Charvarius Ward, Alex Okafor will miss Chiefs vs. Chargers

The Chiefs will be without Charvarius Ward and Alex Okafor in Week 2.

The Kansas City Chiefs have made it official: they will be without starting cornerback Charvarius Ward and defensive end Alex Okafor on Sunday afternoon when they suit up to face the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2.

The Chiefs saw both players leave during their season-opening win in primetime against the Houston Texans in Week 1, a dominant 34-20 win that left them hurting on defense without those key players. Defensive tackle Khalen Saunders also left that game with an elbow injury, but it was made clear previously already that he would be missing Week 2.

Ward is the biggest loss for the Chiefs given how inexperienced and thin the secondary already is, especially at cornerback. Bashaud Breeland is the elder statesman of the group, but he’s out for the first four weeks of the season due to a suspension. Ward is the other primary starter outside, so now the Chiefs are down CB1 and CB2 against the Chargers.

Fortunately, L.A. is hardly a juggernaut offensively and the Chiefs are a bit lucky in the timing of Ward’s injury in that way. Tyrod Taylor had issues moving the chains against a lesser Cincinnati Bengals defense in Week 1 and that’s with targets like Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Keenan Allen. The playbook will certainly open up more for him in Week 2, but the Chiefs might dodge a bullet here, so to speak.

In Ward’s absence, the Chiefs will once again likely feature rookie corner L’Jarius Sneed on one boundary and second-year player Rashad Fenton on the other. Tyrann Mathieu can help inside and Antonio Hamilton is also likely to see some reps. It will be interesting to see if seventh round pick Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes earns his first professional snaps in place of some of these injuries.

As for Okafor, the Chiefs have a nice amount of depth at defensive end, which means Tanoh Kpassagnon, Michael Danna, Taco Charlton and others will have a chance to show what they can do in his absence. A hamstring injury kept him out of practice all week and no timeline on his return has been given thus far.

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