It was perfect execution.
Quarterback Mike Kafka took the snap out of the shotgun, pump faked and delivered a perfect pass over a sea of red defenders into wide receiver Riley Cooper's hands - he didn't even have to break stride - for the game-winning 18-yard touchdown last Friday night against the Chiefs.
Kafka engineered a brilliant two-minute drive that spanned the length of 80 yards. Now, a new challenge awaits. Tonight, Kafka is expected to play the entire second half in the preseason finale against the New York Jets. What can Kafka do with the extensive playing time?
"That right there is the biggest test, whether we can do it consistently," Kafka said. "We're busting our butts off during practice making sure we can do that. It's a great opportunity to go out there and play, let it loose, have some fun and go out with a bang."
The man on the receiving end of that game-winning toss faces a different challenge. With the starters resting, Cooper is not so much fighting for a roster spot at this point. The fifth-round draft pick out of Florida is looking to prove that once the games count in the standings he should have a role on offense.
"I'm playing football. This is what I love to do. I'm confident in my abilities to play. I'm a very humble guy. I just go out there and play football. You don't have to make it too complicated," Cooper said. "I'm going to approach this game like I approach every single game. My approach never changes if I'm playing on special teams or if I'm starting."
That attitude served Cooper well at Florida as he was buried on the depth chart early in his college career behind Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy, who are also now in the NFL. Kafka isn't fighting for additional playing time tonight, but he could have an impact on how the final 53-man roster is shaped. If Kafka can elevate the performance of his teammates around him, he might just possibly help win something more than a game. He may help someone win a spot on the team.
"We are in the huddle almost every snap together working through things good and bad. I want to see everybody make this team," Kafka said. "I think we're going to have a good day. We just want to go out there, execute and manage the game."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:45 a.m., September 2