You would think after two straight losses the Kansas City Chiefs would be down on themselves. In most cases, that seems fair. However, this week the energy level within the locker room and the confidence oozing from the coaching staff, makes you wonder if this team is poised for a sharp turn around.
Perhaps some of that might have to do with the fact, Jamaal Charles, miraculously returned to practice on Wednesday and participated in many of the drills this week in preparation for the Miami Dolphins.
At the onset of the ankle injury, we were told was a severe high ankle sprain. In fact, it would appear it might not have been as bad as initially reported. Or perhaps it was but Superman Charles just wants to get on the field to help his team get its first win of the 2014 season.
Regardless, of the severity of the injury, it spoke volumes to the rest of his teammates. So who has to step up this week to push the Chiefs past the Dolphins?
1. QB Alex Smith - I had conversation with a very well respected member of the media, who happens to be a diehard Denver Broncos fan earlier in the week, his take on KC’s quarterback actually surprised me a bit. He told me after watching the game last weekend; he felt Smith was one of the games elite NFL quarterbacks.
I’m not ready to go there just yet, but I will say, he’s far better than he gets credit for to this point of his career. The fact he’s had to play in front of a patchwork offensive line, that played their tales off last weekend against Denver, should give Chiefs fans hope that Smith can find great success in Kansas City.
Nobody has to tell Smith the buck stops with him in driving the Chiefs offensively. With or without Charles, Smith has the ability to rise to the occasion in games of extreme importance. This Sunday afternoon against the Dolphins, he has to play a near flawless game to get his team in the win column.
2. WR Dwayne Bowe - I was impressed with his performance a week ago in Denver. In fact, he made some tough catches. After serving his one-game suspension, he found his sea legs and that should help him Sunday as he faces an average Dolphins secondary.
The debate about Bowe’s status as a top-flight receiver will never be settled until he climbs into that role within the Chiefs offense. The fact he came up big against Denver should give him the confidence to take what the Dolphins give he and his quarterback in this game. In fact, I anticipate this could be a coming out party for Bowe.
3. LT Eric Fisher - If there is one player that has surpassed my expectations after two games, it’s the Chiefs former first round pick from a year ago. Fisher played the best game of his short career against the Broncos and that should make all Chiefs fans happy.
It’s far too early to deem the pick a success, or feel good he can become an elite left tackle, but he’s off to a better start than I had thought he’d make in 2014. That said, Fisher will have a tough task this weekend against a formidable Dolphins defensive line. However, if he stays within himself, and his technique remains sound, he should afford his quarterback enough time to make his throws.
4. LB Justin Houston - This might be the last time I put him in one of my pre-game articles. I don’t understand how a man that wants get paid so handsomely, has done nothing on the field to warrant such a big contract.
Houston hasn’t played well from the first pre-season game thru two games of the regular season. I don’t know if the contract situation is affecting his performance but it’s a safe bet to assume that it is at this stage of the season.
Riches await this young man no matter if he remains a Chief or plays for another NFL team in 2015. But one thing is certain; he won’t get that coin until he starts sacking opposing quarterbacks. Until then, he’ll continue to be a solid role player that ultimately will reduce his chances of becoming a dominating defensive force that won’t ever get the coin he believes he’s worth.
Photos: Alex Smith (Chris Humphreys USA Today Sports) & Eric Fisher (Ron Chenoy USA Today Sports)
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Will the Chiefs win on Sunday against the Dolphins?
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