Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Jacksonville Jaguars
- QuarterbackA new era begins in Kansas City with an established head coach in Andy Reid and a top-level professional quarterback in Alex Smith. While Smith’s career was slow to take off in San Francisco, he was excellent in 2011 and 2012 before Jim Harbaugh decided to go with the more athletic Colin Kaepernick. Smith wants to show the 49ers that they made the wrong decision.The Gus Bradley era begins in Jacksonville, and it may not be the longest of tenures. One of the reasons for that is the inconsistent play the Jaguars get at the quarterback position. They are hoping that Blaine Gabbert will develop into a consistent leader, but his thumb injury makes him questionable for this game and they may have to go with Chad Henne.
- OffenseThe Chiefs had a decent offensive team on paper last year and it was shocking that they could not produce. Jamal Charles is one of the most explosive running backs in the league and he should be good for at least one big play every game. Dwayne Bowe is back as the No. 1 receiver. While he has gamebreaking talent, his lack of commitment and consistency is alarming.The Jaguars need much better play from their offensive line in order to have a chance to be competitive. That’s why they drafted Luke Joeckel with the No. 2 pick in the draft. He will man the right tackle position. Wide receiver Cecil Shorts is an underrated gamebreaker, while running back Maurice Jones-Drew needs to be the Jaguars’ most consistent offensive player.
- DefenseThe Chiefs are turning the defense over to new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and he wants to build an attacking unit that will cause constant havoc. He will depend on inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, one of the hardest hitters in the league. Strong safety Eric Berry is a big hitter who had 86 tackles last year, but he needs to make more plays on the ball.The Jaguars were not able to mount consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks last year. Defensive end Jason Babin had 4.5 sacks, but none of the other Jaguars defensive linemen made much of an impact. Linebacker Paul Posluszny is coming off a remarkable year in which he had 139 tackles. The Jaguars’ secondary is non-descript and vulnerable.
- Special TeamsThe Chiefs are fairly happy with PK Ryan Succop and P Dustin Colquitt, but the coverage units did a poor job in covering punts and kickoffs and that must change. Dexter McCluster has game-breaking speed as a returner.The Jaguars were relatively happy with their special teams play last year. Bryan Anger has a good leg and is quite consistent in his directional punting. Josh Scobee is one of the more dependable placekickers In the league. The coverage units stay in their lanes and are filled with good tacklers.
The Chiefs were a miserable 2-14 last year, and Reid knows how important it is for this team to get off to a good start. So does Smith, who gives the Chiefs a major edge and that should be enough to get the Chiefs over the top. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor