6 things to watch for the Chiefs vs. Commanders Week 2 preseason game

The Kansas City Chiefs return home to the confines of Arrowhead Stadium to face the Washington Commanders in Week 2 of the preseason.

Andy Reid plans to beef up his starters’ snaps this week, with units on offense and defense playing closer to half compared to a run or so last week. While we will get more looks at starters, there will be much less time for depth players to make an impression on the coaching staff. The stakes are higher for both beginners and depth players in this game, making every replay count that much more.

Here are six of the things fans should watch out for during the game:

Heavy staff utilization

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Twitter has been making a bit of a fuss about the heavy personnel (21, 12 and 13) the Chiefs used in their only Week 1 preseason series. PFF’s Sam Monson suspects this is Kansas City’s answer to struggling with two-high coverage levels last season.

While this could certainly be a solution for Kansas City, it’s still not a pattern. NFL teams don’t like to show their full deck in the preseason, so this might just be a happy accident. There are many combinations of vanilla routes and staff packages because teams don’t want to reveal too much of their schedule.

With the starters playing an increased number of snaps against the Commanders, this is definitely something to watch out for. If the trend continues this week, it might indicate the team will continue to use pitching personnel at higher rates during the regular season.

Receiver rotation with Smith-Schuster, Hardman likely out

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JuJu Smith-Schuster is still dealing with a sore knee and is unlikely to play in preseason Week 2. Andy Reid didn’t rule out Mecole Hardman after injuring his groin during the penultimate practice of camp, but I’d be surprised if he actually suited up this afternoon. With both players missing practices, it meant Justin Watson and Skye Moore were playing with Patrick Mahomes and the starters. There were also some first-team reps for players like Daurice Fountain, Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman. The injuries could really give the team a better look at their receiver depth, and how the rotation plays out could give us some idea of ​​how things could play out after the final roster cuts.

Are Rashad Fenton & Jody Fortson back in action?

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Fenton and Fortson returned to practice in a limited capacity ahead of Week 1 of the preseason, but neither player received a single snap in the game as they returned from their respective injuries. Both players have since resumed full training and should be available to make their preseason debuts.

On the defensive side of the ball, Fenton’s return was a welcome addition. He played with some edge during practice and looks poised to have a big year as one of the team’s projected starters at corner. Fortson’s 2021 season was cut short by injury, but it doesn’t appear to have affected his abilities. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes names his fan favorite as one of the standout players during the team’s training camp.

Danny Shelton’s debut

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

We saw the former first-round draft pick participate in some 9-on-7 and one-on-one drills during practice as part of his conditioning plan. He has been absolutely dominant against some lesser competition on these occasions. Will Shelton get any snaps during the game though? When he met with the media earlier in the week, he said he would be ready if the coaches decided to play him on Saturday. If he does play, watch if he plays with the first, second, third or fourth defensive team.

Improved play from offensive line depth?

AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

Outside of the starting offensive line, the Chiefs didn’t have very good play from their depth in preseason Week 1. There was a huge failure to open running lanes that led to some poor performances from the depth running backs. When Shane Buecele and Dustin Crum dropped back to pass, there was plenty of pressure, especially on the latter signal caller. Coach Andy Heck will certainly be looking for improvement in that regard, as will the front office staff. It feels like it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this team could find themselves looking for more offensive line depth on cut day, especially if they don’t see marked improvement from a few specific depth players.

Can one increase its trade value?

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Could the Chiefs give some players more exposure with the first- and second-team offense and defense in order to create trade value? If the plan was to let Ronald Jones dominate lesser competition, that didn’t happen in Week 1 of the preseason. He had to deal with some really bad run-blocking against the Bears, and his four carries resulted in just one yard gain. On the defensive side of the ball, the team appears to have plenty of defensive tackle and linebacker depth. Maybe it behooves them to allow some players at both positions to get some premium snaps and build that value before the final cuts.



The story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire

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