Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Eagles

With his second preseason as head coach just about in the books, Todd Haley is still searching for his first exhibition victory after the Chiefs fell to the Eagles 20-17 at The New Arrowhead.

Unfortunately the Chiefs had to deal with a very scary injury to a defender for the second week in a row when LB Cameron Sheffield was carted off the field, but the defense as a whole put up a much better effort.  If this can be a preview of what the Kansas City pass rush can be, then we will all feel much better about the Chiefs chances.

Once again, there was no victory for the Chiefs but there were plenty of positives.  Here are the best from offense, defense and special teams.

Offense: Thomas Jones

Certainly a guy putting up 30 yards on 10 carries shouldn’t be singled out, right?

Wrong.

Jones continues to do what he will need to do this season if the Chiefs are going to run the ball: get tough yards.  In the third quarter, with the Chiefs looking to take their first lead of the game, Jones fought his way 11 yards into the end zone.  While we have seen flashes of big plays from Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster, it will be the grinding of Jones that will help keep those two fresh.  Not to say that the two explosive backs can’t fight for yards — we’ve seen quite the opposite during the preseason — but Jones has made a career out of it.

Defense: Andy Studebaker

If he continues to impress, we could be talking about Studebaker playing in place of Mike Vrabel and not just next to him in nickel situations.

Overall the linebackers played well, with Demorrio Williams netting two sacks along with Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher delivering some big time hits.  But it was Studebaker that was rarely out of position and consistently in the backfield.

Though he “only” had two sacks, Studebaker could have had another two.  It is not crazy to start talking about when the teacher will replace the student at outside linebacker instead of if.

Special Teams: Dexter McCluster

Before the game, some knucklehead suggested that McCluster had the look of a player that would only be an offensive weapon this season.  Idiot.

All the rookie did was return 3 kicks for 111 yards along with 2 punts for 19.  Included in those numbers were returns of 42 and 14 yards, respectively, in which his skills in the open field were fully on display.

Overall he was able to showcase the shiftiness he has become known for on the practice field both in the return game and running the ball.  Early in the preseason he didn’t look comfortable on returns, but that was certainly not the case on Friday night.  Javier Arenas will likely be the primary returner, McCluster has absolutely thrown his hat back into the ring.



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