Take Five: Chiefs at Packers

Posted Aug 30, 2012

Five things to watch when the Chiefs close the preseason in Green Bay

Green Bay, Wis. – The preseason is over! At least it’s almost over.

Kansas City gets its final tune-up for the real deal at Lambeau Field Thursday night. It’s the third-straight season the Chiefs and Packers have met to close the preseason slate.

Preseason games don’t count, but they carry meaning. Kansas City upped the ante in practices this week with the goal of carrying a positive preseason finish into the regular season opener.

Let’s Take Five…

1. Starters vs. Starters?

Don’t expect Packers starters to play much in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Chiefs. That’s not Mike McCarthy’s style.

Nine of Green Bay’s starters rested in last year’s preseason finale against the Chiefs and after one offensive and defensive series, the remaining Packers starters were all wearing baseball caps. Two years ago, McCarthy rested a whopping 41 players against the Chiefs in their preseason finale at Arrowhead Stadium.

Romeo Crennel’s plan for Thursday is a bit more open-ended. After two straight lopsided losses Crennel wants to see his starters play efficiently against the Packers. Whether that takes one series or one half remains to be seen. Crennel will decide when enough’s enough based off productivity.

2. Reeves’ time to shine

Brandon Flowers is out and so is Jalil Brown. Enter veteran cornerback Jacques Reeves.

Reeves hasn’t started a game since the 2009 regular season finale, but he’s taken advantage of the opportunities created by injuries in the Chiefs defensive backfield this preseason. Reeves is in line to start Thursday’s game at cornerback opposite Stanford Routt.

This could be a preview of Kansas City’s Week One secondary against the Falcons if Flowers isn’t able to recover from a foot injury in time for the opener. With Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver and James Jones running routes for Aaron Rodgers, the Packers talented receiving core offers a solid preseason test for Reeves even if the sample size is small.

3. Rooting for “Rudy”

Nate Eachus felt the love this week both inside and outside the Chiefs locker room. The undrafted running back out of Colgate’s non-scholarship football program rushed 10 times for 98 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 44-14 loss to Seattle and exited late in the fourth quarter to a standing ovation from Chiefs fans.

Fans began chanting, “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy,” as Eachus walked into the 50-yard line tunnel last week. He may wear No. 45 and he might be an underdog, but the former state champion wrestler is also as selfless as it gets.

He volunteered to play fullback earlier in training camp when injuries had crippled depth at the position. Eachus had never played fullback before and weighs only 212 pounds, but did an admirable job throwing blocks for Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles in the Chiefs preseason opener against the Cardinals.

Whether it’s been at running back, fullback or on special teams, Eachus has taken advantage of the opportunities he’s received this preseason. There are plenty of fans (and players) hoping he’ll standout one more time against Green Bay.

4. One more tune-up for Bowe

Dwayne Bowe didn’t claim to be at 100% after seeing limited action in his preseason debut last Friday night against the Seahawks. He was targeted four times and finished with one catch for nine yards.

The countdown is on toward the regular season opener against Atlanta. By then, Bowe have had three full weeks to prepare since signing his one-year franchise tender on August 17th and should have a solid grasp on Brain Daboll’s new playbook.

While there’s still time to study, this is Bowe’s final opportunity to shake off the rust in a game setting and refine his timing with quarterback Matt Cassel.

5. Big night for Poe

First-round draft pick Dontari Poe is expected to get the start in Kansas City’s base defense with Anthony Toribio is sidelined by an ankle injury. His teammates ushered in the big day by making the rookie sing “I believe I can fly” at the team’s kickoff luncheon Wednesday afternoon in Kansas City.

The Chiefs hope Poe can eventually develop into a three-down player, commanding the middle of the defensive line in both base and sub-package defensive sets. Thursday night could be a preview with Poe already working with the first-team defense on passing downs.

It’s also a big night for the other Poe – Jerrell Powe – who should get a long look Thursday night before the Chiefs must decide on a 53-man

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