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With a legitimate shot at Chiefs’ backup job, Shane Buechele is bracing for cutdown day

Kansas City’s third-year pro is preparing for bigger role in 2023.


While it’s not something you usually hear mentioned around the Kansas City Chiefs’ facility (or among the team’s fans), the reigning world champions are entering their third preseason game with an unsettled quarterback room.

“Right now we’re juggling the whole thing,” head coach Andy Reid told reporters following Wednesday’s 10-10-10 style practice. “There’s competition for the [backup] spot — and guys are competing. So we haven’t finalized anything yet on that.”

Third-year pro Shane Buechele certainly turned up the heat among his competitors during Kansas City’s convincing 38-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night, completing all 10 of his passing attempts for 105 yards — and adding a touchdown run of his own.

“This is really the first time that I’ve had an offense for three straight years — dating back all the way to college,” Buechele noted on Wednesday. “So my comfort in this offense has grown a ton — and I feel a whole lot better being out on that field with my knowledge of the offense.

“So that’s the No. 1 thing. And then just being with these guys, taking reps — and getting more reps in practice — has been a huge thing [in] getting on the same page with everybody.”

Kansas City signed quarterback Blaine Gabbert to a guaranteed one-year contract in early April — a deal that many believed would make the 12-year veteran a shoo-in for the primary backup role. But Buechele’s improving play in consecutive preseasons has garnered attention from media and fans — not to mention the team’s starting quarterback, who believes that Buechele is getting “better and better” each season.

“[Everyone in] the entire quarterback room [pushes] each other to be great,” observed current league MVP Patrick Mahomes. “We want that quarterback room — no matter who steps in — to be able to go out there and have success.”

So Mahomes also stands with Gabbert — and Chris Oladokun, who also put it a strong performance on Saturday.

“I’m proud of all those guys,” he declared, “but Shane being here for two years — just to stay grinding and grinding, preparing for his moment? He’s done great this preseason.”

Approaching the 2023’s lone roster cutdown day this Tuesday, Buechele just hopes that the third time around, he’s made the right impression with Reid and general manager Brett Veach.

“That day is always tough,” he said. “I mean, you never know what’s gonna happen. You just hope and pray that your play in the preseason did a good enough job to put a good impression on Coach Reid and Veach — and all those guys in the office.”

It helps that he’s been through it before.

“I’d say I’m a little bit more comfortable,” he said, “just on that aspect of those things. But still, it’s kind of an eerie day. So we’ll see when it gets here.”

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