Tonight I'm going to be keeping an eye on the Kansas City Chiefs tackles. Offensively it'll be the trio of Barry Richardson, Damion McIntosh and Ikechuku Ndukwe at right tackle. Defensively, it'll be Tank Tyler and Ron Edwards at nose tackle.
Last week saw Barry Richardson making what we all thought was the first step in taking the starting job at right tackle. Well, it didn't quite work out that way. Granted, however, he had been working with the first team for just a few days at that point. But, this time, with another full week under his belt, I'm going to be keeping an eye on any progress made by him.
The acquisition of Ikechuku Ndukwe adds another element to the right tackle spot. He's not supposed to be a game changer by any means. In fact, I've heard a few Miami-area pundits say that, if the Chiefs are planning on him in a starter's role, then they're in trouble. Whether that's the case or not, we'll begin to find out tonight. Still, though, as Josh Looney said this morning, Pioli doesn't just give away draft picks for the fun of it. He believes there's a chance Ndukwe is an upgrade and, if that's the case, we'll begin to see that come to fruition.
Ndukwe arrived on Tuesday, at which point the coaching staff moved Damion McIntosh to a reserve role at his natural position left tackle. Does this mean McIntosh is out of the running for the right tackle job? Not sure yet but, judging by this week's practice rotations, it just might.
Until proven otherwise, the Chiefs are one of, if not the worst run defenses in the NFL. The scheme change on defense will hopefully help that - only if one thing happens:
Tough play from the "bad dudes" in the middle.
Tank Tyler has been seeing first team reps this week and, if I had to guess, he'll see considerable playing time against the Seattle Seahawks. I've already told you why I'm really jazzed about Tyler this season and today he needs to take the first step in securing the starting job.
The best case scenario for the Chiefs is Tank Tyler winning the job. In terms of the future, who do you want lining up at nose tackle this year? 30 year old Ron Edwards or 24 year old Tank Tyler?
That's not meant to be a slight at Edwards. It's just the reality of the situation. While the best player will always play, nose tackles are nearly impossible to find so if the Chiefs happen to have a 24 year old, 305 pound defender that can fill that spot it would be excellent news to the coaching staff.
I don't take a whole lot from the preseason but, if I were, this would be the game I would look to as an indicator of how the season will go. The Chiefs starters should play into the third quarter so we can see how the big fellas on the offensive and defensive line have taken to Todd Haley's conditioning.