The Seahawks and Chiefs open their 2016 preseason on Saturday at 1:30 PM PST at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. You can watch the game locally in Seattle on KCPQ. To prepare you for what to expect from the Chiefs, I asked Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride five questions about the Seahawks’ former AFC West rival. Including an update on a couple players who ultimately got cut by Seattle because of some insane competition a their positions, and a former member of the Washington Huskies who has quickly made a name for himself in Kansas City.
1. What are the expectations for Jaye Howard and Ron Parker in 2016?
They're both on multi-year deals so the expectations are high. The Chiefs are without safety vets Eric Berry (for the time being), Husain Abdullah (retirement) and Tyvon Branch (free agent). One of his teammates, safety Daniel Sorensen, told me during camp that Parker was the leader of the safety group. Howard is a beast. He's had a really good camp so expectations are high for him and the Chiefs defensive line, which is the strength of the team. First round pick Chris Jones is right on his heels so I expect Howard to rise to the occasion and have another strong year.
2. Do you expect Eric Berry to be back with the team by Week 1 and do you expect him to be with the team in 2017?
The Chiefs expect him to be back before the opener so it would be a surprise if he weren't. Berry already made a ton of money in his rookie contract (pre rookie wage scale) so he can likely afford to hold his position longer than perhaps some others could. At this point, it seems unlikely he will be back. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was asked this week what would be different about the negotiations with Berry next year and he didn't really have an answer for what would be different. So I'm guessing Berry might walk. The Chiefs do want him back but at what price?
3. Who is the most exciting player on offense that is currently on the roster bubble or a longshot to make the team?
Tyreek Hill will definitely make the roster. At first we thought he was a player like De'Anthony Thomas who returns kicks and punts with a gadget role on offense. Except Hill seems like he could have a career as a receiver. He is lightning fast. I mean, anyone who goes to Chiefs camp comes away saying this is the fastest guy I've seen. Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said he is the fastest player he's ever coached ... and that includes Devin Hester. Hill making the roster brings me to my second answer: De'Anthony Thomas. I wouldn't be surprised if he were cut. He can be dynamic as a returner and has some small role on offense but I'm not sure how the numbers will work in Kansas City. The Chiefs added some players they like at receiver, including Hill. DAT is on the bubble.
4. Which Chiefs player are fans going to "find out about" this season?
Whether it's a rookie or a breakout player in his second or third season. Inside linebacker Justin March has gotten some hype so plenty of Chiefs fans know who he is but he qualifies here. He was an undrafted rookie last year who stood out at training camp working himself up to the second team. However, he was out by mid August and his season was over with a knee injury. After a season on IR, he once again looks good in Chiefs camp and is on the second team. He could play plenty during the preseason.
5. Seattle fans are familiar with former UW cornerback Marcus Peters and he had a productive rookie season, making the Pro Bowl. How did he progress throughout last season and do you expect him to join the conversation with Richard Sherman, Darrelle Revis, Josh Norman and that tier of cornerback within the next couple years?
Peters was pretty damn good basically from the start. I remember he had 3-4 interceptions during one of the OTAs so the hype started early with him. He lived up to it with big plays. Yes, he gave up big plays but his elite talent is staying aggressive and coming back in the face of failure. He's a crazy competitor. I love his attitude. I'm not sure he'll ever be a Sherman-like shutdown corner but his aggressiveness and ball skills will create the turnovers the Chiefs as a team thrive on.