Progress Comes Slowly for Chiefs

On Thursday night the Kansas City Chiefs learned a few things about themselves. They more than likely found a starting quarterback, and the defense once again showed glimpses of dominance. It wasn't a pretty game, but in the end the Dolphins put one more point on the board than the home team.

The Good:

1. LB Keyaron Fox - He really seems to be coming into his own, as he was over the field tonight with the second group of linebackers. He recovered a fumble and made a terrific open field tackle, preventing a first down. Along with William Kershaw he gives the Chiefs a lot of options down the depth chart. Those two players can spell Donnie Edwards, Napoleon Harris and Derrick Johnson without much of a drop off in play.

2. DE Jimmy Wilkerson - The big question mark for this defense during Jared Allen's two-game suspension will be who can step up and put pressure on the quarterback. Tamba Hali can hold his own, but Turk McBride is still learning on the fly. That makes Wilkerson's two-sack performance against the Dolphins a ray of hope that might reduce the sting of Allen's suspension. Wilkerson didn't have a good game against the Browns, but he made up for it against a soft Dolphins offensive line. It was good to see someone else get to the quarterback.

3. WR Chris Hannon - He is quickly becoming a go-to player. With Dwayne Bowe still not ready for real primetime duty, the extra reps have benefited Hannon the most. The Chiefs were extremely high on him a year ago and I have to credit wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner for bringing him along to the point where he can be counted on to make plays in the regular season. Right now Hannon is the second-best receiver on this team in my opinion. The coaching staff might not feel that way, but he's certainly playing like it.

4. TE Michael Allan - Another young player who is climbing up the depth chart. He struggled during rookie camp and mini-camp with the speed of the game and injuries, but for the second straight game, he had a mini coming-out party. He was Brodie Croyle's favorite target in KC's only touchdown drive. With the uncertainty of Jason Dunn's return, and Keith Willis failing to separate himself from the pack, Allen has enough talent to spell Tony Gonzalez from time to time. He could get even more action if Kris Wilson ends up logging significant time at fullback.

The Not-So-Good

1. K Justin Medlock - The young kicker from UCLA missed a pair of field goals, much to the chagrin of his head coach, who anointed him the starter moments after he was drafted last April. The good news is that it's not his leg, but instead the way he attacks the ball. In his first miss, he didn't really follow through and the kick slid outside the goal post. The second one hit the goal post because he didn't drive his leg through the ball. On the third attempt, he was much quicker to the ball and it sailed right through the uprights.

2. QB Brodie Croyle - I realize he's the first Chiefs quarterback this year to actually throw a touchdown, but the issue at hand is the interception. After looking at the replay, I can't say for sure that his intended target - tight end Kris Wilson –took the proper angle to the ball. But Croyle threw the ball off his back foot and lobbed it to the inside, instead of the outside, away the defender. This is a learning process and I still say he's the starter come opening day at Houston, but he can't afford to turn the ball over in this offense – especially in the end zone.

3. RB Derrick Ross - You can't fumble the ball in the fourth quarter when you're driving for a potential game-winning field goal. He's had a case of the drops since he came back from NFL Europa. In River Falls, Edwards was all over him about putting the ball on the ground. He's always had an issue with securing the ball high in his chest. Insteadn he drops his arm and the ball is against his stomach. The other issue is his grip especially toward the end of the play. It's like he almost quits on the play. That fumble probably cost him a roster spot.

4. QB Damon Huard - Another poor performance, and one has to wonder if he's recovered from the calf injury he suffered before the start of training camp. His offensive line didn't do him any favors, either. His lack of mobility - or comfort-ability - behind this line does not bode well for his chances to unseat Croyle as the starter.

5. Chiefs Defense - In the first quarter, most of the defensive starters had a hard time tackling Miami running back Ronnie Brown. The former Auburn stud never stopped churning his legs, and KC's defenders didn't really finish him off until he'd broken several tackles at and beyond the line of scrimmage. Herm Edwards addressed it after the game, and said the defense did a much better job of tackling until the final five minutes of the game, when the fourth and fifth-stringers were getting their last taste of life in the NFL – at least in Kansas City.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories