On this week’s Arrowhead Pride Great British Chiefs Show podcast, Brad and I discussed who (and what) we are excited about seeing from both sides of the ball when the Kansas City Chiefs face the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday night’s preseason opener at Levi’s Stadium in California.
Here is one offensive point — and one defensive point — we’ll be watching.
Offense: Project Youth on the line
For months, we have heard about how Chiefs head coach Andy Reid doesn’t start rookies on the offensive line — and yet, here we are: one month removed from the season opener and it appears that he might be starting three! Credit where it is due: during training camp, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith and Lucas Niang have all seized the opportunities that have come their way.
But while camp reps are important, it will be the preseason’s live reps from which Reid will make his decision. Yes... the 49ers will be without some key players on their defensive line — but that doesn’t lower the expectations placed on these young offensive linemen’s shoulders. The last outing for the team’s offensive line was a disaster — a nightmare — so it would be wonderful if this latest crop of Pat Protectors (coined ‘The Great Barrier Chiefs’) could settle some nerves.
If they can impress on Saturday, Reid may be forced into breaking his own tradition.
Defense: Second chance players
Opportunity knocks for players who have been found themselves wanting elsewhere — especially in the case of cornerbacks Deandre Baker and Mike Hughes. Their routes to Kansas City may have been completely different — but their current predicaments are symmetrical.
While the Chiefs have been fine at cornerback in recent years, the cornerback room is hardly loaded. It may be a harsh view, but if these two players can’t make it in this group of defensive backs, can they make it anywhere?
Strong preseason games are essential for both Baker and Hughes; they need to convince Reid and Chiefs general manager Brett Veach that they can be relied upon to play meaningful snaps during the season. Should they fail to do so, they will simply be regarded as just another Veach flyer that didn’t pay off.
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