The Kansas City Chiefs look to pick up their second win of the season Sunday in Jacksonville against the struggling 3-4 Jaguars. Jack Del Rio’s club is coming off a 30-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, while the Chiefs are trying to bounce back from a bad loss of their own, 37-7 to the San Diego Chargers.
Here are three players (Offense, Defense and Special Teams) from each team to keep your eyes on.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
Sunday could be one of the most anticipated non-debut debuts in recent Chiefs history. We’ve seen plenty of Charles over the past two seasons, but never as man carrying the load but that’s exactly what we will get against the Jaguars. Suspended running back Larry Johnson has averaged a horrific 2.7 YPC this season while Charles in a much smaller role has been good for 5 YPC.
If Charles can prove his body can handle 15-20 carries — he’s only gone over 7 in a game once — and average anywhere north of 4 yards per carry, it will go a long way towards making sure Johnson never hits the field for the Chiefs again.
Defense: DaJuan Morgan
Another debut of sorts for Morgan. With injuries sidelining safeties Jarrad Page and Jon McGraw, it looks like Morgan will move over from strong safety — where he has been backing up Mike Brown — to start at free safety.
Maurice Jones-Drew should be spending plenty of time in the Chiefs defensive backfield so it will be baptism by fire for Morgan at free safety. For a guy that has a whopping 4 tackles this season, it’s quite the tall task. Not that I expected Todd Haley to trash his own player, but he sounded confident Friday afternoon that Morgan will be able to handle the job.
Special Teams: Ryan Succop
Don’t look now, but the once perfect kicker has now missed… two kicks! After having his perfection shattered two weeks ago against the Cowboys, Succop missed from 43 yards against San Diego. One missed kick doesn’t mean he is going to dial his accuracy back to the 67% clip he had last season at South Carolina. But we do need to keep a close eye on the rookie to see how he responds to a little bit of adversity, especially with points being at such a premium.
Offense: Maurice Jones-Drew
Jack Del Rio stripped quarterback David Garrard of his ability to audible out of a running play to a passing play. Do you know what that means? A heavy dose of MJD Sunday afternoon.
He only carried the ball 8 times against the Titans last week but still managed to ring up 177 yards with two touchdowns. The entire Chiefs defense better be ready and waiting for Jones-Drew because I will be shocked if he gets anything less than 25 carries. Unless of course he keeps ripping off 80 yard touchdown runs and then if that’s the case it will be a short day for the former Bruin and a long day for Kansas City.
Defense: Reggie Nelson
The Jaguars defense has had it’s fair share of injuries and it’s because of those injuries that Nelson had to help fill in at cornerback last week instead of his usual safety position. While there he had a game reminiscent of Leggett’s tough time in Dallas. Not only was he missing tackles, but the tackles he was missing were costing his team points. Nelson also struggled finishing plays two weeks earlier against the Rams and could definitely be getting a case of the yips.
He should spend most — if not all — of his time back at his natural position of safety, but needs to be challenged if he is forced to help out again at cornerback.
Special Teams: Josh Scobee
Nearly an 80% career field goal kicker, Scobee is hanging out just south of 67% through seven games this season. To make matter worse, he even had an extra point blocked last week. It was only the third time he has missed a point after attempt in his six year career.
With both the Chiefs and Jaguars struggling right now, this game has all the making of a close one and Scobee could be relied on to make some big time kicks. He has been able to hit everything from inside 40 yards, but is only 3-7 from beyond. 50 yard kick for the win… Does he have the leg to make it?