What We Saw: Preseason Week 1

The WWS Team recaps the first week of the NFL Preseason

Chiefs @ Bears

Final Score: Bears 19, Chiefs 14

Writer: Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF on Twitter)

 

Man does it feel good to have football back. It’s only preseason, but we had our first look at the Chiefs and Bears line-ups, and a chance to see how both of these new-look offenses would perform in 2022. Kansas City showed well, easily scoring on their first drive and then pulling their starters. They put up one more touchdown before halftime–when they had a 14-0 lead. Chicago struggled a bit more, failing to establish consistent protection for their young quarterback. They were scoreless heading into halftime. They picked it up later, scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half to take the 19-14 win. Here’s everything I saw in preseason week one.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

 

Quarterback

 

Patrick Mahomes: 6/7, 60 yards, TD

Chad Henne: 2/3, 10 yards | 1 carry, 3 yards

Shane Buechele: 12/19, 99 yards, TD, INT, sack | 2 carries, 6 yards

Dustin Crum: 6/11, 18 yards, 3 sacks | 3 carries, 28 yards

 

The Chiefs’ preseason hasn’t mattered much lately. Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill are studs and will be when the season starts. Well, Tyreek Hill is gone. So how did the offense look without him? It was only one drive, but Mahomes was rolling. Despite having pressure in his face multiple times, Mahomes looked surgical in dicing up the Bears’ defense en route to a touchdown. He also hit six different receivers with his six completions. This felt like a possible tell of what we should expect moving forward: Kelce will eat, but otherwise the ball might be spread around more than we are used to. Obviously, we need to see more before we have any real conclusions, but I don’t feel confident predicting who Kansas City’s WR1 or WR2 are yet based on today’s results.

 

 

Running Back

 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 2 carries, 6 yards

Isiah Pacheco: 2 carries, 6 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards

Ronald Jones: 4 carries, 1 yard

Derrick Gore: 1 carry, -4 yards, fumble (lost) | 3 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

Michael Burton: 1 carry, 4 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards

Tayon Fleet-Davis: 2 carries, 1 yard | 4 targets, 2 receptions, 3 yards

 

Remember when Clyde Edwards-Helaire was Mahomes’ pick and he was going in the first round of fantasy drafts? Yeah, that feels like a long time ago. CEH only had two carries, but he didn’t show much on either. I think we know what he is at this point, and that is a decent runner. This job feels wide open for the taking–if only someone can elevate and take it.

Isiah Pacheco came in on the first series and saw work in the red zone. He only had three touches, but he looked quick and could steal work from CEH if he keeps it up. I could easily see this offense supporting a pass-catching back if someone is talented enough to warrant it. I am excited to see more from Pacheco next week.

Ronald Jones was the third back in the game, but he was a non-factor with his four carries. I imagine Jones would have value if CEH goes down, but otherwise, he feels like a depth piece. Jones had some excellent chances to shine in Tampa Bay, but he could never grab the reins and run with them. I don’t imagine he does it here either.

 

Wide Receiver/ Tight End

 

Travis Kelce: 1 target, 1 reception, 19 yards

Justin Watson: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 45 yards, TD

Skyy Moore: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 23 yards

Daurice Fountain: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards

Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 2 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards

Mecole Hardman: 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards

Jordan Franks: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards

Blake Bell: 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards

Noah Gray: 2 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards

Josh Gordon: 3 targets

Cornell Powell: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 10 yards

 

Travis Kelce saw one target–a 19-yard catch–and left with Mahomes after an opening-drive touchdown. We know what he is, so no reason to get him hurt.

Juju Smith-Schuster played but failed to enter the box score. It would be surprising for Kansas City to have not designed something for him, especially considering how they were spreading the ball around. Still, it was only one series. Let’s keep an eye on this as we move to next week. I can forgive one no-show week, but another would be a bad sign.

Skyy Moore had a few plays designed for him, and he caught all three of his targets. He looked quick and it’s good to see the team working to get him involved early. If Moore continues to develop, he could easily become the team’s WR1 and a fantasy monster. However, I think there’s a chance we see a rotating cast of standouts with no one permanently eating.

Justin Watson had the biggest day of any Chiefs receiver, making a number of great catches including a long touchdown before the end of the first half. That being said, I don’t see a clear path for Watson to relevance given everyone ahead of him. Still, he could carve out a role for himself given all the uncertainty.

 

 

Chicago Bears

 

Quarterback

 

Justin Fields: 4/7, 48 yards, 2 sacks | 1 carry, 10 yards

Trevor Siemian: 7/13, 89 yards, 2 TD, 1 sack

Nathan Peterman: 4/6, 36 yards, 2 sacks | 3 carries, 13 yards

 

It’s hard to judge this outing completely impartially for Justin Fields. The Bears’ first-string offensive line looked terrible. Let’s just knock that out right away. Now to be fair, they were down two starters and playing against one of the best teams in the league. This was never going to be an easy task. The first-team offense (minus David Montgomery, Cole Kmet, Velus Jones Jr, and two offensive linemen by my count) struggled majorly. Their first two drives were over in a flash, and defenders were repeatedly in Fields’ face. That being said, Fields had some nice plays during his third series of action. He made a great pass to Tajae Sharpe–while getting hit–for 19 yards. Immediately after, he scrambled for 10 yards, also preventing the Chiefs from getting another look at the previous play. Now, this being said, Fields also had some bad plays. He missed a pass to his running back, and he saw a pass batted at the line when he didn’t get it out quickly enough. Overall, though, I saw more good than bad and would grade Fields a B-. With some better protection, we could have been talking about something better.

 

Running Back

 

Khalil Herbert: 7 carries, 20 yards | 3 targets

Trestan Ebner: 6 carries, 31 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards, TD

Darrynton Evans: 7 carries, 20 yards | 5 targets, 3 receptions, 6 yards

De’Montre Tuggle: 6 carries, 22 yards

 

David Montgomery was out today with a minor injury (day-to-day) and so Khalil Herbert started. Herbert was fine, making a couple of good moves but often not having much room to work with. Montgomery is pretty clearly going to remain the starter in Chicago and I expect Herbert to be merely a handcuff, but someone vital if Montgomery misses any time. Herbert dropped a target that went off his hands and–despite being a good runner in space–still has mental lapses at the catch point. I recall at least one similar drop last season.

Trestan Ebner returned the opening kickoff for 34 yards and was one of the best-looking Bears on offense today. He was quick, and he made the most of his one target–taking it 12 yards for the score. Ebner was the clear number two to Herbert today, but he looks like someone who could steal the third-down work. I think it’s fair to wonder if Ebner sees more work than Herbert this season. Herbert is the better runner, but Ebner is the better pass-catcher and could carve out a role that neither Montgomery nor Herbert seems to fill. I hope Ebner sees at least a few targets next week with the first-team offense so we can further assess his abilities.

 

 

 

Darrynton Evans was the third back in the game, and he showed me the least. Evans had some nice runs, but I think he is behind Ebner in the pecking order, especially given Ebner’s success on special teams. Evans is a long shot to see meaningful work during the regular season.

 

Wide Receiver/ Tight End

 

Darnell Mooney: 1 target, 1 reception, 26 yards

Tajae Sharpe: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 44 yards

Equanimeous St. Brown: 1 carry, 8 yards

Isaiah Coulter: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards

Chase Allen: 1 target, 1 reception, 2 yards

Rysen John: 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard

Nsimba Walker: 1 target

Dante Pettis: 1 target, 1 reception, 25 yards

Dazz Newsome: 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards | 1 carry, 13 yards, fumble

Kevin Shaa: 2 targets

 

The Bears’ wide receivers are a one-man show. Darnell Mooney saw limited action today as the team clearly wanted to assess the collection of ‘talent’ around him. Mooney caught his one target–a deep shot from Fields for 26 yards. He was double-covered but elevated over the defense for a nice grab. Success this year for Justin Fields is predicated on Darnell Mooney catching 5+ balls a game and staying healthy all year. So what about everyone else?

 

 

Tajae Sharpe made a pair of excellent catches and should be running with the starters next week. The first catch was a sideline grab from Justin Fields and a one-hander at that. The second was another long shot from Trevor Siemian. Let’s see if Sharpe can keep it up next week and carve out a role for himself.

 

 

 

Equanimeous St. Brown didn’t see any targets, but he looked quick on his one run. Clever play calling is going to be vital for Chicago this season. I could see St. Brown as a starting WR and someone who has a great shot to be the two behind Mooney. We need to see more in week two.

Dazz Newsome had a rough start, muffing a punt and losing 13 yards on the play. Things looked up from there, with Newsome rushing for a 13-yard gain and pulling in a 13-yard touchdown catch. I still think Newsome is a back-of-the-roster guy and someone who won’t be a factor for fantasy purposes.

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