Croyle has already missed two preseason games and he should be the best quarterback on the field who actually will play significant minutes. To me, had he not been hurt, he might have been able to wrestle the job away from Matt Cassel.
With a lot of talk about Matt Leinert and Brady Quinn being cut, both of whom could march into Kansas City on Sunday, this is a very important game for Croyle.
Running Backs - I don't care if they get 150 yards rushing in this contest. I just want them to hold onto the darn ball. Both Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles have coughed it up early in three preseason games. It's something that can't happen.
Neither will carry the load much in this game. Still, if it continues, the Chiefs are going to continue to put themselves in a deep hole. If this offense is going to win games, it has to start with the running backs. And if they can't hold onto the rock, the defense is going to be asked to stop the bleeding. Right now, I don't think they can.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends - We know Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers and Dexter McCluster are locks to make this team. But after the team cut one of Todd Haley's favorite receivers, Lance Long, that opens the door for someone to emerge as the team's fourth weapon.
I want that to be Jeremy Horne. He's come out of nowhere, but he's behind Quentin Lawrence, Terrance Copper, and Jerheme Urban. That does not bode well for his chances to make the team. If he plays a lot in this game, though, I think he's made the final 53. If not, the Chiefs will try to slip him on the practice squad. That's a risk.
Tight end Tony Moeaki has to catch a few passes in the first quarter. They need to feed him the ball so he can gain some confidence before the regular season. The Chiefs might only keep two tight ends because Moeaki, though inexperienced, is a three tool tight end. He can catch the ball, run great routes and can block down the field.
His backup Leonard Pope can't do all three.
Richardson could earn starting right tackle spot with solid game Thursday night.
Offensive Line: - There is only one thing to watch on Thursday night, and that's the man who should be the starting right tackle come opening night against San Diego. His name is Barry Richardson.
The third year man from Clemson has been given a great chance to take his rightful place among the offensive line. In my opinion he's much better than Ryan O'Callaghan. And Richardson is likely going to get three quarters to show off his talents.