But that wasn't the case. And that might be the most significant moment thus far in the month of August for the Chiefs. Though the Chiefs offense struggled until back-up Tyler Palko replaced starter Matt Cassel, there were a few encouraging signs.
It appears that Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe are already on the same page as a year ago. The two hooked up on a couple of nice completions. And with Baldwin unlikely to play in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Bowe is going to have to carry the receiving load until the teams top draft pick can get back on the field.
Because right now the rest of the receivers didn't offer much to help Cassel. Tight Tony Moeaki was ineffective and so was veteran wide receiver Jerhme Urban. It wasn't until late in the second half that Terrance Copper and Verran Tucker came into the game that the offense was able to spread the field with some productivity. But it's doubtful both will make the final roster. There just might not be room.
Remember if the Chiefs place Baldwin on injured reserve when they trim the roster to 53 players, he won't be eligible to play again this season until game seven.
But then again if the Chiefs don't get a better effort from their starting offensive lineman, it won't matter who plays wide receiver. Right tackle Barry Richardson had some protection break downs and center Casey Wiegmann didn't look good trying to run block down the field. He was also beaten badly up the middle by the Ravens stout interior pass rush on more than one occasion. And that directly led to an ineffective night for Cassel.
And if left tackle Brandon Albert isn't ok after getting his bell rung in the second quarter, this team is going to have to rely on its new free agent acquisition, Jared Gaither to grab one of the tackle jobs come opening day.
Because to this point in the preseason, the Chiefs really haven't done much in the rushing game. However, back-up running back Dexter McCluster did a solid job late in the second half catching and running the ball. So that transition from receiver to runner, might pay pretty big dividends for the Chiefs this season.
On defense, you have to be impressed with the starters. They were on a mission Friday night and they showed a determination that had been missing a week earlier. Sure there were a few breakdowns and the starters didn't record any sacks but they looked ten times better than they did a week ago against the Buccaneers.
And when the defense can shore up some of their assignments on pass coverages, their blitz packages will be more effective, which will lead to more sacks.
But what has me excited about this defense was the play of veteran nose tackle Kelly Gregg and rookie Jerrell Powe. Both were outstanding holding their own against the Ravens offensive line. And even better, they made plays behind the line of scrimmage that we haven't seen from players at that position in quite some time in Kansas City.
So what was a major weakness a season ago for the Chiefs, might not be one in 2011. In fact, for the most part the entire defensive line, Tyson Jackson included, played a solid game. Sure they were bitten a few times by the bootleg of Ravens Quarterback, Joe Flacco. But that's to be expected this time of the year.
However, when you factor in the Chiefs defense held the Ravens high powered offense to just 10 points with Flacco playing into the third quarter, the defensive unit deserves high marks for a solid effort.
So even though the day started out poorly for the Chiefs, they ended it on a high note despite the final score. For three quarters with the back-ups in tow, the Chiefs held their own on the road.
Thus with a home game against in-state NFL rival, St. Louis set for Kansas City next weekend, the Chiefs still have some work to do. And the good news is that they made enough progress against the Ravens that should give them confidence as they prepare for the regular season.
Even though they gave up 21 fourth quarter points with primarily players who won't be on the final roster, this was a better night for the Chiefs than a week ago.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
What did you think of the Chiefs effort on Friday night?
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