After the Kansas City Chiefs fourth string defense gave up eight points in the final seconds against the Seattle Seahawks last Saturday, the team goes on the road to face the Los Angeles Rams tonight. In the preseason, there is no such thing as a must win, but the Chiefs, if they are going to win the AFC West in 2016, need to show they can win consistently on the road.
In facing their former cross state rivals now residing in California, there are certainly a few Chiefs that need to step up to defeat the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum – especially on the offensive side of the ball.
QB Nick Foles – The former St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams Quarterback will certainly see plenty of action this evening facing his former team. Foles was dumped by the Rams and quickly swooped up by the Chiefs nearly two weeks ago. The move was a good one for both teams but now Foles gets to administer some pay back against the Rams. It’s critical for insurance purposes, that Foles finds success as the back-up to Quarterback, Alex Smith. Foles is a proven NFL starter and winner. A good showing tonight would rest any fears that is not the case.
WR Chris Conley – He’s emerged as the best #2 receiving option behind veteran, Jeremy Maclin. If the Chiefs offense is going to go beyond the talents of Maclin, Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce, another wide receiver must emerge from the shadows. Conley has had the best camp of any receiver next to Tyreek Hill. The fact both seem to be assimilating the Reid playbook is a sign this football team was wise to draft them in successive years. To me, Conley has the tools to become a solid NFL receiver but a good showing tonight certainly will boost his confidence.
LB Ramik Wilson – With the injury to starting inside linebacker, Josh Muaga, the second year linebacker from Georgia has filled in admirably. Though I’ll never be a fan of Muaga, he has become a solid place holder for the Chiefs at inside linebacker. Muaga has a ceiling but Wilson has the tools to become more than a temporary starter for Kansas City. Though he’ll never match the talents of his running mate, Derrick Johnson, the young defender understands his role on defense. All Wilson needs now is experience and in the preseason he’ll get plenty of action to prove he has starting material.
LB Dee Ford – With the emergence of Dadi Nicolas as a legitimate pass rusher for KC’s defense, Dee Ford’s roster spot is anything but secure. Against the Seattle Seahawks, Ford did nothing while Nicolas was brilliant. In speaking to the media this week, you could hear it in Ford’s voice that he knows he’s in trouble. As a former first round draft pick, the Chiefs will probably keep him roster tied in Kansas City this season but it’s becoming clear he doesn’t have the stuff to be a productive NFL player. However, I don’t understand why the young man doesn’t play with more urgency. Until he can master that aspect of his game, the jury remains cold on his NFL future.
T Jah Reid – As a back-up tackle for the Chiefs, Jah Reid can play both guard and tackle. In fact, if I were the head coach, Reid would be the starter at right guard replacing the average talents of Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff. Though LDT remains the starter today, KC’s offensive line has the ability to become special with the insertion of Reid into the starting unit. For now, he remains the back up at tackle, but if he continues to grade higher, Reid must consider making the switch as the final piece of his offensive line.