If there was anything to be gathered from last Saturday’s beat down of the lowly Cincinnati Bengals in the Chiefs’ preseason opener, it may have been a reminder that defenses just cannot cover everyone. Last season proved that point, and this weekend’s contest showed that the offense is going to be even more loaded with talent, which will put even more pressure on every member of every defense they play.
In one play, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce showed that they are already in regular season form and that timing is not a concern. Tyreek Hill is still in place, as is a healthy Sammy Watkins, who put tremendous strain on opposing secondaries when he was on the field and engaged last season. DeMarcus Robinson continue to get better, but will almost certainly have less opportunities this season, as rookie Mecole Hardman showed the explosive speed on Saturday that will push him higher and higher in the rotation. Damien Williams should make his preseason debut on Saturday, and once he is in game shape, should return to the form that kept him among the most productive running backs in the league over the second half of last season. Add in impressive outings by Blake Bell and Darwin Thompson against Cincinnati, and you are beginning to see just how much pressure defenses will face on every play.
Players coming and going for the lineup is another topic worth watching against the Steelers on Saturday. Frank Clark and Alex Okafor should return from minor injuries as we begin to learn more about the defense, while Chris Jones will likely get more than the two snaps he played last week. The bigger question may be who should not play. Mahomes jumped into preseason action, going 6-6, including the perfect pass to Kelce for a touchdown—he is ready today. Andy Reid has been clear that his quarterback will continue to play, but is it worth it? The same could be said of Kelce—fresh off ankle surgery, and supposedly as healthy and fast as he has been in the last three years, maybe it’s time for such key contributors to take a seat and wait out the remainder of the preseason.
The defense will have more of its pieces in place as they face a better offense this week, which will be interesting to watch. Outside of that, watching the litany of playmakers the offense has to offer is fun no matter what time of year it is. But I think we have seen what we need to see—we have added a couple of explosive options that will make the best offense in the league even better, and the defense will continue to be a question mark until the regular season rolls around. From here on out, it’s time to perfect that chili recipe for week one of the regular season, watch the battle for the last few roster spots, and hope to avoid any significant injuries.