The Kansas City Chiefs' starting offense appeared perfectly in sync through the first two preseason games — at least when quarterback Patrick Mahomes was throwing the ball. Though the starting offense scored on all three drives this preseason in which the best player in the league was under center, something still appeared to be missing.
In spite of the efficient passing offense, the rushing attack was nonexistent in the first two games. Against the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders, Chiefs running backs combined for 45 yards on 30 rushing attempts.
On Thursday night, the runners carried the ball 22 times for 97 yards in a 17-10 preseason victory against the Green Bay Packers. The improvement was noted.
"We were able to get the run game going a little bit," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said in his postgame comments, "which we needed to do coming off the last two games."
Free agent signing Ronald Jones — frequently reported to have slid on the depth chart based on training camp reports — showed signs of life by rushing for 43 yards on eight attempts.
"I thought RoJo ran hard, he had good vision," Reid observed. "I don't think he did anything to hurt himself in our eyes — whatever happens to him down the road. I thought he did a nice job for us."
Reid shared similar thoughts about rookie runner Isiah Pacheco, who carried ten times for 52 yards.
"I thought the same thing there," he said of the Rutgers product. "This is without watching the tape, but I thought he ran hard. Both those guys, they're big men, and they play big. They weren't shying away from anything."
Chiefs third-string quarterback Shane Buechele also praised Pacheco's efforts.
"[Pacheco], the running back, he's running really hard," agreed Buechele. "I'm really happy for him. You know, being a rookie, he plays hard. But he also is very comfortable out there, too, for a rookie. So it's always fun being back there with him and being able to hand it off to him — and see what he does."
Pacheco credited his team environment for his improved play.
"[I'm] definitely coming in early," he said, "[and] looking at the older guys, getting a routine going. Picking their brains so I can feel most comfortable out there. Coming in early, getting the plays down, being able to execute fast — that's what I'm coming in here to do."
The Chiefs defensive regulars also continued to play well for the third week in a row. The starters and key reserves have looked dominant this preseason each series they have been on the field.
"I like the speed they're playing with," Reid said of the unit. "I like the communication that's taking place there. There's a certain confidence they are developing in one another. That will continue through the season. I've seen the progress in those areas, and the more familiar they are with each other — the faster they'll get even yet."