the Chiefs faithful to get the gameday atmosphere ready before San Diego comes to town. If you find yourself spending a little too much time checking out everything that is The New Arrowhead, here’s a cheat sheet for five things to watch when Kansas City takes the field against the boys from Philly.

Five For Philly

1)      First-teamers

The third preseason game is as close as things can get to a regular season tilt. Front-line players for both teams are expected to see their most extensive action of the preseason, butting heads with one another through halftime and into the third quarter. That’s enough to watch in itself, but will there be any surprise faces that find themselves involved in first-team action tonight?

Last week in Tampa, rookie free agent WR Jeremy Horne found himself running with the first-teamers early in the game. He used that opportunity to get himself in the end zone, courtesy of a Matt Cassel touchdown pass. Will Horne receive first-team reps again tonight? Will there be another surprise player, like Jeremy Horne, that sees playing time early in the game?

2)      The Nickel

Though rookie CB Javier Arenas looks to have his grasp on the Chiefs nickel back duties, the personnel that surrounds him has changed over the course of the first two preseason games. We’ve seen a grouping similar to that of 2009 with ILBs Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher joining OLBs Tamba Hali and Mike Vrabel to form the linebacking corps. But what about that “funky nickel” that the Chiefs brought to Tampa?

Against the Bucs, Vrabel moved inside to play next to Johnson, while Andy Studebacker joined Hali walked up on the edge. Studebacker and Hali paired with two defensive linemen in Wallace Gilberry and Glenn Dorsey to form the front four of the Chiefs nickel look. This is a package that we saw in practice dating back as far as spring OTAs, but it came to life in Florida.

With head coach Todd Haley placing an emphasis on players falling into regular season roles tonight, which nickel package with the Chiefs defense show?

3)      Roles

Speaking of roles, will we see anything notable take shape against Philadelphia? We know that the Chiefs will keep things fairly vanilla on both sides of the football (though there were an awful lot of blitz packages used against Tampa), but will we see anything that catches our eye?

Does RB Thomas Jones come into the game for third-and-short situations? Does that make him the third-down back?

Does Jackie Battle factor into any short-yard scenarios?

Will Eric Berry continue to line-up with the kickoff coverage unit?

What about the reserve personnel when the Chiefs go double tight?

How about the jumbo package?

4)      Field Goal Unit

Keep your eyes off of Succop. We know who the Chiefs kicker is going to be.

What we don’t know is who makes up the Chiefs offensive line following the projected starters. We’ve looked at various special teams personnel this preseason in a hope to give us clues towards finding the Final 53. We started with the gunners in Atlanta and took a look at the “Core Four” in Tampa last week.

When the Chiefs line up for field goals and extra points, which reserve offensive linemen will lineup with the first-team in protection?

5)      Tackles…

We’re back to keying the tackles once again. If Ryan O’Callaghan can’t play tonight (he left Tuesday’s morning practice with a leg injury and hasn’t’ been in action since), the spotlight will be on Barry Richardson. How will the third-year player out of Clemson handle this opportunity? How far has he come over the course of the off-season?

Past Richardson, Colin Brown is trying to earn a roster spot as well. Will he see any action with the first-team at right tackle? Ikechuku Ndukwe has once again started to rep at tackle in addition to his natural guard position, and could factor into the mix as well.

A lot may be learned about the reserve ranks on the Chiefs offensive edge tonight.

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