Chiefs vs. Falcons Preview: Offense

Last season, the Chiefs' offense was under the helm of head coach Todd Haley. That didn't go very well. But he's no longer in charge of the offense -- he has Charlie Weis to handle those duties now. So what can we expect Friday night in Atlanta?

Based on what we've seen in training camp thus far, the quarterbacks have struggled. After taking a beating by the defense in last Saturday's scrimmage in St. Joseph, none of the three signal callers -- Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko -- have thrown the ball well.

That has to change. More importantly, someone has to step up and take the job. We can't assume that Cassel is the clear favorite, especially if you listen to his offensive coordinator.

Quarterbacks: There is no question that Croyle has had the better camp to date. But he's also shown a propensity to throw interceptions, something that has plagued his NFL career to this point.

Cassel might have to earn starting job.
Justin Olson/Warpaint Illustrated



Croyle, though, might posses the best chance for the Chiefs to score points playing inside the Georgia Dome. That gives him a clear advantage. Cassel, on the other hand, must prove that he's a starter. He struggled mightily last season and in camp has generally overthrown his receivers.

I'm not expecting anything out of Palko, except the fact he'll be on the field in the fourth quarter and will likely be the quarterback of record.

Running Backs: The news that Thomas Jones has moved ahead of Jamaal Charles on the depth chart is a big surprise. Jones was supposed to be the back-up and the speedy Charles was supposed to set the pace offensively. I think the runner with the hottest hand is likely going to get the lion's share of the carries in the regular season.

But the man to keep an eye on is Kestahn Moore. The kid from Florida has been one of the biggest surprises in camp. He has some of Charles' speed and some of Jones' power running style. That will help the overall depth, and late in the game I'm not sure the Falcons have anything defensively to stop him.

Dwayne Bowe has to play like a superstar.
Getty Images



Wide Receivers & Tight Ends: They MUST catch the ball. The Falcons' defense is going to bring some pressure and the receivers have to adjust their routes. The drops have returned in camp and it hasn't made the coaching staff very happy, though Weis has generally supported this group by saying the drops are the cause of the quarterback putting the ball in the wrong place. Still the veterans like Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers can't afford to be shown up by Dexter McCluster. The young speed merchant from Mississippi hasn't missed many balls thrown his way.

Either way, they all have to catch all the balls thrown their way. That's the case for the tight ends. Led by rookie Tony Moeaki and veteran Leonard Pope, they are going to be keys to the offense this season. Moeaki has been stellar in camp when he's been healthy and Pope won't disappoint when he gets a chance. But someone to keep an eye on is second year man Jake O'Connell.

Offensive Line: This line has to find its identity. The fact that Brian Waters returned to practice this week is going to be a boost. Still, there are question marks about this group everywhere. Brandon Albert looks solid at left tackle and Ryan Lilja looks good at right guard.

But at center the team still isn't sold on a starter. Rudy Niswenger has played the most with the first unit than Casey Wiegmann. That's a surprise. But I think the biggest battle could loom at right tackle. Ryan O'Callaghan was the starter a year ago, but Barry Richardson could unseat him with a solid preseason.

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\r\nBased on what we've seen in training camp thus far, the quarterbacks have struggled. After taking a beating by the defense in last Saturday's scrimmage in St. Joseph, none of the three signal callers -- Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko -- have thrown the ball well.\r\n\r\n

That has to change. More importantly, someone has to step up and take the job. We can't assume that Cassel is the clear favorite, especially if you listen to his offensive coordinator.\r\n\r\n

Quarterbacks: There is no question that Croyle has had the better camp to date. But he's also shown a propensity to throw interceptions, something that has plagued his NFL career to this point.\r\n\r\n

Cassel might have to earn starting job.
Justin Olson/Warpaint Illustrated\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Croyle, though, might posses the best chance for the Chiefs to score points playing inside the Georgia Dome. That gives him a clear advantage. Cassel, on the other hand, must prove that he's a starter. He struggled mightily last season and in camp has generally overthrown his receivers.\r\n\r\n

I'm not expecting anything out of Palko, except the fact he'll be on the field in the fourth quarter and will likely be the quarterback of record. \r\n\r\n

Running Backs: The news that Thomas Jones has moved ahead of Jamaal Charles on the depth chart is a big surprise. Jones was supposed to be the back-up and the speedy Charles was supposed to set the pace offensively. I think the runner with the hottest hand is likely going to get the lion's share of the carries in the regular season.\r\n\r\n

But the man to keep an eye on is Kestahn Moore. The kid from Florida has been one of the biggest surprises in camp. He has some of Charles' speed and some of Jones' power running style. That will help the overall depth, and late in the game I'm not sure the Falcons have anything defensively to stop him.\r\n\r\n

Dwayne Bowe has to play like a superstar.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends: They MUST catch the ball. The Falcons' defense is going to bring some pressure and the receivers have to adjust their routes. The drops have returned in camp and it hasn't made the coaching staff very happy, though Weis has generally supported this group by saying the drops are the cause of the quarterback putting the ball in the wrong place. Still the veterans like Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers can't afford to be shown up by Dexter McCluster. The young speed merchant from Mississippi hasn't missed many balls thrown his way. \r\n\r\n

Either way, they all have to catch all the balls thrown their way. That's the case for the tight ends. Led by rookie Tony Moeaki and veteran Leonard Pope, they are going to be keys to the offense this season. Moeaki has been stellar in camp when he's been healthy and Pope won't disappoint when he gets a chance. But someone to keep an eye on is second year man Jake O'Connell. \r\n\r\n

Offensive Line: This line has to find its identity. The fact that Brian Waters returned to practice this week is going to be a boost. Still, there are question marks about this group everywhere. Brandon Albert looks solid at left tackle and Ryan Lilja looks good at right guard.\r\n\r\n

But at center the team still isn't sold on a starter. Rudy Niswenger has played the most with the first unit than Casey Wiegmann. That's a surprise. But I think the biggest battle could loom at right tackle. Ryan O'Callaghan was the starter a year ago, but Barry Richardson could unseat him with a solid preseason.\r\n","mobileBody":" Based on what we've seen in training camp thus far, the quarterbacks have struggled. After taking a beating by the defense in last Saturday's scrimmage in St. Joseph, none of the three signal callers -- Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko -- have thrown the ball well.

That has to change. More importantly, someone has to step up and take the job. We can't assume that Cassel is the clear favorite, especially if you listen to his offensive coordinator.

There is no question that Croyle has had the better camp to date. But he's also shown a propensity to throw interceptions, something that has plagued his NFL career to this point.



Croyle, though, might posses the best chance for the Chiefs to score points playing inside the Georgia Dome. That gives him a clear advantage. Cassel, on the other hand, must prove that he's a starter. He struggled mightily last season and in camp has generally overthrown his receivers.

I'm not expecting anything out of Palko, except the fact he'll be on the field in the fourth quarter and will likely be the quarterback of record.

The news that Thomas Jones has moved ahead of Jamaal Charles on the depth chart is a big surprise. Jones was supposed to be the back-up and the speedy Charles was supposed to set the pace offensively. I think the runner with the hottest hand is likely going to get the lion's share of the carries in the regular season.

But the man to keep an eye on is Kestahn Moore. The kid from Florida has been one of the biggest surprises in camp. He has some of Charles' speed and some of Jones' power running style. That will help the overall depth, and late in the game I'm not sure the Falcons have anything defensively to stop him.



Wide Receivers & Tight Ends: They MUST catch the ball. The Falcons' defense is going to bring some pressure and the receivers have to adjust their routes. The drops have returned in camp and it hasn't made the coaching staff very happy, though Weis has generally supported this group by saying the drops are the cause of the quarterback putting the ball in the wrong place. Still the veterans like Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers can't afford to be shown up by Dexter McCluster. The young speed merchant from Mississippi hasn't missed many balls thrown his way.

Either way, they all have to catch all the balls thrown their way. That's the case for the tight ends. Led by rookie Tony Moeaki and veteran Leonard Pope, they are going to be keys to the offense this season. Moeaki has been stellar in camp when he's been healthy and Pope won't disappoint when he gets a chance. But someone to keep an eye on is second year man Jake O'Connell.

This line has to find its identity. The fact that Brian Waters returned to practice this week is going to be a boost. Still, there are question marks about this group everywhere. Brandon Albert looks solid at left tackle and Ryan Lilja looks good at right guard.

But at center the team still isn't sold on a starter. Rudy Niswenger has played the most with the first unit than Casey Wiegmann. That's a surprise. But I think the biggest battle could loom at right tackle. Ryan O'Callaghan was the starter a year ago, but Barry Richardson could unseat him with a solid preseason. 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