Tomorrow, the second preseason game of the Chiefs’ commences as they take on the Arizona Cardinals. Last Saturday was exciting, as we saw the starters back in action for the first time in a while; moreover, we saw many of the Chiefs’ young players shine like Jody Fortson and Tim Ward, who had stellar games. There are a few things to look ahead to as we approach Week 2 of the preseason, so without further ado, let’s hop right into it:
Starters Playing In The First Half
That’s right, the starters are receiving more reps this Friday per Head Coach Andy Reid. Reid has an understandable reason for this, which is so players can get more in-game reps with Mahomes before the season begins; this is especially true for the newer players on the roster. It also gets all starters back into the groove of playing on the field. Ried has always done this and continues to stick to his guns.
We can expect to see a good showing of offense, as well as the defense. I can see Jones and Clark racking up a few sacks while Mahomes’ and co scoring a solid amount of touchdowns; I’d say they could score over three TDs as a group if the Cardinals’ backups are out there. Even if they are not, it’ll still be fun to watch.
Some are worried about injuries; this is pretty comprehensible. No one wants to see a star player injured during the preseason of all times. However, practice reps only go so far; being in-game gives these new players a true opportunity to get used to Mahomes’ offense. Also, the second and third teams will play the whole second half, so it’s not like they won’t play; their time is just cut down.
WR2 Battle Ramping Up
I talked about this last week in my Chiefs vs 49ers article, however, it seems as though the battle is not yet complete. Last Saturday, Hardman left the spot on “open season” as he didn’t have a good showing. On his lone target, it was not completed; to make it worse, it was third down, and he wasn’t able to secure the catch.
This leaves it open for other wide receivers like Demarcus Robinson or Cornell Powell to come in and swipe the spot. With all the starters playing, this will give him a chance to rectify his mistake and prove that he can be a starter on the Chiefs’ roster. The exciting battle continues to heat up!!!
Darwin Thompson’s Perforance
To say Thompson underperformed last week would be an understatement. He ran four times for 12 yards, with his longest run being six yards; he had one catch for four yards as well. Compared to other running backs (i.e.: Jerick McKinnon and Elijah McGuire), it was one of the worst performances for Chiefs running backs that day (I went more in-depth here).
Thompson just didn’t do anything well overall, whether it be finding rushing lanes or following the blockers. Now, his roster spot is in jeopardy.
If he underperforms yet again against the Cardinals, expect Thompson to have his spot taken by someone else. As it stands, he’s the fourth RB on the Chiefs’ depth chart. He will be one of the big offensive backups to look out for in this game. This is his make-or-break game; he has to make it here.
Defensive Players That Must Shine
There is a lot of defensive talent to look out for this Friday, but due to the huge sample size, I couldn’t just find one player to watch for. Here are three YOU MUST keep your eye on:
Baker is still on the bubble, even after having an amazing performance against the 49ers, having no completions on him on six attempts. He is still listed as the Chiefs’ fourth Right Cornerback, so the snaps he takes will give us an idea of whether or not his spot on the team will be a final roster one or a practice squad one.
If he does well versus the starters, then we could easily predict to see him on the roster. If he still receives a majority of reps against second-to-third string players and performs so-so, then his spot may be questioned by all of us fans, analysts, etc.
Tim Ward had a great game last week, racking up five tackles (four solo tackles) and two sacks, which attributed to two QB hits and two TFL. While he did well, he is still buried under countless other defensive ends including Alex Okafor, Joshua Kaindoh, Mike Danna, and Taco Charlton. If he doesn’t perform well in this game, him receiving a roster spot is doubtful, but still a possibility.
With the rise of Devon Key, Sorenson performing exemplary, and Watt’s interceptions, Thornhill has gone done in the trends as of late. At this moment, he is listed as a backup-free safety behind Daniel Sorensen.
It has been a weird road for Thornhill, as after having an excellent rookie year, he has backpedaled in 2020, and has continued to do so way after recovering from his ACL injury. His performance last week, was what I would say, 50/50. He had some good plays, but there were also some bad ones, including him falling on a play that could’ve resulted in a TD. He has to perform well to be able to fight for his chance to be a starter.
What are you going to be looking at ahead of tomorrow’s Chiefs vs Cardinals matchup? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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