Historically, the third NFL preseason game has been when a team’s starters see the most action — at least that was true before the COVID-19 pandemic and 17-game season.
For Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, it will remain true for the 2021 season as well.
“We’ll play the ones for the first half and then we’ll see about after there and go from there,” Reid said Wednesday during the team’s last media availability before the preseason finale Friday against the Minnesota Vikings at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. “I’m going to see how it goes, but that’s what I’ve got scheduled for them and we’ll play it by ear from there.”
The NFL scuttled the preseason in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After adding an extra regular-season game, the NFL whittled the preseason from four games to three games for this season.
Often, the fourth game served as a showcase for players on the back end of the roster hoping to make a lasting impression ahead of the final roster cuts.
The new schedule begged the question how teams would adjust — continue to treat the third game as a chance to develop chemistry among the starters or turn the third game into a showcase for backups?
Reid opted to keep his traditional preseason game plan in place — especially as the Chiefs work to break in a new offensive line that features five new starters, including three with no previous NFL experience in rookies Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith along with 2020 opt-out Lucas Niang.
“It’s gone good — just on the offensive side, getting the (No.) 1 offensive line some reps; that’s what I’m looking at,” Reid said. “Then, on the defensive side, just making sure we’ve got all the kinks knocked out there.”
He stressed that the roster isn’t set ahead of the Vikings game, which can be seen on KSHB 41 at 7 p.m. following a special hour-long pregame show.
“You always have two or three guys that make it on their special-teams play, so there’s spots there,” Reid said. “There’s a couple spots that we have questions on, but (General Manager Brett) Veach has done a nice job of bringing in great competition. So, we’ve got to make some decisions in certain areas. Maybe we keep a guy here or there that normally we wouldn’t keep and have a little bit of an overload because he’s been a good player.”