Generally preseason for the most part isn’t really much of a litmus test for the team, but there are always takeaways or signs of life from the back end players, plus it is always nice to see where players stand with the coaching staff that has been working with them hands on all spring and summer.
This is the time of the year when you look for who could be the next camp body that turns out to be a hidden gem like Terrell Davis or to see if some of the training camp hype coming out of St. Joseph is real a la Tyreek Hill’s rookie year. If a player makes a few plays during one game against back-ups/vanilla schemes it means nothing- but if they continually dominate against sub-starter talent then they might be in the process of carving out some sort of role.
- Rookie WR Mecole Hardman showed quickly why Kansas City made the draft day trade to move up in the second round to select him. He caught a few balls and took an end around shovel pass for 17 yards and a touchdown. The production was decent for a young player, but the real takeaway comes from watching Hardman move in and out of his cuts. He looks like a more polished Tyreek Hill (without the top end potential of Hill) during his rookie campaign and will be a good contributor to this offense even week
- Rookie RB Darwin Thompson made his presence known as well, looking like one of the strongest 195 pounders I have watched in the league. He is built thickly and has a great balance after contact, breaking numerous tackles in a very physical way. He also caught a ball out of the backfield and scored a 29 yard touchdown, looking like he was back in college. That play was the epitome of what Thompson could provide early for the Chiefs.
- Limited action, but Blake Bell proved he could possibly be the answer to the calls for more and better tight end depth. He showed he has the ability to run after the catch and replace some of the raw athleticism that Demetrius Harris previously employed in the offense. Deon Yelder also had a nice touchdown, but against back ups and in a real game he would have gotten hit a lot harder before he made it into the end zone. It would still not hurt to be on the look out for another veteran tight end to add.
- Corner still looks to be a weakness, but not necessarily one that couldn’t be hidden by strong play in the front 7 and smart play calling. Herb Miller is as fringe of a player as they come on this roster, but he looked like he belonged in this league and I hope he pushes for more time over guys like D’montre Wade. Kendall Fuller only played for 4 series, but he looked decent. He played longer than most of the other starters, which leads me to believe this coaching staff is being tough on him to bring his play to another level.
- Possibly the biggest takeaway from this game would be just the team as a whole. I have never seen a Chiefs team receive this much offseason hype, so I was naturally a bit worried that they would rest on their laurels and underachieve compared to 2018. The team chemistry looked BETTER last night, even without major starters playing on defense. The offense looks like it has not missed a beat and is returning all but one starter. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have this team ready to roll into 2019 and steam roll the whole league.