On the weekly mailbag episode of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we were asked for players we would like to see play a bigger role in Week 17 if the Chiefs are able to secure the one seed and bye week by beating the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Here are three players we hope to see:
The 2019 first-round pick was called up to the 53-man roster on Sunday for the Saints game — playing only on special teams. The Chiefs are trying to find out if Baker is part of their future and getting a whole game in Week 17 would be a big opportunity to learn about both Baker and rookie BoPete Keyes. The Chiefs could have Baker under club control for the next three seasons at a low rate. If he can show the ability that got him taken 30th overall two seasons ago, that could be massive. Week 17 could be a big opportunity for him.
Willie Gay Jr.
The absence of Damien Wilson hasn’t done all too much to help the snap count of Willie Gay Jr. the way most Chiefs fans would have hoped. A Week 17 game with starters resting could mean that Steve Spagnuolo can throw Gay into the fire for the duration of the game. The Chiefs have largely kept the training wheels on their rookie linebacker — seemingly limiting his responsibilities and roles as he acclimates to the NFL. This could be a chance to see how ready he is for more in 2021 and beyond. The talent is so obvious with Gay, but perhaps we’ll find out what he’s capable of with more of a sample size.
The second-year receiver hasn’t seen more than 33% of the snaps in any game since the bye week. While he’s a threat for a big play with the varsity team, the Chiefs may elect to let him see a larger role in Week 17. Perhaps he’ll get a bigger share of plays that Tyreek Hill runs? The Chiefs haven’t expanded Hardman’s role beyond gadget plays and shots down field this season, and he remains a high-variance player. This is a chance to show the coaching staff and fans that he’s capable of handling a more significant workload.
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