Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs had a great showing from the first-team offense against the New Orleans Saints. In their only opportunity, they marched down the field on a 14-play, 80-yard-touchdown drive, but they will have a much bigger challenge on Friday night against the San Francisco 49ers.
Not only will Kansas City be facing a much stingier defense, they will likely be taking them on without Jamaal Charles, who had eight touches on the Chiefs’ touchdown drive against the Saints. Charles is expected to be held out as a precautionary measure after suffering a mild strain in his foot during last Monday’s practice.
Rookie running back Knile Davis has been getting most of the first-team reps this week and it will be interesting to see what he does with the opportunity. The SEC’s leading rusher in 2010 has been underwhelming thus far and could use a good performance in the spotlight with the first team. Most importantly, his suspect hands must hold up. Davis has shown improvement with his fumbling problem but is still having some trouble with his pass-catching.
One area Davis did shine was in the return game, where he had a 79-yard kick return against New Orleans. New special teams coordinator Dave Toub was a big pickup for Kansas City that didn’t receive much attention amidst all the other offseason signings for the Chiefs.
The former Special Teams Coach of the Year had tremendous success with the Chicago Bears and now has Kansas City headed in the right direction. In addition to Davis’ big return, Dexter McCluster took a punt return down the field for 55 yards. Toub has Kansas City excited about special teams again, and it will be fascinating to see if they can keep it up against the 49ers.
On defense, trying to stop Colin Kaepernick will be a great learning experience. These days in the NFL, you need to have an answer for the read-option quarterbacks. Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton has his squad looking good, and it will be fun to see if his aggressive tactics hold up against a dual-threat quarterback. I’m sure Alex Smith would love to see the Chiefs’ defense shut down the team that benched him last season.