What: Preseason game #3
When: Saturday, August 27th, 5:30 p.m. (PST)
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV/Radio: KONG TV and KIRO 710 AM
Chiefs Key Players:
QB Trent Green: As he enters his eighth season in the league, Green may be hitting his stride as a quarterback. He passed for career-highs of 4,591 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, while also tossing 17 interceptions. Green has a good arm and generally makes good decisions. He also has an excellent line in front of him and an all-star at running back to carry the load if need be. He's 35, but he hasn't had much wear and tear on his arm. Look for him to continue chucking the ball all over the place even though the Chiefs don't have many standouts at wide receiver.
RB Priest Holmes: Holmes missed the last eight games of 2004 with a knee injury, but still managed to run for 892 yards and 14 touchdowns. He continues to put up amazing numbers when he's healthy and he should be fully recovered for the regular season. He is quick, powerful and has a nose for the endzone. His backup, Larry Johnson, played well in his stead, so Holmes should be ultra-intense this fall in order to hold on to his starting spot.
TE Tony Gonzalez: It's rare that a tight end is a key player, but Gonzalez has revolutionized the position. His 102 catches last season were the most-ever by a tight end in league history and he also became the first Chief to ever post more than 100 catches. He also owns more receptions (570), receiving yards (6,905) and TD catches (54) than any other active tight end. He can run, he can block and he has excellent hands. He is entering his ninth season in the league and he has been to the Pro Bowl six times. Gonzalez is quite simply the best player ever at his position and one of the top five players in the entire league.
LB Derrick Johnson: Arguably the top-rated defensive player in the draft this past April, Johnson has been terrific in training camp and according to head coach Dick Vermeil said recently to that Johnson may be the team's fastest player. He runs a legit 4.4 and is known as big-play linebacker who likes to cause turnovers. He automatically makes the defense faster and the hope is he improves the stop unit with his athleticism and nose for the ball.
CB Patrick Surtain: Surtain was a welcomed addition to a depleted Chiefs secondary this offseason. While with the Miami Dolphins, Surtain would shut down one side of the field and the defense was made better because of it. He is strong and quick to break on the ball. He may have lost a step over the years, but his smarts more than make up for it and they set him apart from most corners in the league.
Seahawks offensive line vs. Chiefs pass-rush: The starting offensive line ran into a buzz-saw in Dallas DE Demarcus Ware last week. Ware made the starting unit look silly a couple times, sacking QB Matt Hasselbeck once, causing a fumble and then recovering the ball. LT Walter Jones and LG Steve Hutchinson are two of the best in the business so there really shouldn't be any worries. The Chiefs starters along the line haven't been anything special, but Johnson adds an element of speed that hasn't been seen in KC in some time.
Hasselbeck vs. Chiefs secondary: Hasselbeck picked the Dallas defense apart last week completing his first ten passes en-route to a 12 for 15 effort for 135 yards, a touchdown and an interception on an incredible play by Ware. Seattle's starting wideouts also had a good night catching the ball, but when backup QB Seneca Wallace and the backup wide receivers came into the game, the problem with drops reared its ugly head yet again. The Chief secondary is led by veteran CB Patrick Surtain who came over from Miami in a trade and SS Sammy Knight who signed as a free agent in the offseason. The hope is with a more aggressive pass-rush, the secondary will be able to produce more big plays – read interceptions.
Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander vs. Chiefs linebackers: Johnson and Kendrell Bell are two of the more athletic linebackers in the league. Bell has always played as an inside linebacker, but the team switched him to the outside because they believe he can be more of a playmaker from that position. On the inside will be a combination of Kawika Mitchell, Scott Fujita and Shawn Barber. Fujita and Barber appear to be recovered from injuries suffered last season and both are good tacklers when healthy. Alexander had an outstanding training camp, maybe the best of his career, and he seems poised for a big season ahead. He is running hard and seeing lanes like it's mid-season. Don't look for him to get too many carries, but to make the most of the ones he does.
Seahawks secondary vs. Chiefs passing attack: The Chiefs would like the throw the ball all day. Holmes and Gonzalez are the big names, but WR Eddie Kennison is explosive in his own right. Green seems to have a symbiotic relationship with Gonzalez and the athletic tight end works the deep middle better than anyone in the league. Hawks safeties Michael Boulware, John Howell, Terreal Bierria and Jordan Babbineaux will have their hands full when guarding Gonzalez. CBs Marcus Trufant, Kelly Herndon and Andre Dyson should be able to mark the Chiefs receivers, but if the Hawks don't get pressure on Green he will pick the secondary apart.
News and Notes: Chiefs lead the overall series vs. the Hawks 30-18 in regular season meetings, but the Hawks have won both of the preseason contests; Position battles will heat up this week as players on the bubble hope to make it past this week's cutdown to 65 players; Craig Terrill and Cleveland Pickney are battling it out for the fifth defensive tackle spot; D.J. Hackett, Jerome Pathon and Bobby Shaw continue to battle for spots as the fourth and fifth wideouts. Pathon has had two solid outings and came on strong at the end of camp, Hackett has shown well all month as well, and Shaw can return punts and has experience; While Leonard Weaver looks to have the inside track as the backup to starting FB Mack Strong, keep an eye on the battle for the second and third running back spots. Marquis Weeks, Kerry Carter and Maurice Morris have all had their moments in camp and Weeks' abilities to return kickoffs and break tackles may keep him on the roster for at least a while longer.
Final Prediction: Seahawks 28 – Kansas City 24
Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
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