Andy Reid made the right decision resting key starters
This lesson is similar to our previous one, as it harps on the importance of health heading into the playoffs.
The Chiefs did not escape from Week 17 unscathed. Promising young cornerback DeAndre Baker suffered a broken femur, which was devastating for the young man. As mentioned before, Willie Gay, a rookie linebacker who has emerged as a key contributor on defense, also went down with a leg/ankle injury. Starting corner Rashad Fenton reportedly injured both of his ankles as well.
NFL teams do not have the positional depth to rest every single starter, so even in a “rest game”, a handful of starters are going to see playing time, so we knew going into this game that some starters would be playing.
The injuries to Gay and Baker, especially Baker given the severity, show the wisdom in Andy Reid’s decision to rest the majority of starters. The risk of injury to any core players, and especially to Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill, simply outweighs the benefit of getting a few reps in before the two-week break.
The injury to Baker was a sobering reminder of the tragic side of football. The nature of the NFL is such that injuries happen in a split-second. Just last year, Chiefs Kingdom will undoubtedly remember the scary instant when one minute Mahomes is lining up for a QB sneak and the next, he’s grabbing his knee. I would far rather have a healthy core of players be a little out of sync for a couple series than the alternative.
While the Chiefs did not use Week 17 as a way to polish-up on offense, injuries to Gay and Baker show why the choice to invest in the health of team was the correct one—the choice that puts them in the best spot to repeat. The alternative of an injury to Mahomes, Kelce or Hill is simply so much worse than a few uneven minutes of play at the start of the game.