Kansas City Chiefs

Five Chiefs questions (+1): Who plays, who doesn’t and more ahead of game at Steelers

The Chiefs hit the road for their second preseason game, meeting the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. Central and the game will be shown on TV on Channel 5.

Here are five questions for the Chiefs entering the game.

How long will the starters play?

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he expects the first-teamers to play the first half “or somewhere thereabout.” But if the opener is an indication, the starters won’t make it to halftime.

Against the Bengals last weekend, starters were expected to play the first quarter. The offense got one series, and wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce got one play. On defense, four starters, including tackle Chris Jones and safety Tyrann Mathieu, got two plays.

Reid said the plan this weekend is for the twos to play the third quarter and the threes the fourth quarter.

The Steelers didn’t play their starters in last week’s preseason opener and the team announced Thursday that reserve Mason Rudolph, the former Oklahoma State star, would start at quarterback ahead of Ben Rothlisberger.

Who’s not playing?

Ruled out of the game because of injury for the Chiefs: wide receivers Gehrig Deiter and Davon Grayson, H-back John Lovett and defensive back Michael Hunter.

“Everyone else will have the chance to potentially play,” Reid said.

That means players like defensive ends Frank Clark, Emmanuel Ogbah and Alex Okafor and running back Damien Williams could see their first action of the preseason.

Any clarity on the TE2 battle?

Not from the opener. The play behind Kelce was solid, with Blake Bell, Deon Yelder and Nick Keizer doing some good things. Keizer led the team with three receptions against the Bengals. Bell and Yelder each had two, and Yelder recovered a muffed punt.

“They’re performing,” offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. “These guys are doing a good job of performing under pressure.”

Tight end Travis Kelce (87) and fullback Anthony Sherman sign autographs after practice for military appreciation day. The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Jill Toyoshiba jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

Who’s been getting coach-speak love lately?

Wide receiver Marcus Kemp. He’s a special teams staple and he’s made some terrific catches in training camp.

“He is a very, very consistent player,” Bieniemy said. “He’s a jack of all trades. He’s made his mark on special teams, but people forget how good a receiver he is. He’s a big-body receiver. He knows the entire offense and makes plays when given the opportunity.”

Kemp makes the team. Book it.

What’s the next roster surprise?

There was a surprise cut last week. Josh Caldwell, the former Lee’s Summit North standout who was the team’s rushing leader and scored a touchdown against the Bengals, was waived on Monday.

The next eyebrow-raising move? No telling. But it’s been somewhat of a quiet camp for linebacker Dorian O’Daniel. The second-year player from Clemson is listed on the third team behind Anthony Hitchens and Darron Lee on the weak side. O’Daniel had two tackles in the fourth quarter against the Bengals.

Who got trapped in a dorm room?

That would be defensive tackle Joey Ivie, courtesy of a prank. ... Ahhhh, training camp at Missouri Western, which came to a close on Thursday.

Seems like a mattress was strategically placed to prevent Ivie’s door from opening.

“I always say the third floor is the most fun floor,” Patrick Mahomes said. “That’s just building chemistry.”

If it was entirely up to Reid, camp would remain in St. Joseph beyond this season. The contract is up this year, and the Chiefs are considering other options, including the practice facility at Arrowhead Stadium.

“I love what they do for us here,” Reid said. “It’s phenomenal, all the way from the guys that take care of the field, the security people, the people that cook for us, the people that clean the dorms for us. Just all the way around, it’s a great atmosphere.

“I’m a big fan of Missouri Western State University.”

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