Kansas City’s Risers and Fallers Heading Into Preseason Finale

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Friday Night was a disappointing dress rehearsal for the Chiefs. Losing 26-13 to the Seattle Seahawks, they proved to be sloppy (14 penalties for 126 yards, 2 fumbles, and numerous drops), disjointed, and appeared to be out of sync. Spencer Ware also left the game in the first quarter with a non-contact knee injury. Feared at first to be a torn ACL, Andy Reid announced that it was only a sprained knee, later to de determined a torn PCL that will likely require season ending surgery. Gaining just 102 yards was the first team offense, and led by an oft-hurried Alex Smith, who didn’t score once. In fact, their only touchdown came off a 95-yard kick return by De’Anthony Thomas. Kicker Sam Ficken converted two of three field goal attempts, and despite a loss that brought many fans back to reality after hearing championship aspirations from media and players, they escaped with plenty of teaching tape as they prepare to take on the New England Patriots on September 7.

Three games in, and Kansas City sits 1-2. They’ve scored 60 points and allowed 65, both first in the AFC West this pre-season. Alex Smith isn’t losing his job anytime soon, and had actually looked quite good up until Seattle. The bad news? Smith needs more time with these receivers. The good news? They won’t play a Seattle-caliber defense for a few more weeks. The starters will play very little, if at all next week against Tennessee, so we probably won’t see Smith again until the real thing kicks off. I think Smith understands that while this is still his offense, the clock is ticking. This is the best team he’ll ever be on (potential options in 2018 when/if the Chiefs move on are NOT pretty. Jets? Browns? Bills? Bears? Cardinals?) Smith must play every play this season like it’s last.

RISER: Rookie QB Patrick Mahomes has quickly raced ahead and appears to have secured the back-up spot. After being listed as the QB3 throughout camp and the first game, he jumped to QB2 before the game against Cincinnati. The Bengals witnessed vintage Mahomes: accurate and mobile with a killer arm. Against Seattle, he came down to earth a little (who wouldn’t), but still displayed the keen that made him a star at Texas Tech. Even if he’s not scoring touchdowns, every snap is important in his development. He seems to be handling the offense quite well, and he’s yet to throw an interception this pre-season.

RISER: Rookie RB Kareem Hunt got to play with the ones last week, and he responded with 63 scrimmage yards on 11 touches. On Friday Night, with Ware missing time, he gained 39 yards on 9 carries. Reid announced Hunt would start with Ware out, so it’s his time to shine. He’s displayed good feet with a taste of quickness and power.

FALLER: Veteran Charcandrick West, save for a blistering second half against the Bengals, has looked out of place. His struggles continued against the Seahawks, as he rushed for -1 yards on 3 carries. Even catching up to him is the 30-year old C.J Spiller, who may have beaten out West had Reid elected to keep just three of the four backs prior to Ware going down, since he can also play pecial teams. (He had 2 kick returns for 54 yards against Seattle).

RISER: De’Anthony Thomas wouldn’t have made this article after last week, but with a 95-yard score against Seattle he deserves mentioning. With just 47 career catches, he is no lock to make this roster. Then again, he also boasts 632 punt return yards, 904 kick return yards, and even 176 rushing yards. He’s a special player when healthy. Never to be an every-down threat, Thomas adds juice to any squad. His non-offensive skills keeps him ahead of other receivers we’ve seen this pre-season like Gehrig Dieter and Marcus Kemp.

FALLER(S): Backup offensive linemen were called for six penalties against Seattle. Plain and simple, I’m hoping the starting lineup of Fisher-LDT-Morse-Fulton/Ehinger-Schwartz doesn’t miss too many games. But, we have Cam Erving now, so that’ll help.

RISER(S): Devante Bausby recorded an interception and pass deflection. Kenneth Acker recorded two of the latter, and both looked at home shutting down Seahawks receivers time after time. With Philip Gaines and D.J White struggling (severely would be an understatement), there could be some new faces in the KC secondary come Week One. Against Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandin Cooks they will need corners that can cover in their man-heavy scheme.

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