Chiefs Thursday notebook: Starting offense takes shape

Wide receivers and tight ends warmup for Kansas City Chiefs practice at the team's facility in Kansas City, Mo. Aug. 25, 2016 (Photo: Matt Derrick,
Wide receivers and tight ends warmup for Kansas City Chiefs practice at the team’s facility in Kansas City, Mo. Aug. 25, 2016 (Photo: Matt Derrick,

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This week has been a dress rehearsal for the Chiefs, simulating a game week all the way down to the noon kickoff agains the Chicago Bears at Solider Field on Saturday.

But it’s still a preseason game, so that’s pretty much where the comparison ends. Players returning from injury won’t play, and there’s very little game planning involved, coach Andy Reid said.

“Just keep polishing and get yourself ready for the upcoming season,” Reid said. “Execution always, that becomes important as we go here.”

Count Tamba Hali and Jamaal Charles among those not playing this week, even though they have practiced.

“We were able to get some work out of some of the guys that have been hurt, and I thought that was important this week, Reid said. “We’ll keep bringing it.

One key to watch is how the Chiefs address some of the issues that have plagued the team through the first two preseason games, particularly run defense and penalties.

“We’re not there yet,” Reid said. “In all phases we can get better at. There’s some good things, there’s some things we need to work on.”

The Chiefs have not declared a starting lineup for the season opener against San Diego, but most of the front line offense seems set.

The offensive line rotation remains consistent with left tackle Eric Fisher, left guard Parker Ehinger, center Mitch Morse, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Mitchell Schwawrtz. Backups Zach Fulton and Jah Reid also appear secure.

Quarterback Alex Smith and full back Anthony Sherman also seem set, as does the wide receiver group of Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson.

It’s still unclear if Jamaal Charles will definitely start the opener, but if not the Chiefs have Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West as reliable back ups.

Nick Foles is the likely No. 2 quarterback, with Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray and Kevin Hogan also in the quarterback picture.

That leaves the biggest questions remaining on the offense to determine an eighth offensive lineman and how many receivers and running backs the team keeps. Fifth-round draft pick Tyreek Hill likely secures one of those spots.

Reid said no decisions are final yet for the remaining roster spots.

“It’s an open book for these guys,” Reid said. “They can get in and get an opportunity and show what they got.”

The first team will play the first half against the Bears and likely start the third quarter as well before giving way to the second and third teams, according to Reid.

Reid slated Nick Foles, Aaron Murray and Kevin Hogan to follow Smith at quarterback. The coach said he would play it be ear if all four quarterbacks would play.

The first cuts to get the team to the 75-man roster came Wednesday night with the release of wide receiver Mike Williams and safety Stevie Brown. That leaves the Chiefs with 88 players on the roster, and 13 more players to release before 3 p.m. central time Tuesday.

“Those are veteran guys,” Reid said regarding the release of Williams and Brown. “It gives them a chance to catch on with somebody else. That was a factor there.”

Nearly all of the Chiefs recently recovering from injuries are not expected to play Saturday against the Bears, including Charles and Hali, who both practiced Thurdsay. Bray practiced as well but will not play this weekend, Reid said.

Others not playing include linebackers Justin Houston (knee), Josh Mauga (groin) and Dezman Moses (glute), running back Charcandrick West (elbow) and fullback Trey Millard (knee).

Reid expects cornerback Phillip Gaines to play Saturday based on Thursday’s practice.

“We’ll see how did today and how he feels,” Reid said.

Matt Derrick is the associate editor for Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.