The Chiefs begin preseason play tonight against the San Francisco 49ers. After a disappointing finish to last season, the team is eager to go. Despite a rough offseason, the Chiefs come in to 2017 hopeful. Many fans anticipate the debut of first round pick Patrick Mahomes. Others want to see what the receiving core will look like. Let’s take a look at all things Chiefs here ahead of the first game of preseason.
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The biggest story, of course, revolves around Patrick Mahomes. He continues to impress at camp, and fans want a piece of real game action. Mahomes has the arm strength to make any throw, but the key will reside in footwork and progressions. If he can keep growing in those areas, there’s no limit to his potential.
Now, no matter what happens tonight, we can’t take his first performance as gospel. Rookie quarterbacks cannot be judged by one performance. It takes time to determine whether or not a quarterback will succeed.
What else is on tap for tonight? Jeremy Maclin is gone, but the wide receiver position won’t suffer too much. Tyreek Hill looks ready to take on the number one role. But, he isn’t the only one on the rise. Demarcus Robinson and Seantavius Jones both continue to make strides in camp, and one of them could end up getting solid playing time this season. But, they will have to continue dominating to prove themselves.
The Chiefs offensive line is another headline for tonight. While they are young, the time is now. A tough test exists tonight against the 49ers. Their front seven presents a challenge, and the line needs to live up to it.
The young and up-and-coming defenders, Chris Jones and Dee Ford, are important to the Chiefs going forward. Ford showed his promise as a pass rusher last season, and Chris Jones looked good on the interior. Kansas City expects a lot from Jones this season as a run defender. He should get help with the addition of Bennie Logan, but one player does not a defense make.
Lastly, plenty of players look to secure a roster spot this preseason. Guys like the receivers mentioned above are among those players. CJ Spiller is another on the bubble. With two established runners and a rookie in camp, Spiller has to make a big impression to stay here. If he can recapture his form, he has a shot. Justin March-Lillard is another on the bubble right now. With rookie Ukeme Eligwe on the rise, March-Lillard needs to show up big in the preseason, especially on special teams.
The talk is cheap. It’s time to get on the field.
Jake Schyvinck is the managing editor for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.