The Kansas City Chiefs are hosting the Seattle Seahawks tonight in the third preseason game of the year. It's possible we'll see the Chiefs starters playing into the second half tonight, perhaps the entire third quarter. Romeo Crennel hasn't given any hints but traditionally that's how teams handle it.
I've got eight things I'm keeping an eye on tonight ranging from Dwayne Bowe, who will play, to who plays well enough to avoid the turk next week.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on tonight:
Welcome back D-Bowe Show
He's baaaack. Dwayne Bowe will be playing in this game but only a handful of plays, according to Romeo Crennel. Bowe signed his franchise tender a week ago and got three total practices in with two of those being in full pads. It's kind of a surprise he's playing (to me at least).
Related: 18 questions with Dwayne Bowe
Bowe doesn't know the entire play book so he'll be somewhat limited in what he can do but I'm looking forward to Matt Cassel seeking him out on a target or two. Bowe and Cassel didn't spend a portion of the summer together like Baldwin and Cassel did. There's a relationship on the field to rebuild. Get it started tonight.
Getting Jon Baldwin involved, part three
Before Week 1 I said Jon Baldwin needed to translate his solid training camp into the games and he didn't have a reception. Before Week 2 I said the same thing and he caught one pass but promptly fumbled it away.
For consistency's sake, I'm rolling with Jon Baldwin as someone to watch out for once again. Physically, it's all there. The guy's a monster. But I just wanna see it in action.
He needs to get involved at least a little bit in the preseason to A.) wipe that bad taste of the fumble out of his mouth and B.) gain a little confidence heading into the regular season.
The final score of a preseason game doesn't matter. How players perform in those games does matter (to a degree).
Which Chief makes the team tonight?
This is a huge game for more than half of the Chiefs roster, which currently stands at 89 players.
By Monday at 3:00 p.m. (Arrowhead Time), that number will be down to 75.
By next Friday at 8:00 p.m. (Arrowhead Time), that number will be down to 53.
Related: Chiefs roster cuts are coming
At least 36 Chiefs will be gone within one week. All that time we spent up at training camp discussing many of these players won't matter anymore. It's a harsh world out there.
The Chiefs aren't the only team these players are playing for. They're playing for every team in the league tonight. Not only do the Chiefs have to make those cuts by Monday and then Friday but every other team in the league does. That means by Monday there will be well over 400 players hitting the open market and by Friday over 1,100 available.
The Chiefs could sign new players and those cut by the Chiefs could sign with new teams.
How long will the starters play?
I mentioned this above but considering most of them played the entire first half last week they're probably going to play into the third quarter this evening. The third preseason game is the dress rehearsal game where the starters generally play into the second half and Crennel has played this preseason fairly normally, at least compared to last year. The normal thing to do would be playing the starters into the third quarter. Look for that to happen.
This will be the best evaluation of the Chiefs first team offense and defense that we've had yet. Obviously the most important part of this is keeping the starters healthy (/knocks on wood).
Let's make a backup quarterback decision tonight
Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi?
Most are going to say Quinn and I think they're right. I'd be very surprised at this point if the Chiefs didn't name Quinn the No. 2 at some point next week. Crennel has announced before the game each of the last two weeks who the No. 2 would be for that game. He didn't do that this time. I don't know what that means -- probably nothing -- but it's interesting.
My guess is Quinn gets the nod as the No. 2 in tonight's game and ultimately secures the backup job heading into the season.
Preparing for life without Tamba
It's time for the Chiefs to start thinking about Week 1 and life without Tamba Hali, who was suspended for the season opener. How do they replace him? Is it with Andy Studebaker? Someone else? There aren't a ton of options here but the Chiefs should use this game to do a little experimenting in order to find out what works.
Studebaker is the likely choice and I'm fine with that. Obviously, he's no Tamba but who is?
On the other side, Justin Houston can go a long way to making the Chiefs' life easier by putting on his A-game not only tonight -- just so I know he can do it -- but for the season opener as well.
Life without Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis
Tamba's going to play on Friday night; Flowers and Lewis won't. They're both hurt with injuries of unknown severity. Flowers has been out for three and a half weeks with a heel injury that was initially suspected to be minor. Lewis banged up his shoulder last week.
Will these guys be back for the season opener? We don't know about Flowers' status and I'm fairly certain the Chiefs don't either. We don't know what Lewis' specific injury is yet but the Chiefs likely do. Lewis was at practice earlier this week but not practicing and his arm was not in a sling. Good sign?
One final test to make sure they're healthy
This is the biggest test yet for the KC Chiefs ACL crew. They could be in longer for more than just a handful of plays. This is the realest game action they'll get before Sept. 9 against Atlanta. It's one thing to run a couple of plays, make some cuts -- even if they are crazy ass cuts -- and deem yourself healthy. You gotta do that for an extended period of time.
I want to see 5-10 carries out of Jamaal Charles this evening. He's had three in each of the last two games. Let's double that, at least.