If Chiefs coach Andy Reid wrote out his objectives for his team’s exhibition opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, they would probably look something like this:
Get everybody some playing time.
Play the veterans enough to get them back into game mode.
Escape with zero serious injuries.
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Achieving the first goal on that list, Reid said, is essential as he the Chiefs try to do right by all of the 90 players on the roster.
“Not everybody can make the team,” Reid said. “So, if they don’t make this team, they can have some tape out there that they can show — and you want good tape for them, so they have an opportunity to make it somewhere else.”
To that end, it’s up to the coaching staff to not only give players the snaps needed to get that “good tape,” but also put them in position to show what they can do. This presents a bit of a quandary, because NFL coaches — the careful bunch that they are — are averse to revealing any money plays or tendencies in games that do not count.
“Really, the bottom line in any preseason game and really this first one, you want to keep it simple,” offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “You want to let the guys play fast and execute. We’ve thrown a lot at them in these first two weeks of camp, and now we can kind of cut it down and streamline it to give them an opportunity to play fast.”
From there, Pederson said, the coaches are only demanding the basics from their players.
“We want to see the effort, and we want to see the hustle,” Pederson said. “We don’t go into this with big game plans and all that. We just want to see our guys execute our offense — it doesn’t matter who is out on that field.”
Still, both Pederson — a former quarterback — and Reid, a former quarterbacks coach — are both offense-first guys at heart, so expect them to keep a close eye on the quarterback position, in particular. Reid has already said that starter Alex Smith and backups Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray will each get a quarter to show their stuff Thursday.
Smith said the Chiefs have been working on their full playbook throughout training camp, but have done that with the knowledge that a significant portion of it won’t be used against the Bengals.
“The first preseason game, it is always going to get tailored back a little bit — (that’s) to be expected because you want the focus to be on execution,” Smith said. “You want guys to play fast. We’ve got younger guys, we’ve got new guys, and you want guys to go out there and be comfortable with what’s getting called.”
But while the number of plays they call — and for whom they are called, by the way — on offense Thursday remains to be seen, Smith made it clear that the Chiefs’ objective is a simple one.
“Score some points, be effective,” Smith said. “You’re not game-planning for any of this stuff, you are going out and playing. You’re not sure what they are going to show. You’re not sure what you’re showing. So it is a little different.
“But no question, you’re strapping the pads on, you’re putting the jersey on, you are expected to go out there and play well. That’s the mind-set, certainly for us, and to go win. Certainly the mind-set is to go out there and play well and to get after them.”
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