The starters are set to play close to a full half of football, which means that players on the roster bubble will get even less time to impress. For some players, this week is going to be a case of stacking good games together. For others, they need a flashy performance to keep themselves in the hunt for a 53-man roster spot.
Here’s a look at five players on the roster bubble who need a strong performance against the Cardinals in preseason Week 2:
LB Dorian O'Daniel
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
A former third-round draft pick, O'Daniel has made his mark on special teams in Kansas City, but that might not be enough this year. The linebacker position is as competitive as it has ever been for the Chiefs, making things exceptionally difficult for a limited player like O'Daniel. Last week, the player behind O'Daniel on the depth chart (Omari Cobb) flashed in a big way on defense. Cobb was assignment sound in the run game and he notched a sack on a blitz. Meanwhile, O'Daniel's flashiest moment from the game was him getting flattened by 49ers RG Aaron Banks. If players like Cobb, Darius Harris, and Riley Cole continue to flash on defense and are serviceable for Dave Toub, it'll get harder and harder to justify a special teams-only spot for O'Daniel.
RB Darwin Thompson
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Thompson was on our overarching list from last week, but it's necessary to reemphasize the importance of preseason Week 2. The former sixth-round draft pick's most standout moment from preseason Week 1 was an unnecessary roughness penalty. With Jerick McKinnon impressing in almost every facet of that game, it feels like Thompson is running out of chances to impress. A good performance against the Cardinals will put him squarely back in the mix, but he won't be playing as many snaps this week. He needs to make the most of the moments when he's on the field and recapture some of what he flashed during Week 17 against the Los Angeles Chargers last year.
WR Daurice Fountain
AP Photo/Tony Avelar
Fountain has been one of the biggest surprises of Chiefs training camp. The former Indianapolis Colts draft pick also stood out in the Week 1 preseason tilt with the 49ers. He was 4-of-6 on receptions for 38 yards against San Francisco, including a 15-yard long catch. The 25-year-old is putting up a fight for one of the final receiver spots in Kansas City and he's not going away so easily. While most of the Chiefs' wideouts are of the speedy variety, Fountain boasts a physicality that others don't have. He needs to continue to make the most of his playing time if he's to overtake a veteran like Marcus Kemp.
DE Tim Ward
AP Photo/Tony Avelar
Ward was dominant when he was on the field against the 49ers in preseason Week 1. He was strong setting the edge, had the co-lead for tackles with five and had two sacks, including the game-winner. The problem for Ward is that he has several veterans ahead of him on the depth chart like Alex Okafor and Taco Charlton. This is a case of continuing to stack good days together for Ward. His performance in Week 1 might have already earned him some opportunities to mix in on defense a bit earlier than third- and fourth-team reps he got last week. If Ward can continue to stand out he might have a chance of challenging one of those veterans for a roster spot.
OT Prince Tega Wanogho
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Wanogho was truly impressive in his opportunities playing left tackle for the Chiefs in Week 1 against the 49ers. He was effective in both the running game and the passing game, playing with the second- and third-team offense. He graded out as the best tackle in football during preseason Week 1, with an 85.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. With Mike Remmers returning to the lineup from injury and practicing mostly at the left tackle position, he's expected to get the start with the second team this time around. Chiefs fans will recall what Remmers at left tackle looks like from Super Bowl LV. Wanogho needs to continue to impress at tackle to encourage the team to give him an opportunity to play that swing tackle role. That'd be the best possible outcome for the depth on the offensive line.