KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The fourth preseason game is often called “meaningless,” but that’s far from the case for numerous players fighting for a spot with final roster cuts on the horizon.
Nevertheless, tuning in for the final game of the exhibition season can be a brutal experience for a lot of fans.
And the play during Thursday night’s game between the Chiefs and Packers at Arrowhead Stadium offers proof with starters on both sides resting, as captured best by Sean Keeler of FoxSports.com.
— SeanKeeler (@SeanKeeler) August 30, 2013
It got to the point when a well-known local sports radio personality went around the press box during halftime and took an informal poll: “Fourth NFL preseason game or the WNBA finals?”
OK, it’s not that bad, is it? This is football, after all.
In the meantime, here’s what stood out from my observation point of view on media row:
• Former Kansas State Wildcats, current Chiefs defensive back Tysyn Hartman and current Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson shared a hug during warmups. That’s some alma mater love right there.
• Joel Thorman of ArrowheadPride.com and I sat next to each other in the box and we both believe this is Packers QB Aaron Rodger and Chiefs QB Alex Smith chatting at the 25-yard line. You make the call. Conversation may have been, “Aren’t you glad the season is here?”
• Chiefs general manager John Dorsey spent the hour before the game on the field saying hello to old friends. And it’s easy to tell when a person is held in high regard or well-liked. Just sit back and watch how many people approach a person to say hello or shake hands. That was the scene with Dorsey basically holding court with numerous Packers coaches and players coming over to offer greetings.
• One name captures the entire game: Tyler Bray. Bray looked in command after entering the game early in the second quarter. He completed 14-of-25 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns against an interception. Three touchdown passes? Who needs Ricky Stanzi?
• Second-year running back Cyrus Gray also made a statement with 72 yards on 13 carries. As to whether he’s concerned about looming roster cuts: “I pray to God and take care of what I can on the field,” Gray said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
• Wide receiver Junior Hemingway, another second-year pro, also took advantage of extended playing time by posting seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. He closes out the preseason with a touchdown in two straight games.
Here’s how I felt about Chase Daniel, who drew the start and finished completing 4-of-8 passes for 27 yards and an interception on his first pass attempt:
Tyler Bray enters the fray at the 11:37 mark of the second quarter. Chase Daniel was rather meh during his time.
— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) August 30, 2013
• Revisting the Kansas State angle. Had an opportunity to catch up with defensive back Tysyn Hartman during the postgame locker room media session and asked him about the pregame hug with Jordy Nelson.
“It’s always nice catching up with him,” Hartman said. “I played a year with him. We’ve kept a solid relationship since he left.”
Also asked Hartman if he’d be in Manhattan for K-State’s season opener on Friday. Hartman said he and Chiefs linebacker Zac Diles, who also has Wildcat roots, will be there.
“We’ll watch the game and catch a ‘Cats’ win,” Hartman said.
• Coach Andy Reid on whether he’s where he wants to be after the preseason:
“Do we need to continue to impove?” Reid responded. “Absolutely. But I was comfortable enough to [take a chance] to look at our depth. I’m pretty comfortable with our first unit and where we’re at. But in this league you need depth, and I want to make sure I’m picking the right guys there and giving them an opportunity to show what they can do.”
The Chiefs close out the preseason with a 2-2 record, winning two in a row following Thursday night’s 30-8 victory.
Up next, the regular season and a road visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 8.
Notes: Wide receiver Devon Wylie’s hamstring tightened up and left the game early … “He should be fine,” Reid said of Wylie … Reid said rookie tight end Travis Kelce, who left the game with a knee injury, will undergo an MRI on Friday … Reid also said Kelce “should be fine” … Reid said offensive lineman Ricky Henry ruptured his bicep … Henry is scheduled to have an MRI and X-ray on Friday … “We think it’s pretty significant,” Reid said of Henry’s injury … Cornerback Semaj Moody suffered cramping.