If the Kansas City Chiefs are going to be ready for the regular season, they better show some fire. Head Coach, Andy Reid, can’t be happy with his teams’ effort on Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers.
He either played it soft or safe. For me though, whatever the game plan was heading into the contest, his football team was lackluster on both sides of the ball. I know it’s just the second pre-season game but the way the Panthers played Sunday night, you’d have thought it was a regular season contest.
Initially the Chiefs defense made some nice stops against Panthers Quarterback, Cam Newton and company, that set up their offense. But for the second week in a row, KC’s offensive flow showed very little signs of life from the starters. In fact, most of the positives came from Wide Receiver, Dwayne Bowe.
After the NFL passed down a one-game suspension on the Chiefs top wide receiver, many within the legion of fans wanted the organization to dump Bowe. Well for those that felt that way before watching this game, they need to stop the banter because Bowe is the Chiefs only legitimate threat at the receiver position.
Granted Tight End, Travis Kelce, did manage to score his second touchdown of the pre-season, this offense needs more than his abilities to show up on offense. Of course, I can’t discount the fact Running Back, Jamaal Charles, stayed in Kansas City nursing a sore foot but nobody picked up the slack offensively.
Quarterback, Alex Smith, played better but the range of improvement was only slight from last weeks performance versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Still he did manage some nice throws but like last week, the offensive line struggled to give Smith a clean pocket to throw the ball.
On the defensive side, the secondary continues to be slow to the ball and the pass rush was off target when it needed to make a big statement. But most troubling for me defensively, was the Chiefs struggles in making basic tackles.
Perhaps I’m reading more into this game than I need to a this stage of the Summer but the Chiefs just don’t seem that interested in playing these exhibition games. At some point, they have to deliver a knockout punch in the pre-season.
Throughout training camp the players talked about finishing plays in games but on Sunday night against the Panthers, they didn’t do much of it.
So what can we really take away from this game? Probably not much but it’ll be interesting to see how this team plays on Saturday at home against the Minnesota Vikings. Let’s just hope they bring more emotion into that game.
QB Aaron Murray - I thought it was telling that Murray replaced back-up Chase Daniel after one series in the third quarter. Daniel whiffed badly on an easy touchdown throw to running back, Cyrus Gray, deep in the red zone. I’m not sure, Andy Reid, planned to give Murray the remainder of the half heading into the game but that singular play is the reason I don’t think Daniel can play quarterback at this level. For Murray, even though he gave up a pick-six, the 43-yard touchdown strike he delivered to Tight End, Travis Kelce, before that errant throw was a thing of beauty.
WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. - You can make a strong case the Chiefs will put this young receiver on the 53-man roster. His nifty slant and run for fifty plus yards was something this offense needs badly. Granted that play was negated by a holding penalty, that matters very little to the coaches evaluating his potential. In my mind, he surpassed A.J. Jenkins on the depth chart.
DC Bob Sutton - If I’m the head coach, I’m having a one-on-one chat with my defensive coordinator. His secondary had a woeful game against all three of the Panthers quarterbacks and his defensive line was non-existent in goal line stances. In my mind, Sutton has the biggest bulls eye on his back. His failures at seasons end a year ago to make adjustments can’t extend into the upcoming regular season. In order for this defense to shake off last year’s meltdown, he needs to up his coaching game.
LB Justin Houston - I didn’t care much for his effort on Sunday. He was slow to the ball and he didn’t go full speed when he had an opportunity to get to Cam Newton in the first half. I’m not sure if his contract stalemate is a factor but the Chiefs must have Houston going all out in passing situations. If not, what’s the point in giving him a new deal.
G Jeff Allen - For the second game in a row, the former Illinois standout cost his offense the opportunity for some continuity. His footwork and body movement weren’t very good against the Panthers defensive front. I’m not sure what the problem is with his game right now because I always felt he was a sure fire NFL starter. But they can’t wait for Allen to turn on the light. The Chiefs have kicked the tires on trading for San Francisco 49ers Guard, Alex Boone. If that’s the case, they better drive up to the front door and make that deal post haste.
Photos: Justin Houston (Jeremy Brevard USA Today Sports) & Travis Kelce (Sam Sharpe USA Today Sports)
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Your thoughts on the Chiefs effort against the Panthers?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com