The Kansas City Chiefs will hit the road to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night in the always important third preseason game.
No one is going to say Andy Reid’s Chiefs need to pick up a win in a game that doesn’t matter. However after last week’s lackluster effort in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the first and second teams on both sides of the ball have to show they will be ready when every game counts in two weeks.
The Steelers starters will at least play until halftime, with signs pointing to some time in the third quarter. Last week the Kansas City first team put in a half of work, making it likely they will see the field in the second half to try and simulate a regular season game.
With the Chiefs looking to build up some confidence as a team and players fighting for jobs before first cuts on Tuesday, here are the three we’ll be watching on offense, defense and special teams.
Offense: A.J. Jenkins
When GM John Dorsey decided to swap Jon Baldwin for Jenkins this week, he did more than just replace one disappointing first rouder with another. He gave Alex Smith an option outside with blazing speed and it happens to be a guy he’s familiar with from their time with the 49ers last season.
There’s no telling exactly how much Jenkins will be asked to do Saturday night. But he’ll only have to catch (and not fumble) one pass to top what he did for San Francisco the entire regular season in 2012 and the first two weeks of the preseason this year.
For his lack of any sort of production with the Niners, Jenkins did manage to eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown his first preseason. If that player can show up for the Chiefs, he could be a factor in Reid’s offense.
Defense: Akeem Jordan
So far the veteran hasn’t given defensive coordinator Bob Sutton any reason to hand the starting job next to Derrick Johnson over to hungry rookie Nico Johnson. If Jordan can put a standout performance on the board, he can lock down his spot in the starting lineup for Week 1.
Special Teams: Quintin Demps
You weren’t seeing things last week. The Chiefs did return a kickoff for a touchdown and it wasn’t a tape from years ago. Demps sprinted untouched for 104 yards against the 49ers, showing that the Kansas City special teams are allowed to enter the end zone.
Can Demps do it again?
Okay, we won’t ask for another touchdown, but he will need to show he can be a consistent threat as a returner. He didn’t handle a single kick for the Houston Texans last year and only five in 2011, but does have regular season returns of 48, 50 and 100 under his belt.