Ugly Preseason Raises Questions

The last exhibition game means little to any NFL team – even one that was sitting at 0-3 like the Chiefs were before Thursday's 10-3 loss to the Rams. I admit, I was hoping the conservative approach Herm Edwards and his coaching staff implemented a year ago would not follow suit this go around. Instead, the Chiefs will have to live with a lot of naysayers and second-guessers for the next 10 days.

Still, there is something to be learned from the preseason, and what that might mean for the season opener remains to be seen. If we lend credence to anything that happened on the field over the last month, you have to be concerned, even if you're a coach on this football team.

I've seen the players who struggled in games this preseason play lights out on the practice field. But even if you run a vanilla offense and defense, those same players need to step up when the lights come on.

If the Chiefs don't bring the intensity they've displayed on the practice field from here on out, they could wind up in a bad situation over the first quarter of the season.

The problem is that there can't be any carryover in the regular season. I think Herm Edwards won't allow that to happen, because there is a strong sense of team chemistry in KC's locker room. I have to believe the veterans on this team will step up and lead the younger guys.

Though many people will judge the Chiefs on their poor record in August, it really only matters if they fall flat in September. Obviously that's not the plan, but I will go on record and say the game in Houston might just be the biggest game this team will play all year.

Five Who Stood Out

1. WR Bobby Sippio - I know he's a long shot, but I think he's worth keeping. The Chiefs would have to cut ties with Chris Hannon, who has fallen down the depth chart, but Sippio has something that made him the best offensive player in the Arena League. He might have the second-best pair of hands at the wide receiver position on this team, next to Eddie Kennison. I think he's worth stashing on the roster for a year and let him work with wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner.

2. RB Derrick Ross - Finally a solid night for the struggling running back, who has fallen to fifth on the depth chart. It won't be easy for him to make this team, but he has a huge supporter in running backs coach James Saxon. It's possible the Chiefs keep only three running backs (Larry Johnson, Michael Bennett and Kolby Smith), so Ross will probably have to make his mark in the NFL with another team. He has talent, but his propensity to put the ball on the ground might scare off more than a few teams.

3. QB Brodie Croyle - As everyone saw, he really struggled again. He's just trying too hard to make plays. The natural flow of his throws and decision-making in practice isn't transferring to games. He's getting valuable experience, and ultimately that will make him a better quarterback, but how good that will be remains to be seen. There is little doubt in my mind that he'll play at some point in 2007.

4. KR Eddie Drummond - Not sure I saw enough to hand him the job, but his reputation precedes him and the Chiefs need him to be the guy. No one else showed much on kick returns. He was a steal to pick up this late, and I think after a few games under his belt he can help this team garner better field position.

5. P Dustin Colquitt - The Chiefs brass might want to start talking to Colquitt's agent about signing the young punter to a long-term contract. He was the team MVP these past four weeks. He's striking the ball like All-Pro Ray Guy did for the Raiders in his prime. He's on the verge of stardom in this league and his price in September will be better now than it will be in the offseason.

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