Chiefs vs. Saints preseason: Themes, must-watch players and the underdogs

AP Facebook reader Bernie

The Kansas City Chiefs are on the road to face the New Orleans Saints on Friday night. Nick Jacobs of Metro Sports drops by with a number of KC Chiefs players to keep an eye on entering Friday night's game.

Five themes to watch

Is Alex Smith given a clean pocket to step up into on throws? This will tell a lot about the interior offensive line in pass protection. If they give him a clean pocket, there is some promise for this passing offense. If not then it maybe to the drawing board.

Are receivers catching the ball in stride? A big success from Andy Reid's offense is when receivers are able to get yards after the catch. If a receiver can catch the ball in stride, they can do serious damage in the secondary. On the other hand, if a receiver has to slow down for the pass or reach up high for the pass. It limits the explosive potential of this passing offense. If they are catching it in stride, than the timing between the QBs and receivers is getting close to where it needs to be.

Does the defense disrupt the opposing offenses timing? The NFL is based on two things: protect the passer or disrupt the passer. How much will the Chiefs unveil on their defense this evening? They are an aggressive and attacking defense. I'm curious how much they show tonight. And if they do, how effective are they?

How many defensive backs are on the field at once? And can they tackle? There has been times during camp, that fans and the media alike have seen more than they regular amount of backs on the field. How many will they reveal to the rest of the NFL tonight? The next question becomes if they do, can those defensive backs tackle? We saw many times last year, where the Chiefs defense was exposed in nickel for their inability to tackle.

Which receivers shine under the lights? The receiver position looks very murky right now. It's big question mark on who the number two will be and how many will make the roster. I'm interested to find out, how many step up tonight and leave no doubt.

Five Must Watch Chiefs

OLB- Justin Houston- He's had a very promising camp and has shown all the needed pass rushing moves to succeed in this league. Can he get to Drew Brees this evening?

NT- Dontari Poe- How often will Poe force double-teams this evening? And can he be disruptive in collapsing the pocket on Brees.

CB- Sean Smith- Can Smith carryover what he has done on the practice field against the speedy receivers on the Saints? He is a talent press cover corner. And Smith can tackle, so can he showcase those skills tonight?

TE- Travis Kelce- Kelce has been one of the more consistent receivers in camp. When the lights are on does he continue to shine? And can he wow us with one of those one handed catches?

QB- Tyler Bray- While most want to see Alex Smith this evening, Bray is the quarterback to keep an eye on. When the lights are on, can Bray show the same promise he has during training camp? And how will he respond if his line doesn't give him enough time in the pocket?

Keep An Eye On

WR-Jon Baldwin- I have been one of the people that his very vocal about his performance in camp. Baldwin's last practiceon Tuesday showed some promise. He extended his hands out and made the catch on both balls thrown to him. Now can he turn that into a positive habit? And can he build on the things he needs to improve with the reps tonight?

RT- Eric Fisher- Many eyes will be on the 1st overall pick this evening. I think some will have lofty expectations for him in his first game. Fisher is still working on adjusting to the speed of the NFL game. And he has some technique flaws in pass protection. Those flaws will get exposed over the next four weeks until they are corrected. Fisher needs time to grow and patience from fans to do so.

ILB- Nico Johnson- Tonight will be an interesting test in pass coverage. How natural does Johnson drop into coverage? Johnson has already proven his ability to lay the wood in camp. And he has proven he can shed blocks well. So can he take the first steps in pass coverage to win the starting spot?

DE-Austen Lane- Lane has been one of those players that flash during camp. He has serious speed off the edge. Now can he utilize those skills in game situations? Do they put him on the left side where he is comfortable? Or do they put him on the right side where he isn't as natural.

C- Eric Kush- Kush has had his struggles during camp with snapping the ball. Will these struggles continue this evening? Kush has shown some serious promise in the angles he takes on blocks. He does a good job of resetting his anchor and went toe to toe with Dontari Poe multiple times during camp.

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John Rieger-USA Today Sports

The Underdogs

RB-Jordan Roberts- He won't see many reps until late 3rd or early 4th quarter. Will Roberts make the most of those opportunities? He has some serious wheels to him. He reminds me so much of a stronger version of Danny Woodhead. He has laid some blocks from the fullback position at camp. Where do the Chiefs use him tonight and will he shine?

OLB-Ridge Wilson- Wilson has shown some promise as a pass rusher. He hasn't gotten the reps to show an impact during camp. It is time for Wilson to make a push for more than the practice squad.

DB- Otha Foster III- Foster showed flashes during OTAs, Mini-Camp and Training Camp. He has had a knack for getting to the ball at the moment of truth and denying the pass. He also had a pick six this past week during camp.

WR- Rico Richardson- Richardson is a name you have heard me say far to often. He and Bray has been a great combo together. Richardson has the speed to get down the field. Bray has the arm to deliver the pass. Can the two continue that streak in game number one?

TE- Demetrius Harris- Harris is a name many fans recognize. He has shown up at times in the red zone during camp. Unfortunately, he hasn't had the same impact he did during OTAs and Mini-Camp. Harris goes into his first game

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