The New Orleans Saints would really like you to forget about the 2012 season. No Bountygate talk, no suspended players—just winning. The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, would like you to forget about the last five or six seasons.
If either one gets its wish, it will be because they start winning again. Someone will do that tonight in Week 1 of the preseason—here are three things to watch when the two teams lock horns at 8pm EST.
1) The Chiefs would also really like you to forget Matt Cassel was their quarterback. They acquired Alex Smith in the hopes that he could cause that to happen, but the question remains as to whether Smith can be as effective under new head coach Andy Reid as he was with San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. We’ll get about a quarter to see how Smith looks in his new offense tonight and a glimpse of what Smith will bring to the table as a palate cleanser post-Cassel.
2) Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas are all going to split time in the backfield again this year, but probably won’t get much to do tonight after the first quarter, if even that much. No, tonight we’ll get a look at backups like Travaris Cadet and Shawne Alston, both of whom could see work if Ingram suffers injuries again this year. Probably only one will make the final roster, and Cadet has the edge in special teams. One could step up with a strong showing tonight.
3) When the Chiefs selected Eric Fisher first overall in the 2013 NFl draft, most figured that was the end of Branden Albert’s time in Kansas City. That hasn’t been the case and so Fisher will remain at right tackle for at least this season (barring injury). How he does with the transition—and how Albert does remaining at left tackle—is going to have a huge impact on the offense this season.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.