The Chiefs have now played their second pre-season game, coming away with a 24 to 14 victory over the Washington Commanders. Here are five takeaways from the team’s win.
The Chiefs Offense Will Be Just Fine Without Tyreek Hill
The talk all offseason is about just how dynamic the Chiefs offense be without Tyreek Hill. Well, through two pre-season games we have a pretty good idea. The offense is certainly different, but that doesn’t mean worse. If anything the offense looks somehow even better than before.
We haven’t even gotten a good look at Juju Smith-Schuster yet, but the rest of the new and returning players are proving their worth. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is showing a connection with Mahomes already, and Jody Fortson has been on fire in the pre-season.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprises have been Justin Watson and Isiah Pacheco. Watson has not only had a great camp but has been lighting up the world in the pre-season. Pacheco is hoping to create a dynamic duo with fellow running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Mahomes and the @Chiefs offense are rolling! There's @jwat05 for a big gain. 📺: #WASvsKC on @NFLNetwork 📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/tpy3uNZRe7 pic.twitter.com/ppFTA4klXK — NFL (@NFL) August 20, 2022
Patrick Mahomes Looks Even Better Than We’ve Seen So Far
There are those who are still reeling from Mahomes’ epic playoff collapse, but he has shown it hasn’t affected him. Three pre-season drives, three touchdowns. It’s clear that Mahomes has put the past behind him and is ready to lead this team on another deep playoff run.
Many “sports analysts” believed Mahomes would experience a big dropoff this season without Hill, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. If anything the balance added to the offense will only make him better.
Mahomes ➡️ Gray pic.twitter.com/bPVN2WyS0m — Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 20, 2022
Mahomes already looks to be in mid-season form and will be in contention for his second MVP award. It’s hard to imagine that Mahomes could get even better, but we may be witnessing the next evolution of Patrick Mahomes.
This angle of the Mahomes sidearm throw 😱pic.twitter.com/Kyc4HAVtL4 — NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 20, 2022
George Karlaftis Is Relentless And Should Be A Welcome Addition
Trent McDuffie may yet prove to be the Chiefs’ best draft choice in 2022, but right now the spotlight is on edge rusher George Karlaftis. Karlaftis has a sack now in both of his pre-season appearances, and both were on plays he refused to give up on.
George Karlaftis got doubled, held & still got the sack🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/hPjCK5xM27 — Braiden Turner (@bturner23) August 20, 2022
The Chiefs desperately needed someone to step up on the defensive line this offseason, and their first-round rookie is bringing the juice. Even if Karlaftis is currently listed behind Mike Danna on the depth chart, it’s hard to imagine Karlaftis not playing significant snaps for the defense this season.
Karlaftis may be a sleeper pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year for gambling folks. Playing next to Chris Jones may provide plenty of one-on-one opportunities for the rookie to shine. The “Greek Freak” looks to have a promising career ahead of him in Kansas City.
The Chiefs Defense Looks Different, And Not In A Bad Way
The Chiefs’ defensive unit has undergone quite the makeover this offseason, but it seems to have come out on top. The unit is younger and quicker across the board, and it shows. The first team held the Commander’s first-team offense scoreless, and the second unit held them for a drive as well.
The linebacking core specifically looks to be one of the best units in the NFL. Nick Bolton continues to improve, and Willie Gay is primed for a breakout season. Rookie Leo Chenal will have to earn snaps in this talented group.
The defensive back group is also exciting. A mixture of veterans and rookies, but not a single player over 26 years old. I expect some headaches because of this group throughout the season, but the upside of this unit is elite.
Former Chiefs Fan-FavoriteS Become Prime Cut Candidates
At the end of last season, we saw a fan-favorite player emerge in Derrick Gore. Many, including myself, called for Gore to get a bigger share in the offense. However, less than a year later it looks like Gore will be on the practice squad at best.
Gore had an alright training camp but has been having an awful pre-season. Pacheco has stolen the spotlight and isn’t letting it go. The Chiefs likely want Gore back on the practice squad, but it seems unlikely he gets any snaps outside of special teams this season, barring injury of course.
With the emergence of Justin Watson, Josh Gordon also seems likely to be cut. Even Ronald Jones who signed to the team this offseason could be cut or traded. It’s unfortunate for the players but just shows how deep the Chiefs are at skill positions.
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