There will be a lot of excuses lofted it up in the air on Arrowhead Pride today, like so many bad Tyler Palko passes. First and foremost though, you have to give credit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they beat the practice out of the Chiefs. To Tampa Bay I say, Thank You.
Fans can talk about the starters not playing, or how Todd Haley approached this glorified scrimmage, but in the end, the Chiefs played four quarters of football and got blanked. They looked dreadful at times, and you literally had to cherry pick the positives to feel any sense of redemption.
It's NFL Preseason Football (Finally!!!), I get that, I am not on the edge with my Chiefs fandom ready to jump off, and I never will be. However, I at least want to look at this game with a slightly realistic approach. Realistically speaking, the Chiefs were terrible, and the Bucs looked bigger, stronger and faster in every phase of the game. Mostly, it was because they were... by now, knowledgeable Chiefs fans have clued you into the fact that the starters didn't really participate.
For instance, this was put up last night after the game:
Thank you Masonsixer for that.
Should you feel redemption in that?
I suppose that is up to each individual fan. How important is it to you to see the Chiefs depth players and guys that won't even be on the team, not get their Bucs handed to them by Tampa Bay? It is a matter of pride, it is hard to see a team like the Bucs beat the tar out of the Chiefs. Especially, when during the entire game the announcers were having a total love fest with Ricky Morris's team (I shouldn't have to explain Ricky Morris.) At one point in the booth, during the game I think QB Josh Johnson accidentally verbally impregnated Brian Billick.
What is more important to you Chiefs fans?
- The Chiefs figuring out what the final roster is going to look like by putting the bottom 45 roster players on the field for most of the game?
- Having the Chiefs risk their starters to injury, in order to stay competitive with the Buccaneers in the first Preseason game of the year in a shortened offseason? Do you play to win the Preseason Game Herman Edwards?
How about a happy medium?
Given that the Kansas City Chiefs starters have gone up against their own backups in practice, it would have been nice to see all of those guys act like they want to play in the NFL.
Some did, there were some true standouts in this game. Cory Greenwood comes to mind, but in total we just witnessed lousy Chiefs football "Across the Board." There was bad tackling galore (especially on special teams), and Jackie Battle displayed why he should no longer wear an Arrowhead on his helmet. The Offensive line showed Ricky Stanzi and Tyler Palko (PLACKO) what it would be like to play Football with matadors leading the way. The defensive backfield was non existent, and allowed pass after pass to Bucs receivers that were finding separation easier than scorned wives in Stanzi's America.
It was embarrassing, but should we be embarrassed?
No. The Chiefs got humiliated at home by a Tampa Bay team that was on a completely different mission than the Kansas City Chiefs. It was great strategy by Todd Haley and it is also why I thanked Tampa Bay at the beginning of this article.
The Chiefs needed this wake up call. It was a long offseason and the Kansas City Chiefs needed to remember how the season ended in 2010.
This game gave the Chiefs a blueprint for who needs to stay and who needs to go. That my fellow fans is the point of Preseason Football. It also gives Haley a tool to motivate these players, bad tackling, hesitant running, poor coverage, terrible blocking and crummy decision making is not the way to win. Those messages are abundant in the game film, and I have no doubt that the Chiefs Coaching Staff will use it to their utmost advantage between now, next week and for the rest of the season.
Letting these backups play against the starters was a great idea, because it lets the ones that are terrible standout like a Chiefs fan in the Black Hole. Todd Haley didn't get to evaluate these guys over the summer, so he let the game film do the talking, and the game film spoke relentlessly about certain players who need not be Chiefs anymore.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, there were a lot of positives that came out of this game. The most obvious of which was that there were no injuries. It goes deeper than that though, we got to see Jonathan Baldwin make a circus catch that was amazing, yet out of bounds.
Ricky Stanzi scared me to death by not sliding, but he looked good while doing it. This guy is a gamer like Tyler Thigpen was, but seemingly has better Pro QB potential and more "Vrabels." I can't wait to see more of this kid, he really impressed me with his effort.
There was some good things to take out of this game. Between Brandon Siler, Micah Johnson and Cory Greenwood, I am no longer worried about the Chiefs LB play. Jerrell Powe looks good, and the backup defense did rather well against the Bucs number one Offense early in the game. The scoreboard doesn't reflect that, but the Bucs should have scored Touchdowns early and the Chiefs defense held them back.
So while this game was a "Nightmare on Arrowhead Drive" in terms of polish, it was also a stepping stone to future Chiefs success in my opinion. Next week the Chiefs face what is left of the Baltimore Ravens after the Chiefs stopped plucking them like a ravaged headdress. By game time next Friday, I believe Todd Haley will make some necessary adjustments to Kansas City Chiefs abilities.