Five to Watch: Dolphins vs. Chiefs

Yesterday when I was at Arrowhead for the unveiling of the stadium renovations, I peered out the glass and looked over the perfectly manicured field, the white numbers, the hash marks and the empty seats and saw it was indeed time for Chiefs Nation to rise from a long offseason.

Throw in the fact that Trent Green returns tonight in a Dolphins uniform and Larry Johnson is still waiting for the Brinks truck, and it's time for some football, Kansas City-style.

Last week the Chiefs traveled to Cleveland to face a below-average Browns team that would have been no match for KC's starters. The backups actually had the game won before Chris Barclay's 88-yard kickoff return gave the Browns a 16-12 victory.

The Chiefs learned they have some work to do on the offensive line – especially in pass protection. They were far more effective blowing open holes for Michael Bennett. Fortunately, there's still time to establish something on offense.

The big question on the minds of the fans right now is who the starting quarterback is. Right now I still give the edge to Brodie Croyle, over veteran Damon Huard. Neither player established himself as the clear frontrunner against the Browns. The veteran will get the call on Thursday night against the Dolphins.

Meanwhile, Green comes into this game after being booed by Dolphins fans last week. He will be the focal point of the evening, and that's a shame because Green's better days are behind him. The Chiefs best days – at least in the Herm Edwards era – lie ahead.

This game is important to KC's young players and some of the veterans vying for roster spots. This is really the last preseason game that will determine who makes the team. Next week the Chiefs will start implementing game plans for the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears.

The guys who are on the bubble need to make the most of their opportunities. The starters will go into the second quarter, but after that the second and third-stringers will get their chance.

Regardless of who gets on the field or not, the Chiefs need to win this game after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory last week. They're at home, but the Dolphins boast one of the NFL's best defenses. That will be a good test for Huard and Croyle.

If the Chiefs offense – less LJ – can move the ball, that bodes well for the first quarter of the season, when they'll face tough defenses in Chicago and San Diego.

Five to Watch:
1. QB Trent Green - Hopefully the fans greet him with lots of love and appreciation. For six seasons he took every bullet for his teammates and walked around Kansas City with class and pride. I hope he has a good game and gets a few cheers, even if he throws a touchdown. He gave a lot and was one of the classiest people I've ever met in this sport.

2. P Dustin Colquitt - The third-year punter from Tennessee had a monster game last week, punting eight times for a 46.5-yard average and dropping four punts inside the 20. He's a Pro Bowl punter in the making and I think he's a weapon the Chiefs can exploit this year. Tonight rookie burner Ted Ginn, Jr. will field his kicks.

3. DT Tank Tyler - He was far better in Cleveland than expected, especially considering he was up and down in River Falls. He was solid with the starting defense and I thought he penetrated the line of scrimmage well. He has a spirited look to him on the field, and he's already made everyone forget about Ryan Sims.

4. DE Turk McBride - With Jared Allen's suspension getting closer and closer, McBride needs as many reps as possible. He had some solid moments against the Browns, but as good as Allen has been so far, McBride needs to get up to speed. He has to play more with the starters. Allen is already in mid-season form. McBride still has some distance to travel to be ready for the Texans and Bears.

5. RB Kolby Smith - I've been talking up the young running back from Louisville since rookie camp. He has great vision, power and strength and knows how to get to the hole, but he looked sub-par against the Browns. He was tearing it up in two scrimmages against the Vikings before Cleveland, so I'll chalk his disappointing start up to first-game jitters. Top Stories