Five To Watch - Chiefs vs Browns

It's been said a 100 times by virtually every coach in the NFL when it comes to playing exhibition games. The goal isn't to win, but to get out of each preseason contest without serious injury. For the Kansas City Chiefs, and in particular their leader Herm Edwards, winning while avoiding injuries are both important.

As training camp started two of my three sons were playing in State Championship tournaments. Both won.

In preparation for this season my youngest boy had a coach who instilled in them fundamentals and teamwork, but he stressed having fun and working hard. Very early on in the season he wouldn't accept losing.

Tonight in Cleveland, Edwards might deliver a similar message. Tonight is an important step in the maturation of this team.

The games don't count in the standings, but they can build character, confidence and unity. In my five years covering the Chiefs, I've not seen this kind of camaraderie in any other year.

With numerous young players at the helm of important positions on offense and defense, it would be advantageous for this team to get off to a solid start. As Edwards pointed out this week, he's going to play quite a few backups and wants to see what they can do when they get their opportunity.

One of those players is young quarterback Brodie Croyle who, outside of a couple of practices, has been lights out thus far in training camp.

One of the reasons, the Chiefs drafted him was because of his coolness under pressure, but tonight there is no doubt he'll have some jitters. On the other hand, he's going up against a Browns defense that wasn't good a year ago – even if the Chiefs did lose to them.

And that's the other message Edwards will deliver tonight. If the Chiefs want to be a playoff team, they'll have to learn to win on the road.

Losing is a learned behavior. Over the last seven seasons this team has not played well on the road in the regular or preseason. It's important that they change that trend.

FIVE TO WATCH:

1. FB Boomer GrigsbyWith Kris Wilson excused from the game tonight, Grigsby gets the starting nod tonight. He's come the farthest of any player in camp thus far, and with each practice he absorbs more and more. He's been working for this game all offseason and it'll be interesting to see how he reacts when the bullets are live.

2. DT Tank Tyler – He's had a so-so camp to be honest, but where he's had problems is lining up along the line and moving forward with his feet all the time. In one-on-one drills versus the Vikings – especially in Mankato – he displaced the feet of every offensive lineman in his path. He needs to trust the guys around him and concentrate on getting up the field.

3. CB Tyron Brackenridge He's been spectacular in practice thus far as he's come from un-drafted free agent to starting nickel back. His instincts are perfectly suited for the Cover 2 defense. He has a knack for the ball and isn't in awe of how far he's come in the last year. The Chiefs need a third corner to step up and it might be Brackenridge.

4. WR Chris Hannon He's the second-best receiver on the practice field right now. I was talking with someone in the organization about Hannon in River Falls and he told me some of the plays he's made in camp were completely absent from the offense a year ago. In other words, he makes this offense so much better with his ability to stretch the field. Not that this team is going to go for the homeruns, but Hannon gives them an element of speed and size.

5. RT/LT Kyle Turley and Will Svitek - I'm sneaking two guys into this one. Turley is in my opinion the best right tackle option for the Chiefs this season. Will Svitek is going to get a baptism under fire education the next four or five weeks until Damion McIntosh gets back on the field. Turley should beat out Chris Terry, who just looks like he's not comfortable. Svitek needs to have a good showing because he was unimpressive during Wednesday's night practice.

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