Sunday, August 25, 2019

Takeaways from the Chiefs third preseason game against the 49ers


Defense

1. The Chiefs run defense was once again really good allowing only 3.5 yards per carry. The defensive line is extremely strong and linebackers were attacking their run gaps aggressively. The 49ers took advantage of this by using play action to suck the Chiefs linebackers up to the line of scrimmage and then passing into their vacated zones, This happened with each string of Chiefs linebackers and helped the 49ers go 9/14 on third downs. The most frustrating part was that this happened repeatedly on third and medium or long, where the offense is not usually looking to run.

2. Frank Clark got a chance to show us some things last night! He recorded his first sack with the Chiefs! Clark also showed his ability to tackle running backs from the backside and not get fooled by the 49ers misdirection plays. He really does look like a very well rounded player, who might just start going of on quarterbacks when the Arrowhead crowd gets him furiously amped up! The Chiefs pass rush as a whole did struggle a little bit in this game and were not able to get consistent pressure on Jimmy G. There were a few safety and corner blitzes from the Chiefs but none were able to hit home. Hopefully, a healthy Honey Badger will provide better blitzes from the secondary in the regular season. On the positive side, Tanoh Kpassagnon did have another sack on a speed rush from the 3 tech defensive tackle position.

3. Juan Thornhill got the start and looked a tad bit slow on a couple of cover two looks. The positive is that with his speed he was able to make quick tackles on the receivers. I’m believe that Thornhill is going to get more comfortable each week and look better each week all season long. Daniel Sorensen continued to get a lot of snaps and even though he is not the most gifted athlete, he looks to grasp this defense pretty well. This probably makes him valuable to keep around.

4. Khalen Saunders has looked more impressive each week of the preseason so far. In the first week he looked over matched, the second week he held his own, and this week he actually won a few snaps. By my calculations Saunders had 4 wins against the run and two good pass rushing snaps! He did have a bad loss against the run and gave up a touchdown, on a play were he over pursued and then got blocked down on. I was really glad to see improvement from Saunders because he is someone I am personally rooting heavily for. He just seems to be an extremely personable guy.

5. Dorian O’Daniel hasn’t stood out to me yet this preseason. He seems to be around a lot of plays but not the person making them. I believe O’Daniel makes this team but I wouldn’t be incredibly shocked if he didn’t either.

Offense

1. The Chiefs first team offense looked very good, Patrick Mahomes seems ready to go! Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins both look extremely quick and explosive. It can be easy for me to forget that both of them had foot problems last year that they had to play through. Travis Kelce hasn’t had many opportunities but I’m sure he is ready for week one. It also seems like Damien Williams is fully healthy and ready to be the Chiefs main running back, while Darwin Thompson has firmly claimed the number two running back role. Carlos Hyde didn’t play until the fourth quarter, which makes it look like his time in Kansas City is short.

2. Cam Erving moved back to a starting guard position and did nothing to excite me. He seemed out of position a few times and confused on who he should block. There was a screen pass from Mahomes to Damien Williams that had Wylie and Erving as lead blockers. Instead of blocking anyone Erving turned back and watched the play while the defender he should have been blocking blew by him and made the play. Later on, he also ended up on his butt after engaging a defensive tackle on a run block. Erving has just never looked like he belongs on the field to me, just not enough awareness or functional strength.

3. Andrew Wylie played tackle in the third quarter and did not look very good! He gave up sacks on back to back plays to Da’montre Moore (Of AAF and Texas A&M fame). Moore beat him with a speed rush to the outside on the first sack. On the second sack Wylie quickly slide stepped out wide, only to take a punch on his inside shoulder and get beaten to the inside. Wylie did seem to handle bull rushes better than speed rushed but he was getting pushed backwards and was unable to completely anchor himself. On the plus side, Wylie looked like a very good run blocker at the tackle position. I do feel that unlike Erving, Wylie has room to grow into being able to play the tackle position. I do think the backup swing tackle position is a very big weakness on this team right now. If Wylie or Erving had to currently start a regular season game at tackle it would be a blood bath. God forbid something happen to both of the Chiefs tackles, that could be the one thing that would seriously hamper this offense.

4.  It looks like Thursday nights game against the Packers will probably be Chase Littons last game with the Chiefs.  I really enjoyed watching Litton play in the preseason last year but it looks like Kyle Shurmur has passed him on the depth chart.  I don't think the Chiefs will carry three quarterbacks on their roster anyway, and that Shurmur will probably end up on the practice squad.  




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