One last show game before the real deal.
The Kansas City Chiefs will unveil their championship crest in less than two weeks, ahead of the NFL season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Detroit Lions. That leaves us with just one more rehearsal. On Saturday, the presidents will receive Cleveland Browns to Arrowhead Stadium for the noon start of the game.
Head coach Andy Reid hinted that key players might play a bit, but he wasn’t clear which key players he was referring to. Last year, the starting line offensive line and draft picks got some running in at the end of pre-season – but quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn’t. However, Mahomes led two touchdown drives in the third exhibition game of 2021.
Either way, this game is not for beginners. Here’s another shot at all the reserve players to show what they can do before the 90-man squad is cut down to 53 on Tuesday, August 29.
Here are five things to watch on Saturday:
1. A fight at the quarterback
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There is a legitimate battle for the right to back up Patrick Mahomes right away at the quarterback position. Reid confirmed that with us this week.
Not only is Buechele on fire this pre-season; The third-year quarterback completed 21 of 28 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns and a passer rating of 112.2. That’s because veteran Blaine Gabert showed his talent in the first round, too. He is 11 of 16 passing, with 179 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating over the two games is 145.6.
As I mentioned publicly, Mahomes might not take a picture — and the team might do so for more than just his convenience: The team might want to see both Buechele and Gabbert take shots with key players around them. If something happens to the star, that team needs to know who to turn to next.
2. One last push on the line of defence
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Heading into his ninth season, Danny Shelton made it clear at defensive tackle that he wasn’t ready for a spot on the practice squad this season.
This is the type of game where players can leave the team without any other option. Last year, it was running back Ronald Jones who ran hard enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster at the end of pre-season. Shilton has been shining this way throughout pre-season, but he could be bumped into extra gear on Saturday.
I think Shelton has done enough to make the NFL roster this year. If he forces Kansas City’s hand on Sunday, it may come at the cost of sacrificing another defensive lineman.
Rookie BJ Thompson is a fifth-round pick and should have a low profile enough to get back on the Chiefs’ practice squad — but he’ll also have a chance to shine and avoid getting cut on Saturday.
3. Can the fourth contestant boost himself?
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Behind the first trio of running backs, he has gradually evolved less It’s clear if rookie Deneric Prince or fourth-year player La’Mical Perine will be fourth in line – or if this fourth linebacker will be on the active roster.
Over 11 carries this pre-season, Perine averaged 5.8 yards per carry. In 10 campaigns, Prince averaged 3.4. The difference in comfort with the ball in their hands was evident, with Perrin looking more efficient with his movements. It also looked cleaner on pass protection with a very small sample size.
Was Perrin’s performance enough to make the team? Prince brings an ability to return punts that the team may still value, though it appears he lost his primary duty to wide receiver Richie James last week. He is also a rookie, and may need more time before he can make better use of his talents in a live match.
4. The bottom of the back corner depth chart
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With Nick Jones dealing with a broken finger, the cornerback running directly behind Joshua Williams and Gaylen Watson has a big chance on Saturday.
When you take into account the top of the room dealing with L’Jarius Sneed’s ongoing injury, the team will really focus on retaining the cornerbacks who feel the best if called up from the practice squad early in the season.
In my opinion, the young player behind Hailesi seems to be the most ready to play right away, but it seems the coaching staff have spoken more about Echo Boy Do. The problem is his weight: 177 pounds on his pro day, which the coaching staff commented on.
Sleepers to watch are those who aren’t starters: Lamar Jackson appears to be part of the outside linebacker in the Chiefs’ system, but sophomore Doron Lowe also has a good balance of physique and athleticism. He just signed last week and could make a late payment on Saturday.
5. One last look at offensive tackle depth
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With rookie attacking tackle Wanya Morris looking farther away from winning playing time than some might think, retaining more experienced players such as Lucas Niang or Prince Tega Wanugu may become even more important.
However, there are only a very few positions in this list, and the other positions in the attack are quite full. With the versatility of a player like Joe Thune, who can slip out to tackle if necessary, there is a chance the team could choose between one of Niang or Wanogho.
Wanogo may be able to make it through waivers untouched, but he was an interesting candidate to come out of Auburn by some of the media, even if he was selected in the sixth round. His Chiefs development can be seen at left tackle.
Niang was once a key player in this team and can still be valuable in the eyes of the team. If he shows that and more on Saturday, that could also give the Chiefs a way to trade him for a team that needs a tackle.