The Buccaneer Bruces provide a challenge more to the Chiefs level than the Falcons did. The Chiefs should be able to get some things done tonight, and would find myself quite disappointed if we lose the first half battle (bonus points if we hurt Josh Freeman). We should be further along than the Bucs right now. Without much else to preview, here are 5 players that I'll be keeping a close eye on tonight...
1. Jovan Belcher, MLB, #59- Along with everybody else, I've been ranting and raving about Derrick Johnson, who, along with Belcher, has been thrust into the starting lineup for tonight's game. We already know what DJ can and can't do for the most part (will make plays, inconsistent focus and concentration, should be starting), but I'm more curious about Belcher. With emphasis on strong-side and weak-side linebacker, Belcher is competing with Mays for a starting spot, someone he is both younger and quicker than and could easily beat out this season.
2. Thomas Jones, RB, #20- Very unimpressed by him in our first game (I know, only 2 carries). But, it still reminded me of Larry slamming into no holes for 2 yard gains. Is it possible our offensive line has good chemistry with JamaAL Charles, but struggles with slower, more prototypical backs? There's no way Jones should be starting over Charles, but I'll be watching to gauge just how much of the share he deserves.
3. Barry Richardson, OT, #67- With Ryan O'Callaghan's major o'struggles last week, the competition may be on if Richardson can show any promise. I took zero notice of him last week, which is usually a good thing as an offensive lineman. It would definitely be a chance to get younger, and if O'Cally shows anything like he did last week, he's in a gotsta go situation.
4. Mike Vrabel, OLB, #50- Was impressive in his last outing putting pressure on Matt Ryan. I was very critical of Vrabel this offseason, so of course I want to see more. Nothing would make me happier than the realization that he took off last year after the first 4 or 5 games. Our defense has a chance to be something if he is as effective as he looked in short work last week. If he's not, he will continue to be pushed by Andy Studebaker for playing time.
5. Jeremy Horne, WR, #8- A little somethin, somethin for all you diehards sticking around til the 4th quarter. Horne popped open on two deep routes last week (one was way overthrown, the other was near him and Horne didn't play it too well- hard to say if he could've caught it or not). He made a splash this week with a one-handed catch and drew raves from The Daily Haley reports. Receivers have a tendency to pop up out of nowhere, and he'll get noticed more if he gets behind the defense again tonight (lets just hope he can catch one).
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