1. The Chiefs’ offensive line unit is still working its way into form. The Steelers played their starting front seven for almost the entire first half and showed a lot of different looks to the Chiefs lineman. Mitchell Schwartz struggled against TJ Watt and was giving up quick pressures. Eric Fisher and Andrew Wylie had a miscommunication on a Pittsburgh stunt, giving up a sack. I could go on and on but they just looked out of sorts. Cam Erving and Dino Boyd, the second string tackles, fared even worse against Pittsburghs’ outside linebackers. I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that Cam Erving can not play tackle. I’m not sure he really holds any value to this team. Nick Allegretti got quite a few snaps at center with the second team. He had a few low snaps, which led to a Chad Henne fumble, and he looked a bit lost trying to find someone to block. Basically, he just didn’t look comfortable, which is understandable and I still think he has a very good upside.
2. The Chiefs do a lot of preplay movement with Tyreek Hill and I noticed them using Mecole Hardman in that role a few times Saturday night. I was wondering if this will happen in the regular season, just to give Tyreek Hill a bit of a rest from all of the extra running. The preplay motion is important to this offense, it sets up defenses for misdirection plays and helps Mahomes diagnosis what the defensive scheme is.
3. Darwin Thompson looked good with four carries going for thirty yards and two good pass protection reps. He was the third back to enter the game and looks to have passed Darrell Williams on the depth chart. (To be completely fair Thompson had three consecutive special teams plays in the second half where he looked bad.) Carlos Hyde had a few decent rushes but he did fumble in the first quarter. I am still expecting both Williams, Hyde, and Thompson to make the team. If all of them stay healthy I could see Hyde getting cut during the season, after the team develops a little more confidence in the other backs.
4. It was confirmed today that Marcus Kemp tore his ACL and will be out for the season. This is terrible luck for Kemp but helps clear up the wide receiver position for the Chiefs. It looks like the Chiefs six receivers to start the season will likely be Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, and Cody Thompson. I’m really hoping Pringle and Thompson make this team! They are guys who could actually contribute to this offense if needed. Thompson had 7 receptions for 69 yards and showed how his elite quickness can get him open immediately. In the second quarter the Chiefs were about twenty yards from the endzone and Cam Erving gave up an immediate sack. The sad part is Thompson had ran a beautiful post route in the middle of the field and was wide open for the touchdown.
I also wonder who would fill in for Hill or Watkins if one of them was injured. Pringle is really the only receiver left on the roster that can excel as an outside receiver at this time. Hardman, Thompson, and Robinson are much better working out of the slot at this point in their careers. Hardman has impressed me with his ability to hit top speed in just two or three steps. I think we get so preoccupied with 40 times that we forget how important the first 10 yards in football really are.
5. Deon Yelder looked good early in the game with a couple of good catches but ended up spraining his ankle badly. This seems to give Bell the inside track on the second tightend spot. I do think Yelder will some how stick with this team, even with the injury, because his down the field route running has been impressive.
1. Reggie Ragland played a lot of both outside linebacker spots deep into the third quarter. I didn’t think he looked good on either side, he had a hard time getting out to the edge and gave up some big chunks in the run game. I’m not sure he has any value if he isn’t playing a down hill mike linebacker role. Daniel Sorensen also played quite a bit of outside linebacker and didn’t impress me much. The Steelers first touchdown was a run to Sorensens’ side and he got washed out of the play easily. I think both of these players were playing way out of position, I am guessing the Chiefs just wanted to see what they could do in case of an emergency. Ben Niemann and Darron Lee both continued to look impressive. It is easy to see their athletic ability on the field and that is very exciting to see in the Chiefs’ backup linebackers.
2. Emmanuel Ogbah ran with the second team defense at defensive end. He did not impress me at all but he did get his hands up and come close to batting down a couple of passes. Ogbah just didn’t seem to be able to get any push and that was after Alex Okafor pushed the same offensive tackle around. Jeremiah Attaochu also seemed to struggle this week on the edge after looking strong against the Bengals. Tanoh Kpassagnon looked impressive this week playing much better against the run on the outside but he still struggled when he moved inside. He just doesn’t seem to get low enough against guards and can’t get good leverage. Breeland Speaks looked about the same to me, strong and very slow for a defensive end.
3. Mark Fields made a couple of impressive plays against James Washington in the second half. Washington is a speed receiver and Fields had no problem sticking with him step for step. I hope Fields can make this team and find a way to fit in. I haven’t seen to many of his snaps but he looks more talented than Charvarius Ward and Herb Miller. (Miller is being very overrated by most fans at this time. He might have a place in this league but it will be awhile.)
4. Khalen Saunders looked slightly better this week. He didn’t win any snaps but he didn’t seem to lose any either. I think it might be next year before we can really evaluate what the Chiefs have in him. Joey Ivie did stand out with the second team defense, getting multiple pressures with a speed rush from the defensive tackle position. At one point Ivie spelled Saunders in the fourth quarter and immediately smoked the guard that Saunders was unable to beat. It also looked like Justin Hamilton came into the game at defensive tackle much later than he did a week ago. I wonder if he is losing ground with all the talented defensive lineman the Chiefs have.