We made it! The Kansas City Chiefs kick off their regular season in Florida against a good defense and offense with some question marks in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On this week’s game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we talked about three things on offense and defense to look for in Sunday’s game.
Here is a look at what we’re watching:
Screens and jet motion
Matt Lane outlined some of the screens and jet motion looks you could see the Chiefs run against an aggressive Jacksonville defense. If Jalen Ramsey is going to shadow Tyreek Hill, why not put some more mileage on him with some of the motions into screen and touch passes? Some of these looks could ultimately be where Mecole Hardman gets some of his touches this week. There should be some opportunities to generate positive yardage in these types of plays, and we’re looking to see how much they’re utilized.
How does the offensive line mesh?
We don’t know for sure who will be the starting left guard when the Chiefs offense lines up on Sunday. Cameron Erving spent the third preseason game week as the starter, replacing Andrew Wylie. The Chiefs are leaning on the likes of Wylie, Erving and Austin Reiter to fill out the left guard and center spots. They are no longer quality depth players who stepped in for a stretch. This is who they are rolling with this season. This is a big week for the offensive line to see how they can handle a tough opponent.
Is Travis Kelce ready to go?
The small sample size we’ve seen of Kelce in the preseason has been good.
We had a small sample size of Mahomes in the preseason, but boy did it make me giddy. First throw of the preseason was a beautiful ball down the sideline to Travis Kelce. pic.twitter.com/7aVuekgdot— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) September 4, 2019
Kelce had to be patient with ankle recovery in the offseason, sitting out OTAs and first practicing at training camp. Does he receive a full workload right off the bat or do we get a little more of Blake Bell and Deon Yelder this week?
The Jaguars utilizing Y-Cross
Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has utilized tight end crossing route concepts with Nick Foles in previous stops.
Foles/DeFilippo liked to utilize Y-Cross in Philly, something they might lean on this weekend.— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) September 5, 2019
-X gets vertical at the numbers, carrying CB
-Slot in the flat pulls the apex up
-Z with a post dig keeps the deep safety honest
-Y gets behind the MIKE and finds open space in zone pic.twitter.com/Td9hGJcqvZ
You can expect similar concepts this week from the Jaguars with these two leading the charge on offense. Craig Stout wrote a great piece about the concepts and what Steve Spagnuolo did in the past against Foles and the Eagles against looks like this.
What does the real defense look like?
This is our first real exposure to a Spagnuolo-led defense in Kansas City. We’re going to see what he feels comfortable calling early in the season, and that will tell us about what he thinks of the personnel at his disposal. Does he try to help protect the corners? Does he trust them to execute exotic looks early? Do we see busts as a result of some of the things he dials up? We’re about to find out.
The linebacker group often looked slow to react, unathletic and overmatched. In the preseason, the carryovers from the 2018 team have looked faster and more decisive. Do we see that in the regular season? And who exactly will be out there?
We’ve seen Damien Wilson line up more as a WILL linebacker after playing the SAM in Dallas. We’ve seen Reggie Ragland line up as a SAM when he played as a MIKE last year. There are questions about the rotation, positions and snap counts for Ragland, Wilson, Anthony Hitchens and Dorian O’Daniel. All are expected to see the field on defense but where and how much are items to watch.
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.