This Saturday will be a very nice tease of how September and October will feel. The ever important third preseason game is upon us, this is the game that teases all fans.
Andy Reid has been quoted saying the starters will play into the third quarter, as most had already assumed. Reid has also said the number two quarterback in will be Tyler Bray, not Chase Daniel. Here are five things to keep an eye on in the game against Minnesota.
1) Will Travis Kelce continue his midseason form? Kelce has came into both preseason games so far and made an exciting play, albeit against reserves. Kelce should see a fair amount of time with the first string offense playing so deep into the game.
It will be interesting to see how Reid uses Kelce in the offense, he is expected to start out as the number two tight end, but his ceiling is through the roof. Expect to see Alex Smith target Kelce at least a few times in this game to start building some serious on the field chemistry with his finally healthy weapon.
2) While this is the game we will see the starters for the longest, this is also the game a few key names might miss the game completely. Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, and Eric Berry are three notable guys that might miss the game or will play sparingly.
With some key guys out, this will give some other guys a chance to step up and get a good chunk of playing time. This is where guys like Cyrus Gray, Frankie Hammond Jr., and Knile Davis will get extended playing time. Gray and Hammond Jr. are both guys looking to make the roster and could see opportunities to show what they’ve got in these next two games.
Keep a keen eye out for guys that are subbing in and playing downs with the first or second stringers that usually would not, this is where they could make or break their chances to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster.
3) The offensive line was less than impressive against Carolina, especially Eric Fisher. Fisher has been on my losing end of the majority of articles, and for good reason. Reid has come out and backed Fisher publicly in spite of his recent struggles.
This is good news for Chiefs fans, if Fisher can get a little bit of confidence he could make some real strides. He just does not look to be playing with any confidence at all, nor does much of the offensive line. If this public comment by Reid can boost Fisher’s confidence and get him on the right path, look for the offensive line to follow suit.
If Fisher and the line continue to struggle like this, Alex Smith will have a rough time getting anything going this year. Look for the line to get extended play against Minnesota and try to get some confidence about themselves.
4) Will Aaron Murray get enough reps to show he belongs on the team? This will be a pivotal next couple games for Aaron Murray. He has showed glimpses of brilliance including a long touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. He also has showed that he is a rookie and has a long way to come with a bad interception in the same game.
Murray needs to make the most out of his next two games this preseason or he could find himself heading to the practice squad. With it being said that Alex Smith will play an entire half and Tyler Bray said to come in after him, Murray is seeing his number of snaps dwindling quickly.
When Murray gets out there against the Vikings, presuming he does at all, he will need to play within himself and not try to do to much. Murray is in a tough spot as the number four guy right now and he will be feeling the pressure when he next steps on the field. Look for him to have ice in his veins while playing for a job and make magic happen.
5) Can the secondary, and by secondary I mean Ron Parker, go a game without getting flagged? Parker has been flagged in each of his two games this preseason and for a thin secondary that does not bode well.
The Chiefs need to see Sean Smith and Marcus Cooper shut down a weak Minnesota passing game. They then need to see the backups like Ron Parker and rookie Phillip Gaines come in and play well against a rookie QB in Teddy Bridgewater.
If Matt Cassel comes in and torches them in the first half, then it will be time to hit the panic button; after all the Chiefs got rid of Cassel because of how he couldn’t torch anyone in the league. It would be a pretty bad look to see him come in and toss a couple touchdowns and lots of yards in the first half.
The secondary needs a good game much like the offensive line does to get their confidence back. Against a very weak Minnesota passing game this is their chance. Look for Smith and Cooper to play well and one of them steal an interception.
In the end of the day this is still preseason, but it is time for some guys who have had their struggles to turn it around. This is a game where a lot of guys can regain their confidence and composure and feel good about themselves heading into week one when it really matters.