Gameday Primer- Chiefs

The Cardinals head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs Saturday. The Chiefs are coming off of a 24-20 win at Chicago and hold a 13-9-01 all-time advantage in preseason vs. Arizona. In 2007, the Chiefs had a disastrous offense and hope first-year starter Brodie Croyle can turn things around. Here's a break down of what happens when the Chiefs try to run, pass and kick their way past the Cardinals.

When the Chiefs Run

The Cardinals are more than adequate at stuffing the run. They finished 2007 in the top-10 by keeping their opponents to just 97.9 yards a game. On the flip side of the coin, the Chiefs finished dead-last in their ability to dictate the ground game. They compiled a mere 78 yards a game. In all fairness, the Cardinals didn't do much better offensively (90 ypg).

Kansas City doesn't have a steamroller in its pocket this season either. In its first preseason game against Chicago, its ground unit registered 83 yards and allowed the Bears to run up 175 yards. Sixth-year running back Larry Johnson earned the most carries (eight), but was overshadowed by rookie Dantrell Savage out of Oklahoma State who nearly doubled Johnson's production (18) on five attempts for 30 yards.

Johnson wasn't all to blame.

"Overall, the first-team offense couldn't seem to open holes consistently for running back Larry Johnson, who finished the night with eight attempts for 18 yards, good for 2.3 yards per carry. Keep in mind that 12 of those yards came on two plays," excerpt from Scout.com's Chief's page.

It was a 5-yard run from Johnson that put the Chiefs on the board on the first drive of the game against the feared Bears defense. The drive took 16 plays, but they brought the ball downfield and Johnson brought it home.

The Cardinals had a dismal showing on the run in their first preseason opener tallying 63 yards, but were able to keep the New Orleans Saints to less than 100 yards and should have no problem doing so again when they take on the Cheifs.

When the Chiefs Pass

To say that the Chiefs are a work in progress would be an understatement. Nearly 75 percent of the players currently in Kansas City for training camp have three years of NFL experience or less. Only 13 players on the Chief's current roster have been in the league for five or more years, which includes nine-time Pro Bowl Tight End Tony Gonzales. He has the more receptions (820) and touch down receptions (66) than any other tight ends.

After 12 years in the league he didn't have to see any looks in the Chiefs preseason opener and will likely sit out again on Saturday.

First-year starter Brodie Croyle will likely open the contest with passes to clutch receiver Dwayne Bowe who led all rookies with a franchise-record 70 receptions for 995 yards last season.

Last week things got off to a somewhat rocky start for the Croyle-Bowe combo though. Bowe saw three incomplete passes from Croyle, before the fourth one was good for a 9-yard gain, which was Bowe's first and last completion of the game.

Overall, Croyle was solid in his campaign and has an offensive line that is improving. The Chiefs spent a couple draft picks to do just that. With two first round picks they addressed the defensive side of the ball with Glenn Dorsey and the line with guard Branden Albert. With the first of two sixth-round picks it was guard Barry Richardson who heard his name called by the Chiefs.

Just for Kicks

Punter Dustin Colquitt earned a new contract after punting the ball nearly 100 times in 2007. There is a battle in the mist for a placekicker. Undrafted free agent Connor Barth is up for the challenge, but veterans Billy Cundiff and Nick Novak are also fighting for the job. The Cardinals will likely see a combination of the three.

Click here for the Cardinals gameday primer.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications. Her analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.


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