Andy Reid has given no indication how much the starters will play for the Kansas City Chiefs tonight or whether they will play at all. A series or two on each side of the ball against the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead Stadium probably wouldn’t hurt, but the starters received enough work in last week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to carry them over to next week’s regular-season opener.
Whether or not the starters play, the Chiefs have some things they should accomplish tonight. Some offensive production wouldn’t be a bad idea. The Chiefs have just three offensive touchdowns in three games, and one of those happened in overtime, after the game should have been over, against the Steelers.
Likewise, the defense hasn’t been very productive in helping the offense in terms of favorable field position. A defense predicated on pressure has created two turnovers, one forced by the starters and the other by reserves.
Here are some other things the Chiefs might like to resolve tonight:
Energize the running game. The four Chiefs' running backs are averaging a collective 2.44 yards per carry with none being better than Knile Davis at 2.8. This being the preseason, that might not be so alarming if the Chiefs weren’t getting physically handled so often up front. The Chiefs tried to convert on successive plays needing one yard last week with Jammal Charles, but he never had a chance either time.
Play the rookies. The Chiefs are counting on tackle Eric Fisher, tight end Travis Kelce and Davis, among other first-year players. Each could use some work. Fisher rebounded from his miserable game against the 49ers two weeks ago to play better against the Steelers. But he’s still a work in progress and would benefit from some snaps tonight. Kelce, who didn’t play in Pittsburgh because of a sore knee, suddenly looms as an important piece after Tony Moeaki's shoulder injury. He likewise needs additional work. Davis has played a lot of snaps in the three games, but he’s still refining his abilities, particularly as a receiver and pass-blocker. Among the undrafted rookies, wide receiver Rico Richardson had a nice training camp, and with a strong showing could convince the Chiefs he should be on the regular-season roster. The same goes for tight end Demetrius Harris.
Find a fourth cornerback. Beyond Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, none of the cornerbacks has made a strong claim for a roster spot. The Chiefs are so desperate for help that last week they used a safety, Husain Abdullah, as their nickel back. So it’s possible a roster spot could be had by a younger cornerback like Kennard Cox if he plays well tonight.
What about Bray? Fans who didn’t see Tyler Bray at training camp can rightly wonder what the big deal is about the rookie quarterback. Bray has been mediocre in the preseason, completing less than half of his passes and no gain of more than 17 yards. His signature play was a fumble in New Orleans. He figures to get a lot of snaps tonight, enough to allow him to show his abilities. Bray is a solid third on the quarterback depth chart, so nothing he can do tonight will affect that. But young quarterbacks with his skills don’t come to Kansas City very often, unless they’re playing for the visiting team.