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Chiefs eager to see Patrick Mahomes II get preseason start

August 8, 2018
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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes gives autographs at NFL football training camp Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, in St. Joseph, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Patrick Mahomes II wants to get out of the huddle without any issues, call the right protections and limit his mistakes, all while leading the Chiefs to a couple of touchdowns when he plays the first quarter of their preseason opener against Houston on Thursday night.

If something doesn’t work according to plan? He’ll be in coach Andy Reid’s ear to stay out there.

“I mean, yes, kind of,” Mahomes said with a grin. “I know he’s going to keep it where he can try to let everyone play and get everyone. But if I don’t score I might say something to him.”

There are a few things to unpack from that statement.

First, the Chiefs’ new starting quarterback has high expectations for himself, perhaps even higher than those of a fan base that is already fawning over him. Second, he is secure enough to lobby a coach who’s been at this for two decades to reconsider his plan. And third, he understands his job is to put up points, especially considering the myriad question marks surrounding the defense.

Oh, and fourth: There is a competitive streak in Mahomes that is nearly unrivaled.

“We are going to try to win. That is the first thing coach Reid said when we were game planning for this week is he doesn’t like losing,” Mahomes said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes. I am going to try to encourage those guys and help those guys on the sideline. We have a lot of competitors, so hopefully we can win the football game.”

The result doesn’t matter much, of course. It will likely be decided long after the starters exit following the first quarter, and probably after the backups hang up their helmets at halftime.

Still, the Chiefs hope to begin building some momentum for the regular season right away.

“You’re looking for assignment football. You’re looking, when the juices get going, how you handle that,” Reid said. “You’re in the stadium with the fans there. We’ve had a great turnout here (at camp), but it’s a little different with the lights on and it’s game time.

“It’s one more evaluation period that you have a chance to see these guys in.”

As the Chiefs prepare to face the Texans, here are some other things worth watching:

INJURY ISLAND: FS Daniel Sorensen missed practice Tuesday with a knee injury, while several others are expected to miss the preseason game with various ailments. WR Sammy Watkins (hip), FS Leon McQuay (hamstring), OLB Dorian O’Daniel (thumb) and RB Charcandrick West (concussion) did not practice earlier this week, and ILBs Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland have only recently returned to the field.

ROOKIE WATCH: The Chiefs used nearly all their draft picks to shore up their defense, and OLB Breeland Speaks and DT Derrick Nnadi have already cracked the two-deep chart. CB Tremon Smith has also turned some heads on defense, and he could wrestle the kick return duties from De’Anthony Thomas.

There are several undrafted rookies to watch, too. WR Byron Pringle has had a strong camp after leaving Kansas State a year early, and RB Darrel Williams has a legitimate shot at making the team.

VETERAN PRESENCE: It’s unclear how much safety Eric Berry will play, even though he took part in the offseason program and has rarely missed a snap in camp. WR Chris Conley is also expected back on the field for the first time since rupturing his right Achilles tendon in Week 5 last season.

“It’s been a while,” Conley said. “I’m just going to go back and play football and hopefully continue to knock off rust, build chemistry and prepare for this season.”

CORNERBACK COMPETITION: The Chiefs tried to tune up their locker room by sending malcontent Marcus Peters to the Rams. Kendall Fuller arrived from Washington in the deal for QB Alex Smith, and he’s had a strong camp alongside Steven Nelson to solidify the starting jobs. But beyond them and David Amerson, the veteran from Oakland, there is plenty of room for somebody to step up.

COACHING CLINIC: This will be Eric Bieniemy’s debut as offensive coordinator after the longtime running backs coach was promoted to replace current Bears coach Matt Nagy. He has worked closely with Mahomes throughout camp and will be wearing the headset to communicate with him on game day.

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