It is finally gameday in Chiefs Kingdom. The Chiefs open the preseason tonight against the San Francisco 49ers. It is only the preseason, but Chiefs players have been beating up on each other in training camp for weeks. The Chiefs coaches will be looking at what to improve on for next week and they will be watching some players more than others. Here are some questions fans may be wondering going into tonight’s game.
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How much will Patrick Mahomes play?
Assuming Alex Smith doesn’t play more than one series to open the game, Mahomes could split most of the game with Tyler Bray. Mahomes is actually listed third on the depth chart behind Bray. Even though he is battling Bray for the backup role, Mahomes wasn’t drafted by the Chiefs to hold a clipboard for a long time. In training camp, Mahomes has seen success in red zone drills, deep balls, and being able to throw accurately on the run. Mahomes has been all the talk around Kansas City, now he gets his first real game action.
How healthy will the Chiefs be?
One of the bad things in the preseason is trying to avoid terrible injuries, while getting game reps to prepare for the season. Most of the starters that have been banged up in training camp have been monitored well by the trainers and most of them are not battling that bad of injuries. The temperature will be around 80 for the game, so that will help keep the playing surface in good shape. The playing surface has been big around the NFL for injuries in the past. Hopefully, all goes well tonight.
What’s the next play Tyreek Hill will put on his highlight reel?
With the release of Jeremy Maclin, Tyreek Hill has earned the number one wide receiver position. The work that Hill has put in in the weight room and on the practice field has looked good on film. The film of his work at training camp has looked exceptional against the Chiefs defense. If Hill is in the game, there is a pretty good chance that he has a play that is one of the best of the night.
What defensive player(s) will catch Bob Sutton’s eye?
Bob Sutton is an enforcing defensive coordinator. Sutton is not shy to change his mind on a player that is not playing to his standards. The Chiefs have a lot of position battles on the defensive side of the ball, and Sutton’s aggressiveness he instills in his players will be visible multiple times tonight.
Can the penalties be held to a minimum?
Another knock on the preseason is the amount of penalties. The amount of penalties in a single NFL game can get ridiculous. But, with these younger players and rookies, some of the penalties will be a learning moment.
The Chiefs have a goal that they have been inching closer and closer to in recent years. The road to that goal all starts tonight. The game will not count for their record, but the Chiefs will learn a lot from this game.
Braden Holecek covers the Chiefs for cover32. You can follow him on Twitter here.