Kansas City Chiefs: A few observations after preseason game three

With only one game to go before the regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs staters seem to be shaping up. Who with play behind them is not as clear.

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Kansas City Chiefs fans packed Arrowhead stadium in record numbers for the third preseason game this past Saturday. While the outcome may not have been ideal, the starters on both sides of the ball showed why the Chiefs are super bowl favorites.

Every team in the National Football League has its areas of concern, and Kansas City is not the exception. After playing three preseason games, here are a few observations.

Chiefs first-team offense.

The first team offense lead by MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes hasn’t skipped a beat. It took them only three plays to score on its opening drive as Mahomes hit starting running back Damien Williams on a 62-yard wheel route.

Williams has not had much playing time due to an injury, but he is showing why the Chiefs have him as their RB1.

Battle for RB2

Speaking of running backs, the battle for the backup role seems to have shifted. After being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars back in March, Kansas City signed RB Carlos Hyde to a one-year, $2.8 million deal. At the time, it looked like he was a lock for the backup role, but now his spot on the final 53 man roster is in question.

The emergence of rookie RB Darwin Thompson, a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft, has seen Hyde’s playing time with the first team cut short. Even though the depth chart has Hyde as the second RB, many around Chiefs Kingdom feel as if Thompson will fill that spot come week one.

NFL analyst Todd McShay, who recently joined the Kansas City broadcast team had some interesting things to say in regards to the RB battle:

“Brett Veach, the general manager, was really honest with me before the game,” McShay said. “And I was a little bit surprised, despite watching how good and explosive Darwin Thompson’s been. But he said, ‘Listen, (Thompson) is the No. 2. The reports are real. This guy has played so well that we think he’s going to be the No. 2.’”

QB controversy in KC?

We officially have a QB controversy in Kansas City, but it does not involve Mahomes. As with the RB position, this one is for the guy who will play backup to the “Magic-Man.”

Word came out this morning that back up QB Chad Henne suffered a fractured ankle and will be going to Greenbay, WI to have surgery this week. With Henne out the team signed former Miami Dolphins QB Matt Moore per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Although teams usually go with experience at the backup QB position, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy had this to say of Kyle Shurmur and Chase Litton in the wake of Henne injury: “We’ve got two young guys. They’re up and coming, and we’ve got to get them ready to play.”

It might not be much of controversy, but we have seen weirder things happen in the NFL.

First-Team defense

The worst-kept secret in the NFL is that the Chiefs defense was terrible last year. As such, all eyes have been on how much of an impact new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have on the defense. Throw the additions of defensive end Frank Clark, and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and rookie Juan Thornhill in the mix, and the intrigue is magnified.

For his part, Clark showed why he got the big payday. In really his first outing with the team, he made a three-step move with a bend that would impress David Beckham, to get his first unofficial sack.

Here is Brian Baldinger breaking it down like only he knows how to do in one of his #baldybreakdowns:

A player that has quietly been making an impact on the defense is newly acquired cornerback Bashaud Breeland. The former fourth-round pick out of Clemson has shown an ability to be around the ball and has made some nice plays. Pairing him up with CB Kendall Fuller and Morris Claiborne, who Kansas City recently signed, should improve the CB position.

If the safety duo of Mathieu and Thornhill can be as advertised, a defensive back group that was torched last year can more than hold it’s own.

The Chiefs’ front seven could be one of the strong points on the defense in 2019. While the group was one of the worst in the NFL against the run in 2018, this year it looks like it will be a strength. On a third and two against the San Fransico 49ers, the front seven not only stopped the run but even lifted the ball carrier as if they were showing off a trophy – something that couldn’t be said last season.

At the moment, the most significant area of concern seems to be when the linebackers drop back in coverage. The defense still has not shown the ability to stop the pass on third and long situations. If not fixed, it could come back to haunt the team down the road as it did in the AFC championship game.

Overall, the Chiefs look improved on both ends of the ball, but the secondary has a lot to prove. In my opinion, the AFC is Kansas City’s to lose, and last year the defense showed it could do just that. Come September 8th; we will get a first glimpse at how much the team has learned from its past mistakes.

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