KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie wide receiver Chris Conley played in his first NFL preseason game last weekend and will try to take the next step by making his first catch for the Kansas City Chiefs in Friday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium.
He should get enough chances. Conley led Chiefs wide receivers in snaps last week with 33, and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson promised he would get even more work this time.
“He was kind of getting his legs back last week,’’ Pederson said of Conley, who missed the early part of training camp with a sore knee and didn’t play in the Chiefs’ preseason opener two weeks ago. “We wanted to get him back out there and get a couple of snaps. His play will increase this week. He’s a guy that’s in the mix. We’ve got to have a lot of reps on tape to evaluate him properly and see where he fits into out scheme.’’
The Chiefs are still looking for the emergence of a wide receiving option to Jeremy Maclin. The other starter, Albert Wilson, has been mostly quiet in training camp and the preseason. The same goes for one slot receiver, Jason Avant. The other, De’Anthony Thomas, has played little in the preseason because of an injured calf muscle.
There’s an opportunity for Conley. If he takes it against the Titans, he could force the Chiefs to give him more playing time in the regular season.
The knee injury was a setback, and Conley is scrambling to make up for the time he lost.
“I don’t know about making up, but I do believe that I’m doing the best with the time that I’m given right now,’’ Conley said. “Everyone hates to be off the field and me, especially, I just love to play. I will never get that time back.’’
Conley could also play as a kickoff and punt returner. The Chiefs are comfortable with Knile Davis and Thomas in those respective roles, but they like Conley’s potential.
He ran back a couple of kickoffs and a punt last week. He brought the punt out of the end zone, seemingly making a bad decision in the process.
But Conley was instructed to make the return no matter the circumstances. The Chiefs wanted to get him work as the returner even if the punt went into the end zone.