The Kansas City Chiefs will visit the St. Louis Rams Saturday night to battle it out for the 2012 Governor’s Cup.
Romeo Crennel’s crew will look to build on last week’s solid preseason debut, when the first-team offense and defense both impressed in a 27-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Not only were the Chiefs able to hold on for the victory, but they also escaped without suffering any major injuries.
If the Chiefs can get through the annual showdown with the Rams with the same sort of success (and health) as last week, it will take them a long way towards being ready for the Atlanta Falcons on September 9.
With the first roster cuts just around the corner, here are the three players to keep your eyes on Saturday night.
Offense: Shaun Draughn
Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis showed flashes of what will make them a dangerous duo last week, but there is still quite a fight for the roster spots behind them. Sixth-round pick Cyrus Gray was impressive against Arizona, rushing for 65 yards on 15 carries, but he’ll sit out Saturday with an injury.
That leaves the door wide open for Draughn to show he deserves one of the Chiefs final roster spots. He only averaged 2.2 yards a carry last week, but did get time with the starters, including a four-yard touchdown.
Defense: Jerrell Powe
The 2011 sixth-round pick only played in one game as a rookie and currently sits behind Anthony Toribio and No. 11 overall pick Dontari Poe on the depth chart. He showed some impressive burst against the Cardinals, but still has work to do before locking down a roster spot.
There will be a lot of very difficult decisions for head coach Romeo Crennel when he makes his final cuts on the defensive line and another solid outing from Powe will make things even harder.
Special Teams: Devon Wylie
For the second straight week, all eyes on special teams should be on the rookie Wylie. In his NFL debut last week, he electrified the Arrowhead crowd with a 32-yard punt return that was punctuated with him fighting through a nasty facemask.
He still needs to do more if he wants to push Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster off returns for good and he’ll hope to get that chance against the Rams. St. Louis didn’t allow a punt return last week against the Indianapolis Colts, so touches for the Chiefs punt returners could be tough to come by.