Game two of the 2016 Los Angeles Rams Preseason is upon us as we invite the Kansas City Chiefs to the Coliseum on Saturday.
To get a sense of what the Rams will be facing, especially in the second half, I linked up with Joel “Winterbone” Thorman from Arrowhead Pride, the SB Nation community for Kansas City Chiefs fans.
Let's start off big picture. The Andy Reid era in Kansas City has been pretty darn successful after three years. Three winning seasons, a combined 31-17 record, and two postseason appearances. How were things shaping up for 2016 heading into the preseason before the opener against Seattle? What were the big concerns?
Big picture, the Chiefs really like this team. They're deep. They're talented. They have the track record. There's a lot to like. What's concerning is the pass rush. Justin Houston is out for who knows how long and Tamba Hali is still on the PUP list. 2014 first round pick Dee Ford hasn't exactly grabbed the job either. The Chiefs need the pass rush and right now they're working with their third, fourth and fifth best pass rushers.
What were the big takeaways from the Seattle game? Who looked better than expected, and vice versa?
The Chiefs offensive line was the biggest positive for me. They added RT Mitch Schwartz this offseason which looks like a huge upgrade. I was really happy with the way they looked. Alex Smith, like most quarterbacks, is better with a good offensive line. Rookie Chris Jones also looked strong. He's a big, long defensive lineman who showed some pass rushing skills. While I love the Chiefs defensive line, pass rushing isn't their strength so I'm excited to see some of that from Jones. The run defense struggled against the Seahawks, who got some momentum on the ground. The Chiefs know that was an issue and it's something they're going to focus on the rest of the preseason.
What would you like to see the Chiefs iron out over the next three games to get ready for the regular season opener against the San Diego Chargers? What would be a good benchmark toward accomplishing those goals against the Rams?
They need to figure out their second and third corner situation. Will Phillip Gaines be back and starting on the outside with Steven Nelson on the inside? That's the goal, I think. Nelson hardly played last year as a rookie so the Chiefs gave him a bunch of work against Seattle. They want to get him as much experience and targets as possible. Offensively, I want to see Chris Conley and Albert Wilson get worked in as the second and third receivers. They have had a good offseason after spending some time working out with Jeremy Maclin so I want to see that pay off in a game. They weren't targeted in the Chiefs brief first team run last week.
Who are the guys at the back end of the roster to keep an eye out for on Saturday? Which UDFAs are pushing for a roster spot with you guys that you're eager to see?
With Justin Houston and Tamba Hali's injuries, a pass rusher deep on the depth chart will make it. Andy Mulumba, who came from Green Bay? Dezman Moses, who impressed last weekend? Rookie Dadi Nicolas, who has the greatest name of all time? Someone will get a shot at some playing time they wouldn't normally get. Additionally, the backup quarterback situation. Do the Rams need a quarterback? I'm trying to figure out how the Chiefs will keep Kevin Hogan, who could be a practice squad candidate. The Chiefs also have Nick Foles, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray in addition to Alex Smith.
Last question. This one is very serious. And it may cut deep, Joel. I need you to be as sincere, as analytical and as profound as you can be.
Better stache. Andy Reid or Jeff Fisher?
Andy Reid has had his stache for sooo long. As a beard-wearer, I can respect the consistency. However, the gold standard for a stache is Tom Selleck. And who has more of a Selleck stache? That's Jeff Fisher.
Thanks to Winterbone for the time.