The KC Chiefs visit the Chicago Bears in the third game on the preseason schedule. There are a few things I’ll be looking for in this game.
Welcome back, Phillip Gaines
Andy Reid says there’s a good chance that Gaines, the presumed No. 2 cornerback, will make his preseason debut. This would be some much needed good news for the Chiefs as the second corner position is arguably the most important position battle remaining. The Chiefs other corners have gotten a lot of work so I’m curious to see how much the Chiefs play him as he continues to come off his torn ACL early last season. I wouldn’t mind giving him a bunch of time in the first half and letting Jay Cutler go at him a few times. He needs the reps.
Keep scoring, offense
For the offense, it’s easy. Put points on the board. The Chiefs under Alex Smith have scored on every drive except one this preseason. Alex is sharp: 12-of-16 for 173 yards, one touchdown. The running game has been featuring Spencer Ware with Charcandrick West banged up last week and Jamaal Charles not playing. The offensive line has looked good overall with a brief hiccup last week. There’s a lot to like. The offense could be carrying the team this year. Would the kids say the Chiefs offense is on fleek this preseason? I feel so out of touch.
How about we stop the run, mmmkay?
The Chiefs run defense has been ... not very good. Perhaps it stands out because the Chiefs were so good at stopping the run last year. Perhaps the run defense isn’t good because Eric Berry, Justin Houston and others are out. Perhaps the Chiefs just won’t be very good at stopping the run this year. It’s hard for me to believe that last one because the Chiefs were a top three PFF run defense last year.
“They’re pretty good run teams, so it’s been a good test for us,” Andy Reid said. “There’s a couple things we could do better in there, so we’ll try to keep improving in those areas.”
This team just needs some time to figure itself out. There are a lot of pieces missing. They won’t be as good as they were the past few years but they’re better than what we’ve seen at times this preseason. Time for them to prove it against Chicago.
Chris Conley’s encore
The Chiefs WR took a step to securing the No. 2 receiver job with his three-catch, 66-yard performance last Saturday, including a 37-yard audible from Alex. This would be great news because physically Conley is the obvious choice for this role, although Albert Wilson is tough as nails. Let’s see Conley with another strong day. There should be opportunities for him this season because, if I’m a defensive coordinator, my focus is on Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce.
Chris Jones, pass rusher
I enjoy watching him. A lot. We haven’t seen a defensive linemen like him in a while. The Chiefs starting d-linemen are excellent at what they do but Jones adds another dimension. Give me a sack, Chris. Just one. That’s all I ask for.