The Chiefs visit the Seattle Seahawks in the third preseason game, the most important coaches say, because starters play longer. The game, at CenturyLink Field, kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday and will be televised nationally on CBS (KCTV Channel 5 in Kansas City). It’s the first game on the network in the preseason and was to be the broadcasting debut of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but he will miss the game after the birth of his third son.
Andy Reid said the starters are expected to play the first three quarters but he’s pulled Alex Smith earlier than expected in the first two preseason games. Could Patrick Mahomes get more than one series with the starters? The starting offense scored a touchdown on its only possession against the 49ers in the opener, and scored two touchdowns and a field goal in three possessions last week at Cincinnati. But this will be the most difficult test, going against a team that has allowed the fewest points and yards in the NFL over the past three seasons.
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Eric Berry and the secondary
He’s missed the first two games recovering from a heel injury sustained in training camp, but Berry has been practicing this week and is expected to participate (as are defensive linemen Chris Jones and Roy Miller). Phillip Gaines started at right cornerback against the Bengals. The Chiefs wanted to see him work against A.J. Green. Reid said he liked how Gaines played after battling injuries much of his career. “I thought it was great work for him,” Reid said. “He came out feeling pretty good physically and he kept battling which was beautiful to watch.”
The in crowd at inside linebacker
Ramik Wilson has started the two games next to Derrick Johnson, but there’s a crowd at the position with the likes of Justin March-Lillard, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Josh Mauge and Ukeme Eligwe. “Competition is always going to help you, and you’re going to need layers throughout the course of the year,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said.
The line grew by one healthier body this week when Parker Ehinger came off the physically unable to perform list. Ehinger started four games last season and was making progress before he tore knee ligaments. Zach Fulton took his spot at left guard, and in training camp Bryan Witzmann replaced Fulton. If nothing else, the Chiefs have developed depth there and Fulton is probably the team’s most versatile lineman.
MVP of the preseason? It could be the tight end who owns 27 receptions and two touchdowns in his three-year career. Harris caught a scoring pass from Smith and Mahomes last weekend, and after leading the NFL in percentage of passes dropped last season, has done a much better job concentrating on receptions. “He’s had a good camp,” Reid said. “He’s worked a ton on catching the football in tight areas. I’m looking forward to how he plays this season, and he has come a long way.”