After Friday night's preseason game, I did the only thing I felt I could do. I came back to hotel room here in River Falls, Wisconsin, and went to bed. With hundreds of thoughts running through my mind about the Kansas City Chiefs' trip over the Minnesota-Wisconsin border to face the Vikings, I needed to sleep, and to wake up with a fresh perspective. Then I thought about it some more and tried to reflect on the players who really stood out.
The trouble was, I was disappointed, like most fans were in the performance of the defense, not because they were terrible, but after months of watching these guys work out, I expected an absolute domination of the Vikings. I felt the Chiefs were going to absolutely destroy the boys in purple. That was an unreasonable expectation.
The Chiefs defense did exactly what you'd expect in their first live game, with vanilla schemes, and with new players and guys in different positions all over the field. They were okay. The Minnesota Vikings were a tough draw for the first game of the year. Even if the Chiefs faced these guys in November, it still would have been a tough game. The defense is going to need time to gel.
Now is the time to be patient not to panic Chiefs fans.
Trust me; the best is yet to come.
Here are some observations from Friday night's game:
The player of the game was punter Dustin Colquitt. He punted well, even thought the coverage team didn't play as well. Colquitt's numbers don't tell the whole story. His knuckleball punts caused a fumble, even though it was recovered by the Vikings punt returner, Keenan Howry. On one punt, although it wasn't a very good one, it forced Howry to take a few steps back. If the coverage team had sealed off better, the returner could have been stopped for a loss. It's only the first game, but it looks like Colquitt is going to have an impact this season. Colquitt also did a good job holding for kicker Lawrence Tynes, even though it was his first game as a holder.
The defense played well in spurts and had some breakdowns in coverage that made the entire unit look they had a bad evening. Yes, the Vikings had what seemed like no trouble moving the ball at times, there were still some things that were done very well. The interior lineman did an excellent of getting up-field. Defensive tackles Lional Dalton, Ryan Sims and Junior Siavii all did a good job of penetrating the middle of the Vikings offense. It appeared that the ends were getting sealed off very well, allowing the Vikings' running backs to cut back and get to the second level. Defensive end Eric Hicks did get some nice pressure on Culpepper a couple of times.
The secondary had some spotty play. Of course the standout was cornerback Benny Sapp, who blitzed and covered like a madman. On the touchdown by Vikings receiver Nate Burleson, there appeared to be some miscommunication with the safeties. It was embarrassing, to be sure, but nothing that can't be corrected with some film time. But much-maligned cornerback now safety William Bartee looked very solid on Friday night as he intercepted his first pass of the preseason.
Wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe had a couple of key grabs in the two minute offense at the end of the first half. The young receiver out of Florida State looks like a real talent.
Offensive tackle Kevin Sampson held up well against the Vikings ends. However with his foot injury that will lead to a couple of weeks on the sidelines his baptism in the NFL didn't have a happy ending.
I would not be surprised if the Chiefs brought another kicker into camp. Lawrence Tynes appears to be good for a miss a game or practice session, thus far. He's got to kick better. Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil indicated that he's still up in the air about adding another kicker at this time.
Chiefs Had Some Positives Out of Friday's Loss
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