Friday night’s preseason contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints isn’t one to get overly rowdy for but hey, it is the first time each team has been on the field since about the end of December right?
Both teams had disappointing seasons last year and are hoping for a bounce back season in 2013. The Saints, who were perennial playoff contenders, missed the playoffs and their head coach at the same time. The Chiefs struggled all around the board: coaching, defense and the quarterback position were all extremely sub-par.
The Chiefs did make some changes in the offseason in hopes of turning the franchise around. They grabbed head coach Andy Reid after the Philadelphia Eagles decided to go a different way. Reid brings his West Coast offensive game plan with a few added wrinkles to the team.
The brand new style of offense has the Chiefs’ players excited for the possibility of big and bright new things for the team. Exactly how Reid uses each and every one of his players is definitely something to watch for in their first preseason game.
Don’t be shocked when trick plays or a wildcat formation enters the offense Friday night. Reid will use the preseason to test some of his wrinkles he plans to throw into the offense and see which players are able to handle it.
Another big story to watch for from the Chiefs is the play from newly-acquired quarterback Alex Smith. After parting ways with the San Francisco 49ers, the Chiefs knew they had a potential franchise quarterback waiting for them. Smith likely won’t play too many snaps, but his performance will be carefully watched as the coaching staff would like to see how he handles his new teammates and the new playbook.
Opposite of the Chiefs, the Saints really didn’t too much in the offseason as they were more concerned about getting the team on track and together.
After being caught before the start of last season for league violations, the team looked lost as head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the year. With Payton back for the 2013 season, the first preseason game could tell a lot about the team’s confidence and poise.
The Saints’ offense appears to be fairly set, and the coaching staff is concentrating more on improving the defense. The preseason will allow each player to be evaluated and get multiple repetitions throughout the games. After finishing last season ranked 31st overall in opponent passing yards and 32nd overall in opponent rushing yards, I’d say focusing on the defense is a good plan.
Starting quarterback Drew Brees won’t see more than a few snaps Friday night and the same can be expected from tight end Jimmy Graham. Receiver Marques Colston returned for the PUP list but probably won’t take the field, and the running back trio of Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles will all get their fair share of touches.