In Week 1 of the preseason, the Kansas City Chiefs first-team offense perfected a perfect six minute drive, where quarterback Alex Smith was 7/8 with 68 yards and helped move the chains effortlessly. The same cannot be said when talking about the first-team’s performance in Week 2 of the preseason vs. the 49ers.
Although Chiefs superstar running back Jamaal Charles was absent from the lineup, they couldn’t get much going vs. the first-team defense or even the second. The offensive line couldn’t contain the 49ers front seven, Alex Smith had a hand in his face on almost every pass and the running game couldn’t get going. Yes, the 49ers have arguably the best defense we’ve seen in years, but that’s no excuse. If this was a regular season game, there would need to be a much better performance by the offensive line for anything to ever get going.
So, this week, as the Chiefs take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also have a very strong defense, there will be some things that need to be worked out. For one, I’d like to see Dwayne Bowe get the ball thrown to him more than one time. A guy who was just signed to a lucrative five-year contract should be getting more than one target in two games. There could be an easy answer as to why he hasn’t gotten the ball (it is preseason football) but it would be nice to seem him have a chance to make a play.
Secondly, the offensive line needs to show major improvement. After giving Branden Albert the franchise tag, signing Geoff Shwartz and drafting Eric Fisher, the offensive line was supposed to be one of main things the Chiefs can trust and rely on. With a running back whose running style requires a solid offensive line and a quarterback who (just like any other signal caller) needs an offensive line to let the wide receivers routes develop. I’d like to see Eric Fisher get some serious playing time, and hopefully his fingers and shoulder will hold up.
Third, if Charles is on the field, I don’t think it’s necessary to get him the ball too much and risk another injury. Foot injury like Jamaal’s tend to linger (Ahmad Bradshaw, Cedric Benson, etc) and it would be a huge blow if Charles’ foot was a problem later on in the season down the stretch. He needs to stay healthy for the Chiefs offense to function properly, and I wouldn’t risk losing the best player on your team for some reps in a preseason game that in the grand scheme of things, means just about nothing to Charles’ career.
Lastly, let players like Bowe and Donnie Avery take the top off of the defense. Everyone and their mother is fully aware that Smith excels on short, easy passes and is great at taking what the defense gives him. That’s good and that’s what he’s done when he has been at his best. But there has been a lot of hype about the Chiefs offense and how they will be ‘lighting up the scoreboard.’ So why not throw the ball downfield and try to make some big plays? I’m not saying show all of your opposing defenses in the regular season exactly what you’re going to do to them. That’s simply foolish. But I’d like to see Smith show what he can do when throwing the ball downfield, that’s all.
All and all, the offense needs to move the chains, put up some points, catch the ball, but most importantly, stay healthy. It’s always heartbreaking seeing a player get hurt in the preseason. We’re only two weeks away from opening day, so it will be exciting to see the Chiefs in action once again.