On an NFL roster, only a quarterback would be entering his fifth season and not have appeared in a regular-season game.
That’s why preseason games are as eagerly anticipated by reserve quarterbacks as anybody.
So it is with Tyler Bray, who signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2013 — Andy Reid’s first season in Kansas City.
Bray has appeared in eight preseason games in his Chiefs career. As a second teamer, he’s scheduled to play the second quarter of Friday night’s preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is 8 p.m.
“You just have to control what you can control,” Bray said. “When you have an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it.”
Bray has worked behind Alex Smith throughout his career, and the 2017 season sets up that way. A new dynamic to the position occurred in April when the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in the first round.
Mahomes is acknowledged as the franchise’s future quarterback and is scheduled to play the third quarter on Friday. Where does that leave Bray?
It likely depends on Mahomes’ path. If the Chiefs elevate Mahomes to second team for the regular season, Bray will assume the familiar role — third on the depth chart — and find it difficult to gain playing time.
If he remains behind only Smith, regular season playing time is likely. Smith has appeared in all 16 games only once as a member of the Chiefs.
Bray is in the final year of his contract, one that was extended in 2015 for two years, and he’s done what’s asked of him. Bray said his objective for the game is to “execute the offense the way the coach wants it.”
But it’s easier than in earlier years.
“I feel more comfortable,” Bray said. “I’m going up, making checks, getting in and out of the huddle quickly and executing plays.”
Bray has had some good moments in training camp. Tuesday, he hit running back C.J. Spiller in stride down the sideline on a long wheel route for a touchdown.
“He throws a good deep ball, but there are other things he does well,” Reid said. “He is good with the short, intermediate game. He’s not fast but he is athletic enough where he can move and run our movement game outside the pocket.”
Another integral part of Bray’s game is patience. He spent his first three seasons taking practice snaps behind Smith and Chase Daniel. In 2016, Daniel signed with the Eagles and the Chiefs picked up veteran Nick Foles to backup Smith.
But Bray won out over Aaron Murray and rookie Kevin Hogan, a fifth-round draft pick from Stanford, to hold down a spot on the 53-man roster last season.
Injuries haven’t helped. In 2015, Bray spent the 2014 season in injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury in the final preseason game and missed 2015 training camp recovering from an ACL injury.
He played in two preseason games last season, starting the final against the Packers and after a slow start completed 10 of 17 passes for 104 yards.
“Last year, I was a little excited coming off the injury,” Bray said. “I was a little fired up the first couple of throws. Hopefully this year, I should be more relaxed and able to go out and execute.”