Random thoughts of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 14-10 loss to visiting St. Louis on Friday night:
It is clear Kansas City coach Todd Haley doesn’t put a premium on the preseason. The Chiefs are now 1-10 in the preseason in three seasons under Haley. The Chiefs take the preseason simply as a time to get some repetitions. I can’t blame Haley nor do I think it is a bad sign of things to come. I have never been a believer in the importance of winning in the preseason. I can’t be counted among those who are freaked out by the lack of spunk shown by the defending AFC West champions in this string of August football.
The Chiefs clearly weren’t interested in being the kings of summer Friday night. The Rams were better on both sides of the ball. Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel was 6-of-13 for 59 yards and running back Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones -- who led the way for the NFL’s No.1 run offense last season -- were held to a total of eight yards on four carries.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ defense allowed Sam Bradford to pass for 95 yards in a limited duty and it allowed Steven Jackson 72 yards on the ground. The Chiefs’ first-team defense allowed the Rams’ only two scores. Are these offensive and defensive deficiencies cause for concern? Time, of course, will tell, but I don’t think so. It is obvious Haley doesn’t like to show much this time of year.
What I do take seriously in the preseason is penalties. It is a matter of discipline. That tone has to be set early. The Chiefs had eight penalties for 55 yards. That needs to be cleaned up.
Running back/receiver Dexter McCluster continued to get a lot of action. He had five catches for 37 yards. Expect to see him a lot third down.
Rookie Ricky Stanzi made strides as he pushes Tyler Palko. Stanzi led the Chiefs’ only touchdown drive. He threw for 121 yards. Palko also had a solid game as he threw for 92 yards. It was the second decent games for both players as they try to convince the Chiefs not to go out and get a veteran backup for Cassel.
The Chiefs’ offensive line improved. The Rams had just two sacks. Last week, the Chiefs allowed five sacks against Baltimore.
Jared Gaither played some at left tackle. That is a good sign. If he can stay healthy, expect him to be in starting lineup at some point.
Third-round pick Justin Houston continued to look impressive. Expect him to be in the mix for serious playing time early in the season.
It was a good learning night for second-round pick Rodney Hudson. He played the first half at left guard and he played the second half at center. He is going to have a role and his versatility will help the line.
Underrated Kansas City punter Dustin Colquitt was his usual fantastic self. He pinned the Rams inside their own 10-yard line four times.