Chiefs Prep Moore vs. Packers

Chiefs Prep Moore vs. Packers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Head coach Andy Reid can’t quite bring himself to close the door on quarterback Patrick Mahomes playing this week, but all of the club’s actions say Matt Moore will be under center when the Chiefs kickoff against the Green Bay Packers Sunday night.

Moore starting seems a foregone conclusion, yet he’s still waiting for someone to give him the green light.

“We’re moving forward just as whoever is getting the reps is going to go and move forward that way,” Moore said before practice on Wednesday. “It’s kind of a tricky deal right now.”

Mahomes against all odds practiced with the club on Wednesday, gingerly moving around during individual drills and making a few cursory throws. But it was Moore who took the lead as the No. 1 quarterback.

“We’ll just see how (Mahomes) does and evaluate it from there,” Reid said. “Matt will get a good percentage of the reps out there.”

If the Chiefs are merely trying to give a head fake to the Packers to force them to spend time preparing for Mahomes, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur received the message.

“I just saw that he practiced today,” LaFleur said late Wednesday afternoon. “That’s something that we’ll go back and discuss. But if they guy’s practicing, then certainly you better be prepared for it.”

Most of the club’s actions this week appear decidedly in favor of Mahomes sitting on the sidelines this week. The Chiefs elevated rookie quarterback Kyle Shurmur from the practice squad, a move unnecessary at this point in the week if Mahomes remotely seemed an option. Moore took the first reps in practice Wednesday followed by Shurmur. Mahomes and Chad Henne, who remains on injured reserved, alternated as the third and fourth quarterback during the portion of practice open to the media.

Moore turned in a solid performance in relief of Mahomes last Thursday against the Broncos. He finished 10-of-19 for 117 yards, including a perfectly thrown 57-yard touchdown strike to Tyreek Hill.

“There was a couple of nice rhythm throws before that, that kind of got it going a little bit,” Moore said of the touchdown toss to Hill. “I’ve said it a bunch but I started a little slower than I wanted to, that was pretty evident. Obviously, you hit the big one and it gets things going. It was good.”

Reid said after the win against the Broncos the Chiefs had a game plan built for Mahomes that Moore could run if needed. If the Chiefs hold out hope that Mahomes can play Sunday, that means Reid and his staff need a game plan that Moore, Mahomes and potentially Shurmur can all run.

“These game plans are long and large,” Reid said. “There are parts of it that are good for all of them, whoever is going to be suited up. There might be a specific thing here or there that you kind of match for the guy’s abilities, his strengths. Other than that, you just roll with it. They have all got to learn it.”

Moore said he’s trying to find the line between being himself on the field while fitting into the Kansas City offense.

“Watching Pat, it’s easy to want to play like him, which I can’t,” Moore said. “You have to adapt to the offense I think and you have to adapt to the guys around you. Some things are being taught maybe different than you’ve had them in the past and so, yeah, we’re adapting every day.”

Reid has worked magic in the past with backup quarterbacks filling in for injured starters. He’s 25-20 as a head coach with a backup starting due to injury, including a 2-0 record with the Chiefs. His most successful run came during the 2002 season when Donovan McNabb suffered a broken ankle in Week 11. Backups A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer went 5-1 down the stretch to help the Eagles to 12-4 record and the NFC East title. McNabb returned in the postseason and took the Eagles to the NFC Championship game.

It depends on the team, Reid explained, but some groups of players show a propensity to rally around the backup and step up their game when the starting quarterback goes down.

“That’s what you hope – and that they give you their best, which I’ve felt that from our team,” Reid said. “I’m not asking them to do that. I’m asking them to just go play. Whoever is in, you go play.”

If Moore starts, Reid says he’s confident in his veteran passer to keep the show running.

“I think this week of practice, him working in there and having an opportunity to at least get in and do a couple of things, would benefit him if he has to go,” Reid said.