After a pair of letdowns to start the exhibition season, the questions that have plagued this team the last two years are starting to rear their ugly heads once again. The first team defense played a vanilla game and they rarely made any plays. They allowed the Giants to sustain a pair of long drives and looked slow to the ball. That's not the design of the Tampa Two.
The Chiefs gave up too much space in the middle of the field. Linebacker Derrick Johnson struggled against the run and was ineffective in pass coverage. That's not a good sign for this defense.
But more alarming was the ineffective play of interior defensive lineman James Reed and Ron Edwards. The Giants center and guards routinely manhandled them. This defense can't be effective unless there is a push up the middle. Ryan Sims and Lional Dalton, who should be playing with the first unit, did a decent job with the second-team defense.
Edwards should line up the second-teamers on the front seven and start them against the Rams next Saturday night in Kansas City. Outside of Patrick Surtain and Ty Law, I would bench the rest of the starters.
I was impressed with the play of rookie safeties Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard. They are making a strong push to unseat Greg Wesley and Sammy Knight as the starters. In the Tampa Two, the safeties need to be fast and cover a lot of ground.
The Chiefs defense is just not showing much aggression, and that has to bother the head coach. It certainly doesn't bode well for the psyche of this team. With the offense still trying to find a rhythm, the defense has to come out of the gates full speed ahead. After two road exhibition games, this defense needs to find its mojo against the Rams.
53-Man Roster Update
Five That Made the Team
1. DE Jimmy Wilkerson - He had one of his best games in a Chiefs uniform. Of all the defensive linemen on the field on Thursday night, he was clearly the best of the bunch. He put pressure on the quarterback and did a solid job against the run. If he can keep this up, he'll be a solid backup to Jared Allen this year.
2. S Jarrad Page - This young man from UCLA took a step forward on Thursday night. He was all over the field. He played zone, he played man-to-man coverage and he blitzed on occasion. As I mentioned before, if he continues to make plays, he'll push Greg Wesley for his starting spot, and maybe even his roster spot.
3. P Dustin Colquitt - I hate to repeat myself from last week, but he was the star of the game. His punts were high and deep. He is far more polished this season thus far and if the punt coverage teams don't over pursue, Colquitt will be pinning teams deep into their territory numerous times in 2006.
4. QB Casey Printers - He was plain awful last Saturday night in Houston but he kept his cool against the Giants. Though his statistics were anything but stellar, he clearly learned from his mistakes a week ago. This time he didn't force anything. He stepped into his throws and ran away from the pressure after looking to pass. He took a big step forward.
T Kyle Turley - Who needs Willie Roaf? The Chiefs do, but at least they have a veteran to fill his shoes. Turley held up well against the Giants pass rush. Like Houston did a week ago, the Giants blitzed and Turley did his job protecting Trent Green's blindside.
Five That Didn't Make the Team
1. LB Kris Griffin - After being the star of training camp a year ago, it appears that Griffin has either lost a step or his body is worn out from playing in NFL Europe. It's going to be very tough for him to make the roster this season.
2. RB McKenzie Smith - I'm not sure why the Chiefs keep putting him in the lineup. I'm not a fan of any of the backup running backs except Derrick Ross, who the Chiefs are holding out of games in the hope that they can sneak him on the practice squad. But Smith and Dee Brown have done little to convince me they can step in for Larry Johnson. Michael Bennett might play next weekend in Kansas City, and if he can show anything the final two games, Smith, Brown and possibly Quentin Griffin will be cut.
3. WR Darrell Hill - All I needed to see was his lackluster effort attempting down the ball inside the Giants five-yard line. That kind of play will get you cut.
4. DT Ryan Sims - Though he played better this week, it might not be enough to make this team. Maybe he just doesn't have the talent. I know he has the heart, but as Ty Law said, it's not just about the heart. Talent plays a factor.
5. QB Damon Huard - He only played a couple of series, but his throws were hurried and his lack of mobility were a detriment to this team. He's missed some time recently but he might not be the answer to backup Trent Green.
Monday Morning Quarterback: Friday Edition
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