Three important questions for KC Chiefs at this stage of preseason

The Kansas City Chiefs returned to Glendale, Arizona — the site of their Super Bowl LVII victory —on Saturday night. The defending world champions bested the Arizona Cardinals 38-10 in their second preseason game and several questions have emerged as the league's roster cutdown date approaches.
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages
3 of 3

3. Are we sure La'Mical Perine isn't the team's third running back?

Throughout the offseason, the coaching staff has had nothing but high praise for undrafted rookie running back Deneric Prince. Chiefs' head coach Andy Reid had this to say about Prince following rookie minicamp: "Yeah, I like him. So, he’s a good-looking kid, picked things up well, (his) size – I mean that’s the thing that jumps out at you. Size, strength and he caught the ball well. We knew he could run it. We’ll see how he does once we get to that point. But we’ve seen that on tape."

To Reid's point, there's a lot to like about a back his size with the ability to create chunk plays in this offense. Reports suggest Prince has had an excellent camp taking full advantage of Isiah Pacheco's limited role as he recovers from injury. Through two preseason games, it hasn't shown up consistently in preseason action. Be clear: Prince hasn't played poorly, but he also hasn't given us any reason to think his locking up the final running back spot is a foregone conclusion.

Over the same stretch, La'Mical Perine amassed 65 rushing yards on just 12 carries. That's an average of 5.4 yards per rush. On Saturday, Perine had 41 rushing yards on just six carries. He looked shifty and decisive as a runner. Last week, Perine outsnapped Prince (19 to 17). Perine outsnapped him again on Saturday night (16 to 14). That's a negligible difference, but reports this week coming out of the final week of training camp were that Perine also saw more opportunities in practice.

I originally believed Prince could cement his position with a solid showing as the team's kick returner. He's been largely unsuccessful on returns, so that places a larger emphasis on his offensive value. At the moment, you'd be hard pressed to argue that Perine doesn't appear the more valuable offensive piece.

There's time still for Prince to secure his spot on the roster, but this competition may be closer than anyone thinks. Prince's saving grace might be that Perine's a third-year player who has yet to truly establish himself in the NFL. All other things being equal, the coaching staff may decide a younger player has the most upside moving forward.

With one week remaining in the NFL preseason, we're sure to get answers to some of these questions. I suspect the Chiefs' preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns will set the stage for a final showdown at each of these respective positions. It's not often that young players have made personnel decisions this difficult for the Kansas City coaching staff. There will be one or two extremely tough choices for them to make over the next 10 days.