The Kansas City Chiefs found playing time for five quarterbacks in the first preseason game against Seattle, but the overall results were decidedly mixed.
Head coach Andy Reid acknowledged the challenge of working so many signal callers into a game.
“First time I’ve ever played five quarterbacks, and I’m not sure if they absolutely got into a rhythm,” Reid said afterward. “Last year they had a chance to in and do that. We’ll take some good things out of this and learn from them.”
The first team offense certainly proved one of the good things from the first preseason game. But the quarterbacks following Alex Smith struggled to match the first team offense’s efficiency despite each showing flashes that they should win the roster battle brewing during training camp.
The Chiefs opened the game taking advantage of a short field created by a 34-yard kickoff return by Knile Davis and a 15-yard face mask penalty by Seattle. Running back Spencer Wared capped the eight-play, 4:20 drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
Alex Smith finished the series 3 of 4 passing for 36 yards. Smith teamed with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for the key play of the drive, a 20-yard completion on third down to set the Chiefs up at the 1-yard line.
Smith said he intended to target tight end Travis Kelce over the middle and had his man open before the play broke down.
“I had kind of lost vision, the D-linemen had kind of jumped as I was going to throw it and just kind of tucked it and all of a sudden found myself rolling out,” Smith said.
The quarterback’s reaction and poise drew praise from Reid.
“Alex rolling to his left, that’s a tough deal right there,” Reid said. That’s a tough one to be able to put right on the spot like that. I thought that was well done for this early in the year.”
Reid said it’s a play that cannot be practiced.
“You’ve got to get into games to do it,” he said. “They executed it. If you really look close on that, you’ll see Albert Wilson did a nice job too. He was down in there in a scoring position along with Maclin.”
Smith exited after the first drive, paving they way for Nick Foles to work with the first-team offensive line and Tyler Bray to line up with the the second-team.
“I wanted get Nick in,” Reid said. “I still wanted to get Tyler enough reps. We got a little bit of a log jam at that spot. I wanted to give all the guys a good look.”
The newly acquired Foles finished 4 of 8 for 37 yards. His best moment came on a 19-yard completion to De’Anthony Thomas on a crossing route that helped to setup a 28-yard Cairo Santos field goal.
Foles said it felt great to get back on the field after an extended layoff.
“I feel like I need to continue to improve,” he said. “I was able to let one rip across the middle on a crossing route. It feels like it is coming back.”
Bray also struggled at times during his stint, finishing 3 of 9 passing for 48 yards. His signature moment came on a 21-yard completion to wide receiver Rod Streater, displaying the strong arm for which Bray is known.
Aaron Murray and Kevin Hogan handled duties in the second half. Murray finished 3-5 for 52 yards, while Hogan went 2-6 for 21 yards and an interception.
The Chiefs head back to training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., with almost as many quarterback questions as they had entering the game against Seattle. Smith is the definitive starter, with Foles appearing to be in the lead for the No. 2 role ahead of Bray.
Sharing playing time with four other quarterbacks limits opportunities to impress the coaches, but Bray said he’s trying to make the most of his chances.
“You just need to get used to it,” Bray said. “It’s a competition, we go out and do the best we can with the plays we’re given.”