Chiefs Backups to Get Extensive Playing Time in Preseason Opener vs. Bengals

Matt Derrick

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Chiefs head coach Andy Reid maintains a familiar philosophy to playing time in preseason games, and that tradition should continue in the team's opener Saturday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, with all four quarterbacks and every healthy player getting a shot on the field. “I do it by quarterback, so Pat (Mahomes)'s got the first quarter, then Chad (Henne) the second quarter, (Kyle) Shurmur the third quarter and Chase (Litton) the fourth quarter, and the guys fall in,” Reid said. “Everybody will play in the game. Don't expect the Chiefs to have an extravagant game plan, however. Scouting opponents and creating a customized plan of attack isn't the priority. “The main thing is that we get some of the young guys some play time,” Reid said. “You normally cut down the game plan a little bit for this and just take some of the stuff, the easier plays that you've run during camp, and let them go out and play.” Reid treats training camp and the preseason as an opportunity to focus on what the offense, defense and special teams need to work on. While the playbook might be streamlined, it's an opportunity for all three phases to take the schemes, concepts and coverages cultivated during training camp and apply them against an unfamiliar opponent. “I think most teams are that way, most teams come out and they're just trying to let their guys play and try to evaluate the young guys so that you don't miss on a guy, or you at least narrow that possibility of missing on a guy down,” Reid said. Evaluating players is the best part of the preseason for the head coach, and why the games remain a critical factor in determining who makes the 53-player roster for Week 1. “That part of the preseason I enjoy, getting the young guys an opportunity to play and to show,” Reid explained. “Some of those guys look better in games than they do in games, some guys look better in practice than they do games. Inevitably it's got to be how you play in the game.” Reid takes a similar approach each year. The Chiefs began preparation for the start of the preseason with a live practice over the weekend that allowed players to tackle to the ground and simulate a game-day environment. Reid doesn't want his team going into the without having made an actual tackle. “But getting into the game, it will be faster,” he explained. “It will be a little bit faster, and they'll have an opportunity to make more tackles than what you get in a practice. I think that part of it is good.” Last season the first-team offense took the field for just nine plays over two first-quarter drives, with Mahomes completing 5-of-7 passes for 33 yards. For the players, the chance to face a new opponent is invigorating. “When you're here playing against our defense the whole time, of course it's a lot of fun,” Mahomes said. “But whenever you get to go play someone else, you get to fully go, it's live the whole time so you get to see how guys play under the lights. “I'm glad we get to play at Arrowhead so guys get to feel what's like to play at home and how to go out there and excel on our field.”

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