Five to Watch: Chiefs vs. Rams

Finally, the long-awaited end of the preseason is upon us. The last of four grueling games for the Kansas City Chiefs will be over this evening as they take their show on the road to play the Governor's Cup in St. Louis, facing their cross-state rivals.

The final preseason game serves only a few players. As head coach Herm Edwards cut his roster down to 75 on Tuesday, there is little doubt he has a solid idea as to which guys will make his football team.

He told me that when he breaks down the final 53-man roster, he tries to leave room for potential veterans who might be cut from other teams. In his mind, he puts together more of a 50-man roster.

With the Chiefs adding veteran kick returner Eddie Drummond this week, it appears that this roster will hardly be set on Saturday. Still, this game does have meaning because more than likely one or two guys will play themselves onto or off the roster. It happens every year to every team as we approach the start of the regular season.

As you watch the game tonight, don't pay too much attention to final score, and don't take anything from the fact the starters will only play a series or two. But take a moment to watch some of the players who have tried hard to secure jobs who probably won't make this roster.

On Friday and Saturday 22 players will be cut. A modest few might make another 53-man roster, and some will likely join the Chiefs practice squad. But otherwise, this will be the last hurrah for some who may never get another chance.

Edwards has prided himself in giving these players a forum to show what skills they possess. Not many coaches or teams are willing to punt wins in the preseason to truly evaluate talent. Edwards believes that's the only way to do it.

Tonight he'll reward some of these players with an invitation to the 53-man roster. He'll tell the rest to keep working hard and to never give up the dream.

Five To Watch:

1. QB Brodie Croyle - Since learning this week that he would not be the opening day starter, Croyle has had to deal with quite a bit. He was overly hard on himself after the Saints loss. Tonight he gets a shot at redemption. Croyle is still the future, and that could be any second from now. He needs some success tonight for his own confidence. He'll see action this year at some point and he needs his last series to be a good one.

2. TE Michael Allan - Being a seventh-round pick doesn't always secure you a roster spot. Allan has an upside that KC's coaching staff is high on, and with some success in the preseason, it's very unlikely the Chiefs can hide him on the practice squad. He already has hands beyond his youth and inexperience at the NFL level, but he doesn't yet have the physical tools to block in this offense. With that said he's ahead of Keith Willis, but behind Tony Gonzalez and Jason Dunn. He's worth stashing on the final roster. If he has more success tonight he can probably extend the lease on his apartment for another six months to a year.

3. KR Eddie Drummond - Of all the free agent acquisitions the Chiefs have made this year, the last one might end up being one of the most productive. Drummond is old school. He returns punts and kicks, handles gunner duties and loves to play every special teams snap his coaches allow. He brings a power return game the Chiefs have not had since Tamarick Vanover. Drummond has speed, but he's wise when he uses it. One thing everyone will notice is that he'll wait on the wedge to form before he explodes through the crease. Tonight is his audition, and he needs to make the most of it.

4. C/OG Rudy Niswanger - The second-year lineman from LSU has been practicing at center since he came to the Chiefs a year ago as an undrafted free agent, but during the last week he filled in for the injured John Welbourn at guard and played well. That doesn't equate to success in an NFL game, but he'll get more than his fair share of time at both guard and center tonight. His development has given the Chiefs hope that he and Tre Stallings can be adequate backups in the event Welbourn or Brian Waters suffer injury.

5. K Justin Medlock - This is a big game for the UCLA kicker. He needs a boost to his confidence, which is shaken. There's only one thing to overcome if he's going to be a solid performer this year: he must trust his holder, Dustin Colquitt, and his deep snapper, JP Darche. Until that happens, he may continue to struggle. He has to also trust his leg, which is strong enough to be deadly accurate inside the 40-yard line and strong enough to kick the ball into the end zone on kickoffs. Right now he's the man, because if the Chiefs bring in another kicker he'll probably be right-footed and that poses a whole new problem for Colquitt and Darche.

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