Chiefs v. 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo looks to redeem himself in Kansas City
Offensive notes and players to watch
The Chiefs offense will look to bounce back from a mediocre performance across the board on Saturday. Again, this is preseason so I should caution readers not to get too wrapped up in the overall results.
Preseason for a team like the Chiefs is more about trying anything and everything to see what works, while not expressly giving away any of your strategy for the regular season. That’s why we usually see such mixed results, like we did the last two Saturdays.
Still, this will be a somewhat intriguing game in terms of the preseason. We can expect the starters to play between two and three quarters on Saturday, giving us a little bit of a glimpse of what to expect on offense and defense going into the regular season. However, don’t expect the scheme to be too dynamic.
I expect the important result from this contest will be identifying players at a handful of positions that will either be starters or will be heavy rotational players. Specific to the offense, there are three players to watch. The first is Mecole Hardman. He has been very effective in both preseason games, and looks to have the makings of a productive third receiver in this year’s offense.
In contrast, Demarcus Robinson, his main competitor for the position hasn’t done much of note this preseason. This game should go a long way in determining who the third receiver is. While he won’t necessarily get a ton of volume given the other weapons on offense, having a speedy and reliable receiver at your third or fourth option can only serve to spread the field more and make things easier on Patrick Mahomes.
The second player to watch is Darwin Thompson, who’s led the running back’s group in snaps the first two games. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite buying all the hype on this kid coming into the season. Maybe I’m just biased against small school guys, or small running backs in general, but I didn’t think he had any chance of unseating Damien Williams as the starting running back this season.
Now, I’m not so sure. To be fair, Damien Williams has played a grand total of five snaps in these two games, so it’s tough to be too hard on him. He hasn’t played in part because of injury but they also know what they have in Williams based off last year’s performance.
All that said, Thompson looks incredibly dynamic. He looks like the type of player who could actually be an x-factor for the team on offense, versus a player who simply fills a role. I’m not sure any of the other running backs have that type of talent. It will be interesting to see what they do with Thompson in this game. If he plays the majority of snaps, I could actually see him starting by the end of the season.
The third player to watch is actually two-fold. Both Blake Bell and Deon Yelder seem to be equally positioned when it comes to snaps on both offense and special teams. Each has flashed some good ability in the passing game and both are reliable blockers.
By now, I’m perfectly comfortable with either taking the place of Demetrius Harris. The question will be who grabs the second tight end spot? If Yelder is healthy, whoever grabs the first team reps in this game should signal who the coaches favor as the second tight end.
Other Players of Note:
- Kyle Shurmur or Chase Litton – Who is the team’s third quarterback?
- Darrel Williams or Carlos Hyde – If the Chiefs don’t keep four running backs, who is the odd man out?