Tonight is the most exciting game of the preseason. Aside from many fans getting their first look at The New Arrowhead, the reason for excitement isn’t a reflection of tonight’s opponent, nor is it the extended play-time of front-line players, or the signal that exhibition play is nearly over; though each of those factors does indeed help.
What’s exciting about tonight is that we are actually going to see the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs start to take shape.
For weeks, Todd Haley has offered reminders that the Chiefs depth chart wasn’t an in-house focal point of training camp. One month into the preseason, many of the starting positions on the club seem to have already been decided. For example, we’ve seen little to no rotation of starters at wide receiver, on the offensive line, or at cornerback.
While some positions remain up for grabs, such as inside linebacker and center, the Chiefs are beginning to move to the next stage of the preseason tonight. For lack of a better term, Haley is going to put his players in “role playing” situations tonight against the Eagles.
“We need to get into some of the role playing that is going to go on,” Haley said. “On good teams, everyone knows their role.”
What does it all mean?
We’re going to learn a little bit more about what Haley and company think that the Chiefs Final 53 is going to look like, particularly in the reserve ranks.
What sets to the Chiefs prefer
“Roles are starting to be defined,” OLB
Vrabel himself is involved in a role-related question that tonight’s game could provide some guidance on.
Last week, the Chiefs showed a new wrinkle to their nickel package. It was something that we had seen several times in practice, but not as much in games.
The Chiefs four-man nickel front consisted of two down linemen (
Is this a role that the Chiefs will expect Studebaker, Vrabel and Gilberry to play on a weekly basis during the regular season, or was it just a trial against Tampa? These are the little things that make tonight’s game the best of all preseason match-ups to watch. Without opening the playbook, the Chiefs will tip us off to some of their regular season personnel plans.
“With this game, we need to put some guys into positions and situations that they have a better chance of being in once the season starts,” Haley said. “That could be a sub rusher, a third-down back, a short yardage back, goal-line, it could be a tight end, it could be a heavy set.”
Of course, there are also players on the roster who already carry very well defined roles;
“If you’re a younger guy, it may take a week or two into the regular season before you really start to find out what you can do and what the team needs you to do,” Vrabel explained. “It may be on special teams, it may be starting and it may be coming in on certain packages.”
That process will begin to take shape for the Chiefs tonight.