We’ve grown accustomed to the way Andy Reid handles preseason games during his five seasons as Kansas City Chiefs head coach.
But in advance of the preseason matchup with the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night, we should summarize what we know about how the Chiefs are likely to approach this particular game:
In his press appearances on Sunday and Tuesday, Reid said that each of the Chiefs quarterbacks will get a quarter of playing time. Based on the unofficial depth chart we showed you on Saturday, this would mean Patrick Mahomes will be under center in the first quarter, Chad Henne in the second, Matt McGloin in the third, and Chase Litton in the fourth.
Reid also said that the rest of the players would follow roughly the same schedule. So by the fourth quarter, most of the Chiefs on the field will be players who will be unlikely to make the team, but will be playing their hearts out in the hopes that they can catch the attention of the coaches and make the team after all.
Reid ‘s usual practice is to do little game planning for preseason opponents, and not show too much of his hand until the regular season. He confirmed on Sunday that this will be the case against the Texans. Vanilla will be the operative word on both sides of the ball.
Reid has — so far — been unwilling to get into specifics about how much playing time players returning from injury will get. He fended off questions about specific players on Tuesday, saying only that he hasn’t looked at “the list” for a while, and that he would be meeting with trainer Rick Burkholder to make final decisions.
On Sunday, Reid said his main goal was for the team to “play and play fast.” In Tuesday’s press appearance, he amplified his expectations a little bit.
“You’re looking for assignment football — when the juices get going, how you handle that. You’re in the stadium with the fans, and it’s a little different. Lights are on, and it’s game time.”
So the coaches are going to be watching whether players can continue to respond to their coaching and assignments in a game situation. Do they stay steady and do their jobs as they have been taught, or do they allow the adrenaline of the game situation to take over?
And there should be plenty of adrenaline to go around — starting with the head coach. On Sunday, Reid agreed with Clark Hunt’s characterization of him as someone with an extra spring in his step.
“It’s a bunch of young guys — and new guys,” he said. “I love it. I love the way the veteran players and the coaches are doing their jobs. They’re bringing great energy every day. Everything’s not perfect or pretty — I can’t tell you that — but the guys are working their tails off. If they keep that up, they’re going to be all right.”
So Thursday’s game might not be pretty — but it might still be a lot of fun to watch.