The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers will wrap up the 2011 NFL preseason schedule tonight at Lambeau Field and it's the last opportunity for game time before Saturday's big cut down day. That's when teams will go from 80 to 53 players so this is a significant night for a lot of the Chiefs 80 players on the roster.
I've got five questions on tonight's game involving the starters playing time, which players stand out, the backup quarterback battle, Jackie Battle's role and how Barry Richardson responds.
How long will the starters play? Yep, this is the same question every week. Todd Haley doesn't always clue us in on this ahead of time so we're left wondering. I'm guessing the starters play a quarter at most, maybe even less than that. There's no reason to risk further injury because you don't gain much by playing an extra series or two. I'd say play it safe and give these guys just a couple of series' before calling in the reserves.
Who stands out? The starters aren't much of a concern with this game. We're looking forward to seeing the guys at the bottom of the roster. I think there are a dozen or spots up for grabs on this team and there are 30-plus guys vying for those spots. This is their final chance to do that. Pay close attention because you'll have a number of guys whose life will change because of this game, either for better or for worse.
Who wins the backup quarterback battle? It's the last game for QB Ricky Stanzi and QB Tyler Palko before the regular season starts. We want to see who comes out on top. Stanzi looked sharp last week and, as a fifth round pick, he's not going anywhere. That means the real question comes down to whether Palko earns a spot on the team or the Chiefs go searching the waiver wire for another veteran backup.
Does RB Jackie Battle make the team? I thought he would make it based on his ability as a backup running back and on special teams. After last week's game, and a couple of fumbles (one of which was overturned), I'm not so sure anymore. I want to see if Battle, always the preseason star, confirms his spot on the team.
Will RT Barry Richardson's struggles continue? He had several penalties last week and had some people really start worrying about the right tackle spot. Does Richardson step it up and confirm himself as the man at right tackle? Or does he have another blah performance making the Chiefs search the waiver wire for another right tackle?