The Kansas City Chiefs will wrap up the preseason Thursday night when they travel to Green Bay for a showdown with the Packers.
The Chiefs started quickly out of the gate this preseason with an easy win over the Arizona Cardinals, but have stumbled badly since. First was a forgettable performance against the St. Louis Rams in the Governor’s Cup game and then an even more disappointing outing last week with the Seattle Seahawks in town.
In addition to wanting the preseason end on a high note for the team, head coach Romeo Crennel has talked about the players needing to avoid being distracted by the final cuts that are awaiting on Friday.
Those cuts are what make this final game so important. There are still jobs to be won at the bottom of the roster and a solid outing Thursday night in Green Bay could seal the deal for several players.
With all that in mind, here are the three players to keep your eyes on in the final preseason game.
Offense: Nate Eachus
Any Chiefs fan that didn’t know who the rookie out of Colgate was last week is now pulling for him to make the roster today. Eachus rumbled for 98 yards on 10 carries with the game against the Seahawks well out of hand and had no problems throwing his body all around for huge blocks.
But the fact remains that the Kansas City backfield is crowded and Eachus still has work to do before locking down a roster spot. Another solid effort carrying the ball and showing something on special teams will make it awfully tough for Crennel and GM Scott Pioli to send him packing on Friday.
Defense: Jerrell Powe
After spending most of his rookie season on the Chiefs 53-man roster, but inactive, it was hard to imagine Powe making the team this year once Kansas City spent their first-round pick on Dontari Poe.
Considering the climb Anthony Toribio has made up the depth chart, it would appear Powe is still on the outside looking in. But Toribio is nursing an injury and is still largely unproven, which could push the Chiefs to holding onto three nose tackles. That would open the door for Powe, but he’ll need to turn in a consistent performance Thursday night if he wants to take advantage of that possibility.
Special Teams: Devon Wylie
There’s no question who the Chiefs three main specialists will be with Dustin Colquitt, Ryan Succop and Thomas Gafford all locked in and ready to go for Week 1. The one issue still facing special teams coach Tom McMahon is kick and punt returns.
Wylie seems like the best option, but incumbent Javier Arenas is still in the mix, having turned in the most returns during the preseason (seven to Wylie’s six). Arenas had the Chiefs longest kick return (31 yards), while the rookie out of Fresno State provided the best punt return (32 yards).
If he can turn in one more effort equal to Arenas, Wylie should help ease any worries the Chiefs have about handing their returning duties to someone with so little experience.