While teams play to win every game, the preseason is heavily focused on evaluating individual performances. While training camp presents position battles, one position that seemed to be set for the Chiefs has been the quarterback position. Patrick Mahomes is the unquestioned starter, and since the signing of 12-year veteran Blaine Gabbert in April, he’s been the presumed backup to Mahomes. So the question looms: should he be?
There is no secret that head coach Andy Reid loves veteran quarterbacks to back up his starter. In his 10-year tenure with the Chiefs, he has had a veteran backup every year outside of the year Mahomes was drafted.
Reid’s philosophy has proven successful, most noticeably in the two playoff games in which Mahomes was injured. Veteran Chad Henne’s experience paid off, as he made huge plays in the Divisional Round against the Cleveland Browns in 2020 and this past year’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in which he facilitated a 98-yard touchdown drive.
Henne rode off into the sunset into retirement after the Super Bowl win, and it looked as if third-year quarterback Shane Buechele would take over as the backup role. Then the Chiefs signed Gabbert.
It’s clear that the Chiefs have high praise for Buechele. This was proven in November of 2021 when they added him to the 53-man roster to protect him. The Arizona Cardinals were trying to grab him off the Chiefs’ practice squad.
The Chiefs further proved how they felt about Buechele as he made the 53-man roster at cutdown following a 17-10 win against Green Bay. Buechele threw for 166 yards on 11 of 17 passing throwing for two touchdowns. This would mark the first time since 2019 that the Chiefs kept three quarterbacks on the active roster.
Are the years of experience the only reason Gabbert is sitting in the No. 2 spot right now behind Mahomes? He has taken most of the second-team reps in camp and was the first one in after Mahomes’ first and only drive Sunday. He led the team on a touchdown drive after the first team players came out flat.
The eye test showed that Buechele could be a better option than Gabbert. After an early interception, he showed the poise of a veteran and settled in to lead the Chiefs back to what should have been a victory.
The bottom line
Buechele has earned the right to be considered for the second-string job. He has the creativity and athleticism to make plays on the move. He can stand in the pocket and deliver a strike with velocity or throw with touch on the deep ball. He has put the work in the last two offseasons with Mahomes, which shows in his development. If he continues to shine in camp and the final two preseason games, the Chiefs at least must consider handing the keys over to him as Mahomes’ backup.
Who should be the Chiefs’ QB2?
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