The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Baltimore Ravens in the second preseason game of the year on Friday night. The game will take place in Baltimore so this is the Chiefs first road game of the 2011 preseason and it will also be a rematch of last year's 30-7 playoff loss.
Here are five questions I'd like to see answered in this game.
How long will the starters play? That's a big question for the Chiefs this week as the starters hardly played last week. I'm not sure a week will make that big of a difference so I wouldn't expect the Chiefs to be playing their starters into the second half or anything. The Chiefs training camp has been more about conditioning and less about football so that leads me to believe that the starters won't be playing a whole lot.
Who wins the backup quarterback job? This is once again one of the biggest story lines in the preseason for the Chiefs. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel may only play for a few series' leaving the rest of the game to QB Tyler Palko and QB Ricky Stanzi, both of whom looked average -- at best -- last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 25-0 loss. One of these guys needs to separate themselves from the other or, in my opinion, the Chiefs need to bring in a veteran to push the competition.
How does OT Jared Gaither look? We're not sure if he'll play after missing a couple of practices with what is thought to be a minor injury but, if he does, we want to see A.) if he lines up on the left side and B.) if he looks healthy. Gaither's health is another big story line this preseason because, if he can win an offensive tackle job on the right or left side, the Chiefs could be much better with a healthy Gaither.
How will the Chiefs handle the kickoffs? The new rules have put a kibosh on most kickoff returns so it'll be interesting to see if K Ryan Succop boots one a little higher in the air so that it falls into the field of play. This would give the Chiefs an opportunity to work on their kick coverage, which they haven't been able to do very much. On the flip side, we'd like to see the Ravens give the Chiefs a chance to return some of the kicks considering that could be an important part of their success.
Are the Chiefs tough enough? The Chiefs were blown out in their final two games last year by bigger and stronger teams, the Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens. So, more than anything in this game, I want to see them punch back. Heck, a little fight wouldn't be so bad. I just want them to avoid being intimidated by a bigger and stronger team.