The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Seattle Seahawks tonight at Arrowhead Stadium. The third preseason game of the season will see the starters for both teams play into the third quarter, but there are plenty of jobs to be won up and down the entire roster.
Before every game we present you with three players (Offense, Defense and Special Teams) from each team to keep your eyes on.
Offense: Tyler Thigpen
The battle to backup Matt Cassel continues. Last week the pressure was on Brodie to cement his place as the No. 2, but then the rumors about the Chiefs trading Thigpen popped up and the focus is back on last year’s starter. He is scheduled to run with the second team in the third quarter tonight. Are the Chiefs simply showcasing Thigpen for other teams around the league? Is he still in the running to backup Cassel? Either way, Thigpen’s performance against the Seahawks will go a long way towards determining where he plays next season.
Defense: Tank Tyler
Of all the defensive spots yet to be won, nose tackle has been the talk of camp the past few days. Ron Edwards is currently listed as the starter on the “unofficial” depth chart and over his eight year career has shown the ability to dominate on the inside for stretches, putting Tyler at a disadvantage from the start. Todd Haley has been very clear that he isn’t looking for players to be good for stretches but to be the same every play. If Tyler can provide the consistency the coaching staff is looking for, he could leap frog Edwards in just his third year in the league.
Special Teams: Ricardo Colclough
The Chiefs continue looking for a kick returner and Colclough seems to be the latest guy getting a look. He got reps on Thursday and should get a chance to make a few plays tonight. Two seasons ago, Colclough returned 68 kicks for the Cleveland Browns so he has the experience. He should make the team as a corner, but shaking off the rust and showing some skills as a kick returner will make him a lock.
Offense: Matt Hasselbeck
There isn’t any doubt who the starter is going to be in Seattle, but after having surgery on his back Matt Hasselbeck has to show his body can survive the wear and tear of the NFL. Sure, that question might not be answered until they get into the meat of their schedule, but 2+ quarters against the Chiefs tonight will go a long way to assuring Jim Mora that his quarterback is ready for a comeback.
Defense: Nick Reed
During this week’s Red & Gold Report podcast, Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune singled out Reed as a player that has come out of nowhere to impress during training camp. Like “Rudy”, Reed is undersized at “six foot nothing” (OK, in the movie it was “five foot nothing”, but that’s not the point) and makes his his mark with a non-stop motor while playing defensive end. Even with an impressive camp under his belt, he’ll need to keep making plays during the preseason games if he is going to make the final 53.
Special Teams: Deon Butler
Another rookie is hoping to make an impact for the Seahawks this season. However, unlike Reed, Butler won’t have any problem making the team. As a third round pick he is all but guaranteed a spot on the Seattle roster when the regular season starts. But the area he will need to contribute right away to is the return game and early on the returns have been mixed at best. Outside of one 37 yard return against the Broncos last week, Butler has only averaged 8.8 yards per return.