Even from our perch on top of the press box, Gaither was a man among boys. At 6'7" it's not hard to miss him. But against the St. Louis Rams defensive ends, Gaither never let them touch Chiefs quarterback, Ricky Stanzi. Outside of a single offensive holding penalty, he was as dominating on the field as any of the Chiefs offensive lineman the entire evening.
2. Matt Cassel - Its hard to believe that after leading the league in rushing offense in 2010 that the Chiefs offensive line might be the teams biggest weakness to date. The Chiefs emphasized quarterback elusiveness during training camp and we saw exactly why Friday night. Because Cassel was running for his life.
The palates ball drills the Chiefs ran during training camp with the quarterbacks ran in training camp appear to be paying dividends. Cassel was as elusive as he's been since arriving in Kansas City and that is a direct result of the teams new quarterbacks coach, Jim Zorn. He did the same thing with has said that he worked with Baltimore starting QB Joe Flaco during his time with the Ravens rolling out of the pocket and creating plays on the fly which is what we saw from Cassel against the Rams.
There is no question that the Chiefs offense would like to keep Cassel firmly in the pocket but it was good to see Cassel that he could keep plays alive in the face of a heavy pass rush.
3. & 4. Quarterback Depth Palko vs. Stanzi -Tyler Palko entered the contest with a little over five minutes in the second quarter. He was pressed into service when Cassel left the previous serious limping off to the sidelines. Although a bit premature, Haley wants to find Cassel's understudy. And it would have beneficial for Cassel get in sync with his wide receivers, which we have yet to see, but having him healthy against the Bills is more vital.
So it was important that the back-ups get some reps in the event either one of them has to replace Cassel for more than a series in 2011.
It's hard to evaluate the quarterbacks because on this night, Ricky Stanzi had a better cast around him than Palko. But Stanzi gets the nod. He just has the ‘it' factor you want in a starting quarterback. He made some strong throws that even a few NFL veterans might not make on their best day.
Palko had a chance to shine late in the fourth quarter but after getting the Chiefs five yards form the goal line, he failed to gain another yard and the Chiefs were forced to settle for a field goal attempt, that was blocked.
A week from now the Chiefs will travel to Green Bay to face the Packers and it's highly unlikely that Cassel will get much playing time. So this game could be critical for Stanzi or Palko to stave off the Chiefs efforts to bring in a veteran quarterback.
But based on the preseason to date, the Chiefs might already have that man in Stanzi.
5. C/G Rodney Hudson - Talk about versatile. The rookie from Florida State began the game at guard in place of Ryan Lilja. He also spent some time at center backing up Casey Wiegmann.
Though I'm fully on board with Hudson getting the nod at center, the Chiefs don't have much depth at guard. With Brian Waters early exit from training camp and Jon Asamoah firmly entrenched as his replacement, this team needs as much out of Hudson as they can get this season.
He was flagged for a holding call in the first half but I continue to be amazed at his comprehension of the Chiefs offense and his ability to play two positions for Kansas City.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
It appears that QB Ricky Stanzi took a leg up on the back-up job in KC.
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