Every team has a different approach to the NFL preseason. Namely, the challenge for coaches (and the questions for fans in attendance) is how much will a franchise allow their starters to participate in preseason games.
These days, each team plays only three preseason exhibitions before hitting the 17-game regular season slate.
For some teams, there's an emphasis placed on getting everyone ready for Week 1 by allowing them to play a ton of reps, to get used to the speed and the action, to feel the hits and deliver some hits of their own.
The Kansas City Chiefs made another road trip to the desert for a preseason matchup with the Cardinals on Saturday.
For other teams, there's an emphasis on player safety, a caution that guards the roster for the majority of these games in the hopes that the team can enter the regular season gauntlet with as few injury concerns as possible.
For the Kansas City Chiefs, the answer or the approach is found somewhere in the balance between the two. In the first preseason game, the Chiefs only allowed their starters to play a single series on offense and just a bit more on defense, with various players proving to be an exception here and there as demanded.
For the second game, head coach Andy Reid has stated that his starters—including Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce—will be given a much greater leash in this second preseason game against the Cardinals. He detailed his plan for reporters earlier this week.
"As far as the playing time goes for this coming game, the ones will go for a half and then we'll mix in the twos and threes in the third quarter," Reid said. "Obviously, there are things that happen during the game — don't hold me accountable if we pull people out whenever."
Of course, if Reid feels like someone is trying to play through pain or he needs more time, he and his staff will vary the plan for a player accordingly.
As for the third game, the Chiefs almost always allow the players who are fighting for the last few active roster spots to exhibit what they can do for a full game, so this will be Chiefs Kingdom's best bet of seeing Mahomes and this offense do their thing before hosting the Detroit Lions in the season-opener on September 7.