The Chiefs kicked off the preseason on the road in Atlanta and it looked a whole lot like the preseason games last season. Little to nothing from the offense and a less than impressive performance on defense with the first team still getting pushed around in the running game.
After a very “blah” performance, I can’t imagine Todd Haley was handing out many game balls in the visitors locker room, but there were bright spots that need to be recognized. With that, here are the best of the best on offense, defense and special teams.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
The Chiefs might have looked rusty as a whole, but Charles picked up right where he left off. If the time he missed due to his shoulder rehab slowed him down at all, it didn’t show against Atlanta.
He may have only carried the ball 4 times, but he made the best of those opportunities racking up 37 yards. That’s good for a whopping 9.3 yards per carry. On the play Cassel fumbled, Charles was going to be the intended target and was easily a step ahead of his man coming across the field out of the backfield.
Early in the second quarter, following one of his two catches Charles asked out of the game while the offense was looking to go no-huddle. While I’m sure Haley wasn’t too excited to see that from his young running back, to Charles’ credit on the next play he was solid in pass protection despite being winded.
Defense: Cameron Sheffield
He was only credited with two tackles on the day, but the rookie from Troy looked like he belonged. Sheffield was quick off the corner, held his ground and even managed to knock down a pass in the second half.
Due to Mike Vrabel not playing much, it gave Andy Studebaker, Pierre Walters and Sheffield plenty of reps. As we all know, the Chiefs will need to have much better performance from a LB corps that has only added Sheffield. His solid debut is as good a sign as any for a defense that was underwhelming as a whole against the Falcons.
Special Teams: Javier Arenas
Thanks to some convincing early on by Terrence Copper, the rookie took a knee on his first two chances to return a kick. On the third return, we saw just how Arenas broke records in the SEC. In the blink of an eye, Arenas went up the middle of the field, broke for the right sideline and only the kicker stopped him from taking the ball to the house. On his next attempt, Arenas was looking for another big return but slipped (though not before picking up nearly 20 yards). Then of course there was the nifty 99 yarder for a touchdown, punctuated with a bad ass stiff arm to the kicker. That one, however, was called back on a penalty.
Not too shabby for the kid.