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Chiefs: Ready or Not

Chiefs Preseason 2023 KC Star
The Kansas City Star / Chiefs Focus/ Article By Tommy Minor / @universalchiefs


With the conclusion of the third preseason game versus the Cleveland Browns, the Kansas City Chiefs have come to the conclusion of their preseason.  Now, the time has come to begin the journey to make history as the first repeat Super Bowl champion in over two decades.  Before the Chiefs officially start this chapter, they will need to decide who will make the 53-man roster.  With so much talent infused into this season’s training camp, this will be a difficult task for Andy Reid and Brett Veach.

The position that appears to be the most difficult to make a roster spot for this year’s team is at wide receiver.  For the Chiefs, in last year’s AFC title game, they were down to one starting wide receiver due to injury.  As with the offensive line a few years back, the Chiefs don’t like to be caught unprepared.  So, most critics believe the Chiefs will keep seven wide receivers.  With Kadarius Toney’s injury and return up in the air, seven is a reasonable number for the offense to have.  Also, understanding that injuries will happen throughout the season, the offense must have weapons to surround Mahomes.


Chies Receivers - Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated


The position with the least amount of competition (besides the offensive line) is the defensive line.  Especially, at the defensive tackle position, Kansas City is razor thin with Chris Jones’s holdout and Charles Omenihu’s six-game suspension to start the season.  Also, Tershawn Wharton is coming off an ACL repair and has had lingering issues during training camp.  Who do they turn to?  The late-round rookie defensive tackle Keondre Coburn out of Texas?  I am not sure at this point.  This is the biggest question mark for the Chiefs and the most vulnerable area for team, as well.

The defensive secondary is being viewed as the group that will make the largest strides this season.  Indeed, this may be the case, but be aware of the term sophomore slump.  Do I think this is going to happen?  No.  This should not be the case unless the defensive line struggles to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  If consistent pressure is not created by the defensive line, the secondary will have to defend longer and be put in compromising positions regularly in a conference that is filled with top-tier quarterbacks.  That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success.  So, let’s hope that this does not come to fruition.


Chiefs Cornerbacks - KC ChiefsKansas City Chiefs


The tight end room is full at the moment.  With the number of wide receivers many believe will make the roster, this leaves very little room for tight ends.  Obviously, Travis Kelce is a lock and will take the majority of the snaps on offense.  With Noah Gray entering his third season as the number two tight end, it is safe to say he will continue to lock that position down, as well.  In last year’s preseason, Matt Bushman was a name that seemingly came out of nowhere and appeared to be working his way on the roster before he was injured.  This year, I believe the third tight end position battle is between Blake Bell and Matt Bushman.  It is hard to say who will win this battle.  Bell is more of a blocking tight end and Bushman is more of a receiving tight end.  With that said, I think there will only be three tight ends to make this year’s roster.


Chiefs Tight Ends -ESPN


Again, understanding that the defensive line will be a huge question mark this season, what will be standing behind the defensive line will not be.  Besides the quarterback and tight end groups, the linebacking crew may be the most talented group on the team.  The top four linebacker positions are set in stone (pending any unforeseen injuries).  Nick Bolton, Willie Gay, and Drew Tranquill will be your starting 4-3 linebacker with Leo Chenal being number four.  With that said, I believe they will keep Jack Cochrane as the fifth linebacker, because of his value on special teams and his experience in the Chiefs’ system.


Chiefs Linebackers-Fox 4 KC WDAF-TV
Fox 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV


The last few to make the 53-man roster are typically special teams’ players.  Last season, the Chiefs struggled early on with a massive amount of turnover on their special teams.  They had coverage flaws, struggling returners, and poor tackling.  Also, couple that with a kicker who was hurt during the first game of the season and had to battle back from an injured ankle and the task of rebuilding his confidence.  It does help to have one of the best special teams coaches in the National Football League.


Chiefs Kicker-the kansas city star
The Kansas City Star


This year more than others, it will be important that the Chiefs play complementary football.  Yes, they have the best quarterback and tight end in the game.  Yes, they have one of the best head coaches in the game.  Yes, they are on an historic run as a winning franchise.  This year’s run will be more difficult than last year, because the quarterback play in the conference has never been deeper or better.  The margin for error is as small as it has ever been, and the Chiefs will have to execute on a level worthy of a Super Bowl champion.


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