Chiefs

Who’s on the bubble and other questions for Chiefs entering their final preseason game

Five questions for the Chiefs visit the Green Bay Packers on Thursday in the fourth and final preseason game. Kickoff is 7 p.m., and game will be broadcast on Channel 5.

Who plays?

Not the starters. The fourth preseason game is for the next 22 and beyond.

But you never know who might flash and pop up later in the season. In the fourth preseason game of 2018, third-team running back Damien Williams got the start and fourth-team Darrel Williams was the team’s leading rusher. In last season’s playoffs, they were the Chiefs’ first- and second-string running backs.

Also not playing in this one is Matt Moore, the reserve quarterback signed earlier this week when Chad Henne was lost to an ankle injury. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Kyle Shurmur and Chase Litton will each play a half.

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“It gives these two kids an opportunity to go out and display what they are and who they are,” offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. “I’m excited. I’m sure they’re excited.”

What’s next?

For players on the bubble, this is the last chance to make an impression. And then the waiting begins. Now at 90, NFL rosters must be down to 53 players by 3 p.m. Saturday.

Teams can begin signing players to their 10-man practice squads on Sunday. Most of the squad will consist of players who were cut from the team’s roster.

Who exactly is on the bubble?

The Chiefs have a good idea about their 53. For those of us in the guesswork business, it comes down to how many players they’ll keep at certain positions: six or seven wide receivers, with Byron Pringle and Cody Thompson in the mix, and eight or nine offensive linemen, with Khalil McKenzie’s status perhaps at stake.

And who among cornerbacks Herb Miller, D’Montre Wade and Mark Fields makes the cut?

Others at or near the cut line could be defensive tackle Justin Hamilton, linebacker Dorian O’Daniel and tight end Nick Keizer.

When will Mahomes face Rodgers?

Sooner rather than later. Typically teams that meet in the preseason don’t play during the regular season. That’s not the case here. The Chiefs and Packers will tangle at Arrowhead.

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Could this be the final Preseason Week 4?

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the preseason could be shortened by one or two games as part of a new collective bargaining agreement between owners and the NFL Players Association. The revenue of a lost preseason game or two would be made up by extended the regular season — 17 or 18 games, instead of the current 16 — or expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams.

Momentum to reduce the preseason schedule has increased this year. More teams are sitting starters for longer stretches than in previous preseasons. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has appeared in just five series in the team’s first three preseason games.

This will mark the second straight year the Rams haven’t played their starters at all in the preseason. Did sitting the starters affect that team last season? Not really. The Rams won the NFC and played in the Super Bowl.

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