Sunday, August 11, 2019

Takeaways from the Chiefs first preseason game against the Bengals



Defense

1. Reggie Ragland looked great against the run and was part of the reason the Chiefs only allowed 1.8 yards per rush against the Bengals. Ragland also looked lost in zone coverage against the pass. Ragland wasn’t keeping his head on a swivel to see who was coming into his zone and his recognition was slow. He just looked flat footed and the Bengals targeted his zone twice on their scoring drive to open the game. I don’t expect Ragland to be on the field in those passing situations once the season starts.

2. Darron Lee played a lot of snaps in this game and led the team with 8 tackles. Lee looked much more comfortable in zone coverage than Ragland and was at least reacting to the passing plays before the receiver caught the ball. Lee did miss a couple of open field tackles that I would like to see him make but for the first preseason game I thought he played okay.

3. Tanoh Kpassagnon lined up as a wide 9 tech defensive end to start the game. (Wide 9 tech just means he is lining up as far outside of the offensive tackle as he possibly can.) This allowed Kpass to get a couple steps momentum going into the offensive tackles and his bull rush looked very good. He didn’t always look like he was aware of what was going on with the play but he was crashing the pocket hard. Later on in the first half Kpass started lining up as a 3 tech defensive tackle. (The 3 Tech defensive tackle lines up in the gap between the guard and tackle.) Kpass seemed to struggle a bit at first because his bull rush didn’t seem as effective on the inside and the shorter guard was stone walling him. But after a few bull rushes Kpass ducked his left shoulder down and blew past the guard for a sack. I really like the idea of Kpass inside on some of the nascar blitz packages because of his arm length effecting the quarterbacks passing windows.

4. Breeland Speaks didn’t show much. He did have a sack but it was more about the offensive tackle leaning forward to much and getting off balance, than it was Speaks. Speaks did look a little better when he moved inside and played defensive tackle, hisis lack of speed isn’t as big of an issue against guards.

5. Jeremiah Attaochu impressed me a lot in this game because he got consistent pressure from the defensive end spot. I was surprised to see how good he looked because I though he was going to be more of a strong side linebacker in this defense. I’m not sure he makes this team but he definitely belongs in this league somewhere. The Chiefs have some great depth on the defensive line.

6. Ben Niemann looked very at middle linebacker! He looked comfortable playing zone defense against the pass and he also looked good stopping the run. I feel really comfortable about him making this team. I know it is early in the preseason but I think I would feel comfortable if Niemann had to play this season because of injury. This 4-3 defense seems to fit him better than the 3-4 last year. The biggest weakness I see in his game is his ability to get off of blockers and the 4-3 should help him stay clean of blockers. The fact that Steve Spagnuolo has each of his front 7 attack a certain gap instead of trying to multiple gaps really helps reaction time too.

7. Khalen Saunders disappointed me a little bit. He did take on double teams occasionally but he didn’t get much push up the field. He looked a bit overwhelmed and I expected more because he was playing against third stringers. It is just one preseason game but I like Khalen Saunders a lot and I want hi to succeed in this league.
Offense

1. Blake Bell and Deon Yelder both look like guys who could contribute. Bell looks like a solid pass catcher/athlete with decent blocking technique. Yelder looks more like a good athlete who can block enough but is more of a pass catching threat. ( John Lovett also impressed me before he separated his shoulder.) I could definitely see Bell being on the field in the regular season when the Chiefs are in 12 personel.

2. Mitchell Schwartz looked stiff and a bit out of sorts to me. He had battled a stiff back in camp and missed some time, so I’m not worried long term. On the very first play of the game Bell moved down next to Schwartz on the end of the line of scrimmage. Bell then tried to block the defensive end on his own, Schwartz had no one to block and then was late trying to help Bell. I don’t know who is really most at fault but I do know that leaving a tight end one on one against a defensive end is a bad idea and Mahomes ended up taking a pretty hard shot on the play. There was another snap latter on in the drive where Schwartz seemed to get off of the ball slow but was able to just get an arm on the defensive end so Mahomes could step up.

3. Mecole Hardman has a lot of speed! It was apparent on his shovel pass touchdown run and on his 44 yard kickoff return. Hardman does truly have a second gear and what actually surprised me was how much power he seemed to run with. I personally though he would be fast but would probably go down with first contact. I missed judged him and was very pleasantly surprised. I could see him making an impact this season, especially as this teams fourth or fifth weapon on each play.

4. Darwin Thompson is incredibly good, right now. There are parts of his game that do need work but his power and explosion running the inside zone is easy to see! He decleated a blitzing safety in his one pass blocking attempt and outran everyone to the corner of the endzone for a touchdown on his one reception. I am absolutely in love with Thompson and have been since the end of his junior year at Utah St. He was the one player on offense I wanted the Chiefs to draft the most this year. I was talking about him back in March on the Arrowhead Fanatic Podcast and my pinned tweet on twitter @JThefan1 is from March 23 asking the Chiefs’ Kingdom to look at Thompson because I thought he would be a perfect fit in Andy Reids’ offense. The talent is there Thompson just needs an opportunity and he will make explosive plays in the regular season. (To everyone who tried to tell me Thompson was to small to be an inside zone power runner and to slow to be an outside pass catching threat, you can suck it!)

5. Tremon Smith got a few carries, returned a kickoff, and returned a punt. The problem is that he is not one of the four best running backs on the roster and the Chiefs other returners looked better than him. Byron Pringle had a 50 yards kickoff return and Mecole Hardman had a 44 yard return. I have to believe Smith’s time with the Chiefs is coming to an end.

6. Speaking of Byron Pringle I was disappointed in his game. Outside of the kickoff return, he didn’t have a catch. He was targeted deep twice and created some separation but not enough against third string corners.

7. Cam Erving looked bad at left tackle, getting beat multiple times off the edge by Bengals backups. I’m not sure that he is valuable to this team anymore if the Chiefs can find another swing tackle. It looks like Nick Alegretti and Kahlil McKenzie could be capable depth inside.

8. Cody Thompson was creating a lot of space out of the slot during the second half. He caught back to back passes for a total of 19 yards. I really hope the Chiefs can find a way to keep him on the practice squad. He isn’t really a down the field threat but he creates a lot of space quickly off of the line of scrimmage.

9. Oh Yeah, Mahomes is fricking awesome!  So were Kelce and Watkins on their one catch apiece!


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