2 Big-Name Chiefs Bubble Candidates Flop in Preseason Opener

Ronald Jones II

Getty Kansas City Chiefs running back Ronald Jones II on August 13, 2022.

Ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs preseason opener against the Chicago Bears, head coach Andy Reid addressed running back Ronald Jones’ lack of playing time voicing that “he’ll have a chance to play” in the game.

The veteran acquisition appears to have dropped in the pecking order in recent practices and many outside the organization have speculated on whether or not he’ll make the 53-man roster with rookie Isiah Pacheco surging. With tons of depth at running back, Jones could become a trade candidate or an unexpected cut that yields minor cap savings.

Needless to say, Jones was hoping to flip this narrative on August 13 and he did no such thing.

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High-Profile Busts vs. Bears

The Chiefs Wire’s Charles Goldman named several veterans that needed strong performances against the Bears. Jones was one of them.

“During the team’s final training camp practice ahead of preseason Week 1, Jones was relegated to snaps with the third-team offense during team drills,” Goldman explained. “Even working with the third team, Jones’ snaps were about as sparse as they had been all training camp… Basically, it feels like Jones hasn’t made much headway with the coaching staff during training camp. Eric Bieniemy suggested Jones is a good runner, but he doesn’t yet do everything they require of the running back position. Bieniemy said Jones has accepted the challenge of doing things out of his comfort zone, but he needs to keep working at it in practice and throughout the preseason.”

The USA Today beat reporter concluded: “Will Jones’ preseason showcase be about him making his case for the roster or will it be about building value for a potential trade? That remains to be seen.”

In the end, the former Buccaneers ball carrier didn’t accomplish either. His four carries for one yard averaged a pitiful 0.3-yard clip — thank the heavens for that two-yard gainer — and he received zero targets through the air.

Similarly, fallen star Josh Gordon was underwhelming against Chicago. The ex-All-Pro was targeted three times but did not register a catch.

Goldman also included Gordon on his list prior to Saturday’s game: “Gordon is coming off what was a disappointing 2021 NFL season in Kansas City. He finished the year with just a handful of catches on over a dozen targets with 32 receiving yards and a score. The team ultimately opted to elevate Daurice Fountain to the 53-man roster over Gordon in the playoffs because Fountain provided more value on special teams. The Chiefs have a crazy amount of competition at the wide receiver position right now and few spots on the 53-man roster. Gordon hasn’t been getting a ton of repetitions during practice and he knows that the preseason is going to be big for him to show his growth.”

Neither Jones nor Gordon logged a single snap on special teams according to Pro Football Focus.

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1 Goldman Selection Answers the Bell

Jones and Gordon may not have made the most of their initial preseason opportunity but Taylor Stallworth did show some fight. The Chiefs brought in some competition at defensive tackle this week, signing veteran run-stuffer Danny Shelton.

Perhaps that was the kick in the pants that another offseason addition like Stallworth needed. The lineman was more lively this weekend with two tackles and a half-sack that was shared with Malik Herring. He also silenced a third-down run in the backfield for a loss.

Goldman had included Stallworth alongside Jones and Gordon, noting a “knee contusion” that has contributed to a “very quiet training camp” for the “pressure-producing defensive tackle.” His effort against the Bears was a step in the right direction, unlike the two above.


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