Patrick Mahomes, Running Backs Headline Chiefs-Titans Questions

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Aug 19, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) runs long during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 19, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) runs long during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans for the final preseason game on Thursday night. Like the Chiefs, the Titans have some potential to be one of the better teams of the AFC. The Titans have plenty of weapons on offense, but their defense is sustainable as well. Last week, the Chiefs lost in Seattle, and the Titans lost at home against the Chicago Bears. Here are five questions heading into this final exhibition.


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Will Patrick Mahomes continue to have a good showing?

This will be the last that we will see of Mahomes for a while, as far as in-game action, as Alex Smith will start in week one. Half of the drives the Chiefs offense have scored on in the preseason, have been drives anchored by Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes poise and confidence is good to see for fans in Kansas City. For example, last week there was a play where Mahomes stood in the pocket, fired a dart between three Seahawks defenders on the sideline, and he didn’t even step into the throw. Mahomes did that knowing he was about to get creamed by a blitzing defender. Mahomes will get his first start this week as well, because Alex Smith will not be playing.

What can fans expect from Reggie Ragland?

The Chiefs acquired Ragland in a trade with the Buffalo Bills on Monday. Ragland provides some depth at inside linebacker, which the Chiefs have been trying to accumulate for the last few years. Ragland was touted by some as a potential first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but slipped to the second round and fell into Buffalo’s arms. On tape, Ragland has an aggressive nature, which suits the Chiefs perfectly. At times he may miss a tackle, but he is still learning how to play in the NFL. Not a bad potential replacement for Derrick Johnson in the middle of the defense. Ragland missed all of the 2016 regular season with a torn ACL, but managed to get some reps in the preseason.

Who will step up at cornerback for the Chiefs?

With Terrance Mitchell dealing with injuries, there is an opportunity at stake for the second cornerback spot. Phillip Gaines had a good start to his career, but this preseason most teams have had success when throwing at him. Steven Nelson is more of a slot corner, so he could start outside, but the Chiefs need another lockdown type of guy opposite of Marcus Peters. This was a position going into the season that had some questions, and going into the final preseason game, a few questions need to be answered.

What’s next for the running backs?

Last week, Spencer Ware was injured and it looks like he will be out for the season. The injury has been labeled as a PCL tear. Ware had become a successful player in the Chiefs backfield the last couple of years, and he was rewarded with a new contract recently. It now looks like Kareem Hunt will be the starter, but expect some rotations. Charcandrick West has had some success both rushing and receiving and CJ Spiller is a veteran who has looked impressive during his first training camp with the Chiefs. Andy Reid has said that Hunt will not play against the Titans, so expect West and Spiller to receive a decent amount of carries.

What roster bubble players will stick out?

By now, most of the roster is set for the regular season, but there could always be some late surprises from this game. No doubt, the Chiefs have some positions with plentiful depth. The Chiefs have a smart coaching staff and front office. Will they give any roster bubble players a chance based on a late preseason appearance? This decision may be their biggest question for this game.

I was able to see the Titans play the Chiefs last year at Arrowhead. Seeing Marcus Mariota and others on the Tennessee roster, this would be an exciting matchup if these teams were to face each other in the postseason. These two teams seem similar and hopefully the final dress rehearsal goes well before the Patriots game next week.

Braden Holecek covers the Chiefs for cover32. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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