Five things to watch in the Chiefs second preseason
game at St. Louis
St. Louis, Mo. - The Governor's Cup will be on the line
Saturday night for a cross-state showdown between the
Chiefs and Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.
Saturday's game will be the 22nd time that the two
franchises have met. St. Louis currently possesses the
cup after last year's 14-10 preseason victory at
Arrowhead. The Chiefs won the last regular season meeting
between the two teams in 2010 when returned from an
appendectomy to deliver a gutsy performance in Kansas
City's pivotal 27-13 mid-December win.
Another chapter in Governor's Cup history gets written
Let's "Take Five"…
1. Developing That Winning Habit
What wasn't to like about the Chiefs first-team units in
the preseason opener?
Things couldn't have operated more efficiently against
the Cardinals. Two 72-yard touchdown drives, a powerful
run game, an efficient passing attack and complimentary
defense were all part of Kansas City's first-string
Even head coach Romeo Crennel had difficulty
nit-picking the overall performance of his starting
"I like what I saw from the runners," Crennel said. "I
thought they ran the ball well. I thought Matt Cassel
managed his portion of the game well. I thought the first
defense getting those two stops; that was good. I thought
the kicking game, the kickers did a nice job in the
kicking game because many of the balls were in the end
zone and we made field goals, so those things were
positive and we have to keep building on that, so that's
what we're going to try to get done."
Now what? Do it all over again?
That's the goal, but adversity is bound to hit at some
point. When it does, how will the starters respond?
It may be a preseason game, but Crennel is counting on
his veterans to continue building "that winning habit."
"I think with a young team if you can begin to develop
the habit of winning, that can help you win when the
regular season starts," Crennel said. "I think it was a
good first step, and we have to continue to take those
steps in the right direction to make us a good football
2. Quinn/Stanzi, Stanzi/Quinn
Of course it's the most-followed position battle in
Chiefs camp. It involves the quarterbacks.
This week its 's turn to run with the twos after worked
behind Matt Cassel against Arizona. These two
quarterbacks have rotated second team reps on a weekly
basis since the on-field portion of the offseason program
began in Mid-May and it's likely to continue beyond
Saturday night's second preseason game.
But expect Stanzi to get a long look in St. Louis. He's
had limited opportunities to be evaluated with veteran
receivers and offensive linemen in a game setting. This
is a perfect setting to see the second-year quarterback
in extended action.
Aside from statistics, here's what Crennel is looking to
see out of his reserve quarterbacks.
"I need to see the guy be able to take charge of the team
that he has on the field with him, to be able to control
and operate the offense efficiently, and then be able to
make the throws that they need to make and make the
correct checks at that line of scrimmage," Crennel said.
"All of those things that the quarterback has to do. The
guy who can do that the best and most efficiently, then
we'll make him the second guy."
So we watch…
3. Race for Reserve Rushers
will miss Saturday night's game with a hamstring injury.
Enter running backs and . Both are likely to see
increased opportunities against the Rams.
Draughn actually ran with the first-team offense in the
preseason opener and it's clear the coaching staff wants
a solid snapshot at what the young runner can do.
Consistency is key for any young running back pushing to
make the roster. That includes ball security and special
Eachus is in an interesting position and might pull
double-duty at fullback and running back Saturday night.
Injuries at fullback pushed Colgate's third all-time
leading rusher (4,485 career rushing yards)into blocking
duties despite not having played the position before. He
seemed to perform well all things considered, getting
leverage on linebackers and he even sprung loose for a
first quarter rumble against Arizona.
is back from an abdominal injury and Patrick DiMarco will
fit into the mix as well. Still, Eachus was getting reps
at fullback this week in addition to his natural
Both Draughn and Eachus have an opportunity to bolster
their roster chances against the Rams.
4. Numbers Crunch on the D-Line
Every snap is important for Kansas City's reserve
defensive linemen. Especially with 's rise to first-team
duties muddying the picture across the defensive front.
Most had Toribio on the outside looking in when training
camp began, but Romeo Crennel had other plans. Toribio
was rewarded with first-team reps at nose tackle after an
impressive offseason program and hasn't disappointed
since running with the ones.
"Toribio made some plays which we liked," Crennel
said after last week's game. "The young Poe (Dontari), he
is still learning and he gave good effort. He's trying to
learn to do the things the way that we want them done.
He's not there yet. And then P-O-W-E (Jerrell), he
got in there and I think he made a play and he has
improved from where he was last year, so the competition
is still a competition. We'll get them work and see who
rises to the top."
Toribio's rise makes preseason games even more important
for veteran reserves like , , and . Pitoitua had a solid
game last week working as a reserve behind and Powe
flashed his potential slamming Cardinals quarterback Rich
Bartel to the turf for a third quarter sack.
Of course, Toribio still needs to keep performing as
The numbers crunch is on when evaluating the Chiefs
5. Long Look at
Jalil Brown was one of the standouts during Kansas City's
offseason program working as an extra defensive back in
Romeo Crennel's sub-package looks. Now, he's getting his
chance to shine on an island.
Brown is expected to make his second straight preseason
start with a heel injury continuing to sideline . Brown
was thrown into the fire right away last week matching up
with perennial All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
"He's making good progress, because he's gotten a lot of
exposure with Flowers being down," Crennel said. "He's
been out there and he's been competing and he understands
the defense and what he has to do. You gain more
confidence in a guy when he's able to go do that."
This is the longest look the Chiefs have had on Brown
when it comes to seeing him play a true cornerback role.
Most of his contribution as a rookie came on special
teams and as an extra defensive back in nickel and dime
Another good performance and Brown could be a
front-runner for the third cornerback job behind Flowers
and in addition to whatever sub-package role he might
"It is a good opportunity to get out there," Brown said.
"Whenever the coaches put me out there - whatever
position it might be - I'm trying to help the team. As a
cornerback, I'll do that. If it's any other position,
I'll go out there and help the team."