KANSAS CITY, Mo.— If Patrick Mahomes had his druthers, the Kansas City quarterback would be on the field from the first snap to the last when the Chiefs play San Francisco in their third preseason game Saturday night.
Not likely, of course. But potentially not far off.
That’s because Chiefs coach Andy Reid continues to take an old-school approach to using starters during the preseason, rather than protecting his guys from the potential for injury — the trend that has been developing league wide. So, he generally plays the No. 1 units into the second quarter of their second tuneup and the starters into the second half of their penultimate exhibition game.
“I’ve kind of stayed on the same schedule I’ve been on,” Reid said. “I always fluctuate it just a little bit. It’s normal that I give guys the same time and I evaluate off of what I see.”
The biggest losses for the Chiefs all preseason have been cornerback Keith Reaser, lost for the season during a training camp workout, and wide receiver Marcus Kemp, who tore his ACL during their game against the Steelers and went on injured reserve this week.
Sure, many high-profile injuries this preseason have happened during practice and intra-squad scrimmages — the Bengals’ A.J. Green, for example. But it goes without saying that the risk of injury is greater in the less-controlled setting of a preseason game, where guys may not necessarily be fighting for a win like they would in the regular season, but could instead be fighting for a job.
In Reid’s mind, the positives of playing in preseason games outweigh the negatives: The games more closely resemble a regular-season game, giving a coach a more realistic picture of a team.
Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu hurt his shoulder in last week’s game against Pittsburgh, though the injury was not serious. He was back on the practice field this week. But he also acknowledged the value of playing deep into preseason games, particularly when Kansas City has a revamped defense.