On this week’s game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we talked about three things on offense and three things on defense to look for in Sunday’s game.
Patrick Mahomes playing through injury
The Chiefs quarterback went to the injury tent for the first time in his life, and all Chiefs fans had an early-season scare. After the ankle injury, the game plan was altered to help relieve Mahomes, get the ball out of his hands quick and limit his need to utilize his mobility. We really didn’t get to see Mahomes create out of structure all too much before the injury, and to expect him to be able to do everything he is capable of this week is unfair. I doubt the visible limp is gone for this week’s game. How productive he can be will be interesting to watch.
Replacing Tyreek Hill
Mahomes wasn’t the only injury issue the Chiefs dealt with in Week 1. Tyreek Hill is out an undetermined time with a collarbone injury. The offense was still more than capable without him for the remainder of the game against an exceptional defense, but it’s time for the likes of Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman to step up in his absence. Sammy Watkins had a career game out of the gate last week and will garner a lot of attention. Robinson and Hardman will have to produce.
Offensive line improvements
Before the Chiefs had to adjust to the offense to accommodate a hobbled quarterback, the Jaguars defensive line was making their opportunities to hit the reigning MVP count. Mahomes took some vicious hits. Some were his choice, like the RPOs with unblocked defenders. Some were not. The line needs to take a step this week and continue to gel. Their growth from Week 1 to two will be critical to success this week. Luckily, Oakland’s defensive front isn’t as impressive of a group as Jacksonville. That will help.
Building off Week 1
In Craig Stout’s own words, the defense was rather vanilla this week. What changes this week? Do they get a little more creative with their pressures? Do they pressure more? These are questions we look forward to seeing answered. The run defense showed a ton of promise this week and will face another challenge with Josh Jacobs leading the rushing attack for the Raiders. Stopping him and putting the offense behind the sticks will be important.
Does Bashaud Breeland follow Tyrell Williams?
The best receiver in Oakland is Williams, who was signed away from the rival Los Angeles Chargers this offseason. In the wake of the Antonio Brown situation, Williams capitalized with a big performance against a good Denver defense. Do the Chiefs make a concerted effort to put their best corner, Breeland, on Williams to help slow down the most important weapon in the Raiders passing game?
Defending the quick passing game
Derek Carr was getting the ball out at an incredibly quick rate. The Chiefs will have to affect the targets, as Steve Spagnuolo said this week. Does that mean we’ll see more press coverage from the Chiefense? Another important aspect will be interior pressure from Chris Jones and company. The length and ability to knock passes down from Jones, Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah and Frank Clark will also play an important role in affecting the quick game.
Arrowhead Pride Laboratory
We went into further detail on these storylines and listed players we’re looking forward to watching on the game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory.