Preseason Game 1: Takeaways

Preseason Game 1: Takeaways

On Saturday night, the Kansas City Chiefs put on their pads and helmets to play an opponent
for the first time since February. In a 19-16 come-from-behind victory, here’s what stood out in
Game 1.

By Jack Jonnson, Sports Radio 810 Contributor

1. DeAndre Baker was excellent
There’s no denying that talent has been there for the 23-year-old cornerback. In fact, he
wouldn’t be in Kansas City if the New York Giants hadn’t released him for an arrest under
charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm last season. However, those
charges were dropped against Baker when there was evidence provided that the alleged victims
accepted $55,000 in exchange for changing their story. By the time the chargers were dropped,
Baker was already a free agent.
Last night, the former first-round pick was targeted six times by 49ers quarterbacks and not one
ended up in a completion. Baker came within inches of an interception in the second quarter,
but dropped it after running under the route.
For the most part, Baker’s playing time came with the second unit. However, with how slim the
cornerback group is, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Baker start a few games, if healthy, this

2. Tim Ward provides the D-line with intriguing depth
Ward dropped the hammer on San Francisco’s chances of winning in the final minute when he
buried Josh Rosen for his second sack of the game. In both of those scenarios, Ward used his
speed to blow right past the tackles and get to the quarterback. At his size of 6-foot-6, 255
pounds, the agility is something to marvel at.
Ward, 24, was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019 out of Old Dominion. He spent time on
the practice squad before making his debut in Week 17 against the Chargers last year. In that
game, he totaled five tackles, two quarterback hits, and a sack.
For a player that is on the fringe of making the 53-man roster, Week 1 was an indication that
there’s room somewhere.

3. Jerrick McKinnon has the edge over Darwin Thompson
When the starters only play half of a quarter, you are forced to look at the reserves when
evaluating position battles. One that has drawn interest in camp is between McKinnon and
Thompson. With the first two running back spots going to Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel
Wiliams, the difference between the third and the fourth spot is one makes the roster and one
McKinnon showed exactly why he’s a weapon in the offense with his pass-catching abilities. The
former 49er hauled in two passes for 21 yards and rushed for 19 on three carries. On the other
hand, Thompson had four carries for 12 yards and was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary
roughness for headbutting a defender after the play.
One game doesn’t seal the deal on the position battle. However, when fighting for a roster spot,
it’s the little things that are going to decide it.

4. Jody Fortson is a legitimate target
We’ve heard Fortson’s name for the last three years. He’s more than athletically gifted at
6-foot-6, 230 pounds, and most recently made a position change from wide receiver to tight end.
Last night, he tallied three receptions for 32 yards, which included a one-handed catch and run
of 19 yards in the final drive.
His talent doesn’t go unnoticed, either. When being interviewed by Kay Adams on the sideline,
Travis Kelce mentioned that Fortson was a guy to watch as the team progresses through the
The problem for Fortson is that the tight end room is crowded. With Kelce, Blake Bell, and Noah
Gray having inside chances to make the roster, Fortson has to produce in all three games to
prove he’s a weapon in this offense.