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Who will be the Chiefs’ Backup Quarterback and 3rd QB for Week 1?

Who will be the backup for Week 1?

Chiefs QBs
Chiefs quarterbacks (from left) Chris Oladokun, Shane Buechele, Patrick Mahomes and Blaine Gabbert stand at training camp last month at Missouri Western in St. Joseph. (Photo by: Associated Press)

Finally we are here. The preseason is over and roster cuts are being made. This year’s Season opener will feature a matchup between two star quarterbacks as Patrick Mahomes leads the Defending World Champion Kansas City Chiefs against Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions. Hopefully nothing happens to these two incredible talents, that’s what preseason is for especially for a backup quarterback. Chad Henne was Mahomes’ primary backup and briefly filled in for the injured starter when he went down in the Divisional Round vs the Jaguars with an ankle injury. The Chiefs have 3 options in mind that provide talent and experience but make it tough for Chiefs GM Brett Veach and staff to decide who gives them the best chance of winning the game.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the Chiefs’ backup QB situation before the final roster cut down.

Who is the Chiefs’ Backup Quarterback for the Week 1?

The Chiefs have three other quarterbacks on its roster besides Patrick Mahomes that have to decide from. At the beginning of the preseason it appeared that Blaine Gabbert was set to be Mahomes’ incumbent backup, then Shane Buechele put on a show in the last two weeks before Juan Thornhill ruined his chances when returned a pick 6 off of a Buechele pass in the Chiefs 33-32 preseason finale win over the Browns.

Though the Chiefs lost Henne to retirement, Gabbert, a former top-10 pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, won a ring with Tampa Bay in the 2020 season playing behind Tom Brady brings another veteran fill-in option to the fold as the team’s top backup. He’s played in the NFL since 2011, spending time with four different franchises and logging 48 starts across 10 active seasons. Across his combined 67 games played, Gabbert has recorded career numbers of 9,302 passing yards, 51 touchdowns and 47 interceptions. Beyond Mahomes and Gabbert, there’s no NFL experience at the position. 

Across his 3 preseason games played, Gabbert has recorded 348 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 interceptions and a 123.5 passer rating (highest of his preseason career via PFF). Gabbert isn’t an immediate starter but a reliable backup quarterback who’s going to make his fair share of mistakes like when he entered the game and led a touchdown drive near the end of the first half but also threw a pick-six to end the half at 29-16. I think Gabbert could be the primary backup because of his mental processing ability to read coverages and competitiveness.

Who is the Chiefs’ 3rd Quarterback (Surprise Backup over Gabbert) for Week 1?

Could there be someone else in the works to be named backup over Gabbert? If not, who will be the one that will QB3? Shane Buechele, served as the Chiefs’ third-string QB. However, he hasn’t played in a single NFL game since going undrafted in 2021. 

Buechele got the chance to solidify his chance to become the QB2 when he started at quarterback for Patrick Mahomes in the Browns game and had two interceptions (The first interception was to former Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill who returned it for a touchdown) on two of his first three drives against the Browns’ first-string defense and second-string defense.

Buechele came back after those interceptions to lead a nine-play touchdown drive against the Browns’ second-string defense that ended with a fade to wide receiver Justyn Ross. Buechele ended the day with a TD, two picks and 89 yards on 8 for 17 passing. 

His first year, Buechele was a developmental backup who needed to use a season or two to learn behind an experienced veteran like Mahomes. By year three he can potentially become a low tier starter in the right situation, but will likely be a spot starter/career QB2 like Gabbert but after Saturday’s game, Buechele could stay as QB3 or the Chiefs shock the world and trade him to backup QB needy team.

The Chiefs also carry a QB who was on their 2022 practice squad in Chris Oladokun. The 26-year-old hasn’t suited up in the NFL yet, but he played quarterback at South Florida, Samford and South Dakota State in college.

Some people easily see Oladokun as a practice squad candidate but after his interception against the Saints where people wrote him off, Oladokun displayed some Mahomes-like ability to deceptively look one way and bounce, look to the opposite side of the field and throw in one smooth motion in the last two weeks. 

A threat to take off on designed QB runs and when the pocket breaks down. As displayed in both the Saints and Cardinals games, Oladokun kept his eyes downfield despite tendency to takeoff. If the Chiefs decide to keep Oladokun as a QB3, I think it’s because he’s more “pro-ready” than most evaluators consider him to be. By year three I expect him to be a mid level backup/spot starter thriving with his passing and running ability.


Chiefs keep two backups in Gabbert and Buechele with Oladokun back on the practice squad but don’t be surprised based on his two performances in preseason play, if he’s earned a roster spot as QB3.

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