Coach Andy Reid was thankful after the Kansas City Chiefs’ 33-32 preseason home win over the Cleveland Browns on Saturday that the second- and third-teamers received plenty of playing time.
That’s because what happens next isn’t easy.
“There’s some tough spots of guys competing there,” Reid said after the game. “We’ve gotta make sure we make the right decision.”
With Tuesday’s decision day looming.
The Chiefs have until 3 p.m. Central on that day to set their 53-man roster, and by all indications, they’ll have difficulty squeezing as many guys onto that list as they’d like.
Reid said the team would follow a process over the next 72 hours to make final decisions. First, general manager Brett Veach would meet with his front office staff on Sunday morning for initial talks. After that, on Sunday morning, Chiefs coaches would finish grading tape and submit their final evaluations on players.
“Then Brett will shake it all up and come out with the best group,” Reid said, “that we think can help us here.”
A few players have had better showings as of late, perhaps making the Chiefs’ selections more difficult.
One of them is running back La’Mical Perine, who was one of the standouts Saturday while breaking three tackles on a 20-yard touchdown reception. Perhaps a long shot for the roster a couple weeks ago, Perine could have easily earned a spot based on what he’s done lately.
The Chiefs also have multiple determinations to make at quarterback. Shane Buechele and Blaine Gabbert have been battling for the backup position for the last two weeks, with Reid saying Saturday that position had an inconsistent day against the Browns.
“I saw some good things. I saw a couple of things we need to work on,” Reid said. “Obviously, too many turnovers, and they cost us points, so you can’t have that for sure. But there were some good things in there too.”
KC must also decide whether it wants to keep two QBs or three. The NFL has offered an incentive to keep three this season with a rule change, as third quarterbacks on the roster who are inactive for games can still dress out and be used in emergencies if the top two signal-callers on a team go down.
Reid was noncommittal when asked if that shift meant the Chiefs would keep three quarterbacks.
“We’ll see how that works out for us. You still have to count the numbers, but we’ll see how that goes,” Reid said. “I think it’s a good rule to have. We’ll see how we utilize it.”
The Chiefs also could do something they’ve never done in Reid’s previous 10 seasons: keep seven receivers. The coach mentioned last week the team was considering either “six or seven” guys on the initial roster, and on Saturday, he admitted that position would be one of the toughest to trim down.
There will be other considerations as well. Eight offensive linemen, or nine? How much additional depth should the Chiefs keep at defensive line with Chris Jones still holding out? And which secondary players did enough to claim one of the last spots on the 53?
Whichever directions the Chiefs go, Reid said Tuesday will be challenging for all involved.
“This is the toughest day when you have to make the cuts, because these guys have busted their tail through all the OTAs and then through the training camp,” Reid said. “They all can’t be here, unfortunately.”