The Kansas City Chiefs head to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears in the first preseason game on Saturday — and as some teams around the league are opting to rest top players, it sounds like Kansas City will give their starters at least a handful of reps.
“As far as the game goes, we’ll go quarters for the quarterbacks, so we’ve got four quarterbacks,” said Andy Reid. “Each one will get a quarter. And their group will kind of follow along with that — try to get the young guys the majority of the reps as we go and make sure they get enough work.”
That means that Patrick Mahomes will see time in the first quarter, Chad Henne in the second quarter and Shane Buechele in the third. Then Dustin Crum will wrap up the game.
But in recent seasons, Reid has yanked Mahomes after a series or two.
“I like to get in there, and I like to get hit one time,” said Mahomes. “Once you get hit one time, you kind of see what it is to get hit again as a quarterback. I feel like after that, you’re good to go, but it will good to get in there with the new group of receivers that we have — all the running backs.”
Saturday will mark the first time Mahomes will throw to wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. It will be the first in-game action in the careers of wide receiver Skyy Moore and running back Isiah Pacheco.
With the debuts of Moore and Pacheco ahead, Mahomes thought back to his first NFL action, which came five years ago.
“It was a lot of nerves,” he remembered. “You’re getting in there. Your mind’s kind of racing. Obviously, the speed of the game is intensified, but also the playbook. So you’re trying to think and play at the same time.
“And so what I do for [rookies] is, I tell them to study as much as they can, and then when they get to the game, just go out there and play. At the end of the day, if you go out there and play like you’ve done it your whole life, you’re in this position for a reason, and you can let your talent show.”
Mahomes added that one of the key parts of the preseason is making sure the offense finds a rhythm prior to Week 1.
“It’s getting in a game and seeing the clock’s running,” said Mahomes. “Everything in a game kind of speeds up. It seems like the play clock is shorter, and it seems like the plays — they have to happen faster with the pass rush. And so everything speeds up. For the guys to be able to think mentally, go out there and execute and show off their talent, I think it’s going to be good to be in the game and see how all the guys take that next step, and we move on to get ourselves ready for the season.”
Safety Justin Reid, speaking on behalf of the defense, explained that his side of the football is ready to take on an unfamiliar adversary.
“Guys are hungry,” said the safety. “One of the best things about this defense is the intelligence — the IQ across the board is very high. Guys have bought in, and that’s given us the opportunity to be very multiple, and obviously, in the preseason, we’re not going to be exposing our whole deck of cards. Guys are excited to play, and I’m excited to be able to line up against somebody wearing a different colored jersey than I am — for once.”
After the Chiefs play the Bears on Saturday, the team will need to cut their roster from 90 to 85 by Tuesday. That evaluation process is already ongoing, according to Andy Reid.
“The way we practice is fast, and we do that for a reason,” stated the head coach. “So we could evaluate. We evaluate every night for these guys, so they know exactly where they stand if they want to know. But we do that every night and give them a grade. I think this is part of it, though.”
In 2021, the league cut the schedule from four to three preseason games, adding another regular-season game to a now-17-game schedule. Asked about one less game, Andy Reid said he and his staff were still able to make proper evaluations.
“I was good with the three games,” he said. “We could still get our work done. There’s a balance there — letting the ‘ones’ get a little bit of work and the guys that are going to play in the game and still have the competition at certain positions — and then most of all, get the young guys a look, so when we have to make these cuts, it’s as hard as it can be on (general manager) Brett [Veach] and myself.”
The head coach said that defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Rashad Fenton should be in a position to play — but it sounded like, as of Thursday, he had yet to confirm a plan with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
That is a little bit to be expected, as preseason games are more about finding out about your own roster — as opposed to game-planning for the other side.
“It’s bare-bones football,” smiled Justin Reid. “We know what you’re going to do, you know what we’re going to do. Let’s line up, and let’s do it — test the wills. Let’s see what your true skill set is before getting to the game planning and make it hard. That’s what this is about.
“It’s about giving guys the opportunity to show what they got, and some guys earning some roster spots.”
Chiefs Training Camp Report - Thursday, August 11 - Day 13 https://t.co/WtxyvxjxuH— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 11, 2022
- Did not practice (due to injury): OL Lucas Niang (knee), WR Gary Jennings (concussion), S Zayne Anderson (shoulder)
- Left early: WR Omar Bayliss (back)
- Returned to practice: TE Jody Fortson (quad), WR Daurice Fountain (groin), DT Taylor Stallworth (knee)
Tweet of the day
Mecole Hardman signing 100 autographs pic.twitter.com/iUimv1CRs6— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 11, 2022
The only reason I’m giving myself the tweet of the day is so you can see this photo.
Quote of the day
Safety Justin Reid, discussing his kicking ability: “Harrison [Butker] is obviously kicker 1, guys. Let’s put that to bed right now, but if he ever wants a play off, take a break, I got his back.”
The Chiefs have a day off Friday and play in their first preseason game on Saturday in Chicago against the Bears. Kickoff is Noon Arrowhead Time. Following the game, the Chiefs return to St. Joseph for four more practices, beginning on Monday. Here’s the complete schedule.