Five to Watch: Chiefs vs. Rams

If a team needed a win in the worst way, it's our Kansas City Chiefs. After stumbling out of the blocks with an 0-3 preseason record, firing the offensive coordinator and listening to trade rumors swirling from one coast to the other, Todd Haley's bunch needs to find a way to win Thursday night's Governor's Cup against the St. Louis Rams.

Going forward, I'll refer to the 2009 Kansas City Chiefs as Haley's Bunch. In just a matter of a few months, he's jettisoned the players, coaches and philosophies that led to a grand total of six wins the last two season.

Right now he's throwing everything into the mixing bowl and hopefully finding some sort of palatable combination that will mesh job security with a competitive team that won't be another embarrassment. It won't be easy and nothing to date, at least in the month of August, leads any smart fan to the conclusion that the team he continues to assemble and disassemble will enjoy any more success than the Chiefs did last year.

That can change this evening with a win over the equally punchless St. Louis Rams, who will play tonight without quarterback Marc Bulger. The Chiefs are without Matt Cassel and likely will get a glimpse of their own opening-day starter, Brodie Croyle.

Of all the moves Haley has made to date, making Croyle his primary backup might be his best. Croyle is the best chance for the Chiefs to beat the Ravens in two weeks. This may rub some the wrong way, but I think even if Cassel is healthy, Croyle might be the better option to lead KC's offense.

Croyle has been the Chiefs' best quarterback since the team hit and left River Falls. This offense is perfectly suited for Croyle, even with a shaky offensive line. Strong-armed quarterbacks can defeat pressure. Croyle has been beaten into the ground start after start, injured twice and battle tested, and it gives him a unique advantage - he has something to prove.

The best thing that could happen to this football team is Croyle leading a couple of scoring drives in his short appearance tonight. Then, if he can somehow manage to make a few throws over the Ravens' front seven on opening day, that may indeed change the fortunes for the entire organization.

If that does happen, we'll find out what type of head coach Haley really is. Nobody loves drama like this organization and how interesting would it be if Croyle wins at Baltimore, Cassel is ready to go for Week 2, but ends up as the backup for the home opener against the Oakland Raiders? You always go with a winning hand in the NFL. Head coaches should live and die by that motto. But that's not always the case.

Five to Watch:
1. DE Glenn Dorsey - I've been all over him this offseason and preseason. It's time he shuts me up! I want to see a man playing to keep his job and a roster spot. Right now he's listed as a starter and needs to prove he can become the player he should be after being selected fifth overall a year ago. It's time he puts me in my place because I'm darn tired of writing about how he's not a fit for this defense.

2. LB Derrick Johnson - Another guy who is not known for his practice ability, but he didn't play a week ago and he's on the second team this week. Not sure what it's going to take to get his career to the other side but I'd like to see him play with fire tonight if he gets into the game. It's not a good sign for this football team when DeMorrio Williams, a decent player, beats you out for a starting job. Johnson has played well at times but I want to see him, like Dorsey, dominate.

3. RB Jamaal Charles - There isn't any doubt that Charles could be a key cog in the Chiefs' plans this season. He had some nice runs against Seattle and turned a few dump passes into longer gains this preseason. He could be the catalyst for KC's offense in many ways. If the Chiefs can get him outside and into open space he'll pick up a first down every time. He's the perfect complement to Larry Johnson.

4. WR Quinten Lawrence - Like Charles, he can bring something special to this football team because he has blazing speed. At times he's had hands of stone both as a returner and a receiver, but to me he's the team's fourth-best receiving option behind Dwayne Bowe, Ashley Lelie and Mark Bradley. He needs every rep on offense and special teams tonight. The Chiefs need his speed.

5. K Ryan Succop - He was nails until last Saturday's game. He whiffed on a short field-goal attempt and hit the cross bar on a long one. Two misses that might have changed the outcome of the game. Succop needs to be perfect tonight. He won the job early and he's a find at the bottom of the draft.

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