With the Chiefs strong secondary, I would expect this defense is going to takeaway the ball more this year than a season ago. But that will all depend on players like Tyson Jackson and Andy Studebaker carrying their weight on the weak-side but its still too early to make any conclusions on that front. Considering the Chiefs poor run defense a year ago, Thursday nights development was promising.
2. Brandon Flowers: It was good to see Cornerback Brandon Flowers return to form Thursday night. Flowers was extremely productive and looks to be playing at an All World level at just the right time. Despite his dominance, the Packers continued to test Flowers although they began to learn their lesson as the game turned late.
Flowers has been used sparingly during the offseason but was in the game late into the fourth quarter along with fellow Corner Brandon Carr. The good news is that Flowers finished the game injury free and in prime condition for the start of the regular season. If Flowers continues to play like he did Thursday night he could be considered a true shutdown corner by seasons end.
3. Javier Arenas: Although Arenas still has some distance to make up as a starting corner in this league his development has been steady and consistent. But what will make Arenas truly valuable to the Chiefs in 2011 will be his contributions on special teams which he showcased Thursday night.
With the new kickoff rules it is not likely we will see a lot of dynamic kick returns but Arenas put on the best showing we have seen from this Chiefs special teams this preseason. But Arenas will ultimately make his biggest impact for the KC with his ability to rush the passer which is something we still have yet to see. Hopefully the Chiefs unleash him on Buffalo.
4. Amon Gordon: I seem to be the only person in the media that is taking notice of this journeyman defensive tackle. Thursday night Gordon once again stood out and his efforts might have secured him a roster spot.
What this means for Anthony Toribio will be a big question over the next week. After being a spectator for more than a week, Toribio has missed several opportunities to secure his roster spot. Toribio could possibly be a candidate for either the Injured Reserve list or the Physically Unable to Perform list depending on the severity of his injuries. Either way I expect Gordon to make this 53-man roster which will likely lead to a surprise cut on Tuesday.
5. Jovan Belcher: The Chiefs starting inside linebacker needed to have a great game Thursday night. Not that his roster spot was or even his starting job was in jeopardy but Belcher needed to prove to many that he was indeed the right man for the job. The Chiefs brought in Brandon Siller in free agency and was in a heated battle with Belcher for the starting job. After Siller went down with a torn achilles injury last week, the Belcher's job was secure.
But the jury is still out on a once undrafted player and many questioned whether an improvement needed to be made. Belcher could have rested on his laurels knowing his starting job was a lock but Belcher responded with one of his best games as a Chief. If he can carry that momentum into next Sunday's season opener, the talk will quickly turn from questions to praise.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Did the Chiefs defense redeem themselves Thursday night?
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