You have to give it up to Matt Cassel for sucking it up and taking the field Sunday, but he could have made just as much of an impact standing on the sideline in sweats. Cassel's toughness can never be brought into question but his ability to put a team on his back and carry them is certainly debatable.
If you want to see what a true leading quarterback is capable of just take a look at what happened in Houston Sunday. With Peyton Manning under center the Indianapolis Colts were a playoff contender each and every season but without him they were creamed 34-7 by the Texans. Until Cassel can become a leader like Manning the quarterback debate in Kansas City will be ongoing.
2. Allen Bailey
The Chiefs' third- round rookie received significant playing time on Sunday but the story is less about Bailey and more about the man he stole playing time from. Bailey received nearly two-thirds of the defensive snaps with incumbent starter Tyson Jackson spending a lot of time standing by himself on the sidelines.
Unfortunately, the change didn't have much of an effect in terms of disrupting the Bills' offense. Bailey is a young player who will take time to develop and receiving playing time early will help advance his progression. Although it's just Week 1, it might be time to start closing the book on Tyson Jackson in Kansas City.
3. Steve Breaston
You might as well put a red and white striped cap and sweater on the Chiefs' top free agent signing, because he's been almost impossible to spot through three preseason games and now one regular season game. The disappearing act comes as a great surprise considering the absence of rookie Jonathan Baldwin from the lineup.
The Chiefs' offense was desperate for a playmaker Sunday and Breaston missed an opportunity to shine. Offensive coordinator Bill Muir thought so little of Breaston that he opted to target tight end Leonard Pope nearly five times more. With Breaston's ineffectiveness and Baldwin's cracked thumb, the Chiefs seem to have made no ground in improving their offense.
4. Derrick Johnson
After apparently fulfilling his potential last season, Johnson again turned into the invisible man on Sunday. In Johnson's defense, KC' s entire defense looked like they were still in training camp mode but as a veteran leader, he needs to step up when the chips are down.
Is it too early to jump off Johnson's train? Yes, but this defense is desperate for leadership and in the three seasons since the rebuilding project began they are still looking for that player. If Johnson regresses, the Chiefs are in worse shape than they appeared to be in Sunday.
5. Ryan Succop/Dustin Colquitt
In recent game day flops, Chiefs fans could at least hang their hat on solid special teams play. Just two season's ago, Colquitt was team MVP and Succop was Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, against the Bills, even these two reliable players brought their "D" game.
Colquitt has been nearly flawless in his first six NFL seasons but has begun to show signs of weakening and was even spotted catching an earful from his head coach, Todd Haley. Succop has an even shorter leash than Colquitt. After a forgettable preseason, Succop again has yet to prove reliable from over 40 yards, which means he's replaceable by NFL standards.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
It wasn't easy picking five players that stood out on Sunday but we did. What do you think of our choices?
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