After a Chiefs preseason victory over the Washington Commanders, here are three players whose stocks are rising and three players whose stock is falling.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ first-team offense and defense looked dominant once again this Saturday against the Washington Commanders. With a 24-14 victory, and a fight to make the roster, many players stood out this weekend and others were disappointments.
Here is what we noticed during the second game of the preseason.
Well, Patrick Mahomes is spreading the ball around a lot this preseason, and it looks like it’s going to be the Chiefs’ new offensive philosophy. It seems like the person who has benefitted the most from this philosophy has been wide receiver turned tight end, Jody Fortson.
Fortson was active for the first six games last season before an Achilles injury derailed what seemed to be a promising season for him. Coming off of his injury and the Chiefs going after more receiving threats this offseason, it seemed like a longshot for him to make an impact but he’s been balling out in training camp and the preseason.
Against the newly minted Washington Commanders, he had five receptions, and two of them were touchdowns in the redzone. Fortson has been impressive this preseason and looks for him to be a big target for Patrick Mahomes as the Chiefs move into the regular season.
Frank Clark has been helping Georg Karlaftis’s improvements since he arrived after the draft, and his hard work is finally paying off. The newly dubbed “Furious” George Karlaftis has had five pressures and two sacks on 31 pass-rushing snaps through two preseason games. Not too shabby for a late first-round pick who’s 20 years old.
Even after his early success, Karlaftis remains pretty down to earth and knows he still has plenty of space for growing and learning.
“It’s a challenge every play,” Karlaftis said. “Playing against the best of the best here and it’s a great challenge. I love it and just got to keep getting better. There’s stuff everybody’s got to improve on.”
Maybe he should improve his sack celebration, other than that he looked great!
Justin Watson is entering his fifth season in the NFL and played mainly as a special teams player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Nobody commented on his signing with the Chiefs when it happened back in March, but he could be a major contributor this season.
Watson has had such a clear impact that Patrick Mahomes cannot stop talking about him:
“Watson’s been a pleasant surprise. That dude can roll. He came down to Texas, and I threw with him the first day. I called Veach, and I was like, ‘How fast is this guy?’ He was running so fast and I was late on my throws.”
Watson led the Chiefs in yards and catches in their preseason opener against Chicago and Washington and had two receptions for 53 yards in limited action this past weekend.
Watson is still going to be lower on the depth chart in Kansas City, but he seems to be making a huge impact on special teams and has the confidence of Patrick Mahomes. It should be interesting to see if he can keep playing well in the regular season.
Well, Clyde Edwards Helaire has not shown a lot this preseason, but the fact he’s always the starter could mean the offensive staff still trusts him to carry the weight of the run game. The Chiefs’ ground attack hasn’t been consistent or even good needless to say as the Chiefs averaged less than two yards per carry. But it might not be CEH’s fault, but he hasn’t been able to read the lanes and find the holes he needs to get through to get downhill.
Clyde isn’t the only reason the run game hasn’t worked, but it doesn’t help that he hasn’t been able to get through and get some yards. The run game problems might just be because of the lack of consistency on the right side of the offensive line, but maybe Isiah Paceco or Jerick McKinnon could get some touches with the starters over Clyde.
DiCaprio Bootle had a rough day against the Commanders and it might cost him his roster spot. Against Washington in the third, he was covering Cam Sims but trailed off of him and gave Sims a touchdown.
In two weeks of preseason, he has not been consistent enough, to say the least. Bootle has been pretty solid on special teams, which is where he might end up after this is all said and done.
The first-team offense had 24 snaps in the game, as indicated by the snap counts for Patrick Mahomes, Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Andrew Wylie. So it looks like Wylie is earning the trust of his head coach for the right tackle position.
“Yeah, so I’d tell you Andrew (Wylie) is doing a nice job,” said Reid. “So we’re excited about him and the way he’s playing. And then the other guys are trying to chase him. It’s a good competition, and we’ll see how it all works out. But Andrew did a nice job for us last year when he had a chance, and he’s done well for us now.”
Wylie is a very versatile player but did not seem reliable in pass protection on Saturday, and he was their worst offensive lineman in 2021, having the lowest pass-block efficiency rating among his teammates. Wylie seems to be a placeholder for Lucas Niang until Niang comes back from his injury sometime during the regular season. Wylie has not been good on the right side and he wasn’t able to sustain the blocks the run game needed to get going. Wylie will probably be the starting right tackle, but don’t be surprised if the Chiefs try to get a guy after cuts next Tuesday.