Chiefs roll in preseason finale
Published on -8/30/2013, 9:54 AM
By DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Chiefs counterpart Andy Reid must have felt confident about what they have in their starters heading into their regular-season openers next week.
Those big names barely sniffed the field Thursday night.
Instead, it was third-string Tyler Bray throwing for 169 yards and three touchdowns and backup running back Cyrus Gray putting on a show in the Chiefs' 30-8 victory over Green Bay.
"There are some kids here who had an opportunity to play some extended time. I thought for the most part they did a good job," said Reid, who wasn't always pleased enough with his No. 1 units in Philadelphia to sit them in the fourth preseason game. "Now we'll get on to Jacksonville."
The Packers will start preparing for their opener at San Francisco after giving Aaron Rodgers the night off. The No. 1 offense played one series with Vince Young at the helm -- he struggled again to run the offense -- and the top defense also played about a series before getting the night off.
"We got plenty of film on all of our players," McCarthy said. "That was really the priority."
With that accomplished, here are five takeaways from the Chiefs and Packers:
SMITH BETTER STAY HEALTHY: Alex Smith watched Thursday night's game from the sideline with a baseball cap on his head, and there was no better place for him to be. The way that backup QB Chase Daniel struggled, the Chiefs could be in trouble if Smith gets hurt this year -- regardless of how good Bray looked against the Packers' reserves.
DITTO FOR RODGERS: An argument could be made that Rodgers is the most irreplaceable player in the NFL. Young was just 14 of 30 for 144 yards and fumbled twice against Kansas City, losing one of them. His rival for the No. 2 job, B.J. Coleman, was just 2 of 7 for 19 yards. "It was a tough night for the offense," Rodgers said. "We couldn't get a lot going."
SOME SPECIAL CHIEFS: The Chiefs have gotten more out of their special teams in four preseason games than they got the last two seasons combined. Knile Davis, Quintin Demps and Dexter McCluster have taken turns snapping off big plays in the punt and kick return game, and Frankie Hammond Jr. joined in the fun with a 36-yard punt return against the Packers.
CROSBY'S BACK: Packers kicker Mason Crosby has fought off all competitors for his job with a nice preseason. He was perfect on six field-goal tries, including both of his chances against the Chiefs, and is showing the booming leg that once made him one of the NFL's top kickers.
HEMINGWAY'S BREAKTHROUGH: Junior Hemingway may be emerging as the guy to take some of the pressure off Dwayne Bowe in the Chiefs' passing game. He capped a strong preseason with seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. "He's tough to stop," Reid said.
JOLLY ON THE FENCE: Keep an eye on Packers defensive tackle Johnny Jolly when final cuts come down -- he just may make the team. After he was suspended by the NFL and sent to prison on drug charges, Jolly has been trying to make a comeback. He had a sack against the Chiefs.
TIGHT END DEPTH: The Chiefs have not decided whether to put Tony Moeaki on IR with a fractured shoulder, but the injury leaves them thin at tight end. Rookie Travis Kelce has been dealing with a bruised left knee that acted up against the Packers, and he's due for an MRI exam Friday. Anthony Fasano is the only other tight end with much experience.
LACY TIME: Rookie running back Eddie Lacy may carry quite the load for the Packers. DuJuan Harris was lost for the season to a knee injury, and nobody else has stepped up. Now, the Packers might be forced to keep both James Starks and Alex Green along with rookie Johnathan Franklin.
FEELING DEFENSIVE: The Chiefs should be able to rely on a defense that returns four Pro Bowl players to turn things around after a 2-14 finish last year. Their offense still has not hit its stride, but the guys on the other side of the ball played well all preseason.
OFFENSIVE LINE WOES: The Packers hope that rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari grows up fast and that Don Barclay or Marshall Newhouse solidifies the right tackle spot. Their offensive line remains a major question mark after losing Bryan Bulaga to a torn ACL in fall camp.