When you look at the Kansas City Chiefs roster on paper, the only two guys that you will say who are somewhat reliable targets would be running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. They don’t have the attractive names of play makers like Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, or Eric Decker like the Broncos rolled with last season. The Chiefs are desperately looking for someone that hardly anyone knows about to step up, similarly to what tight end Julius Thomas did to give Peyton another big time target among his targets. Sure a lot of the big stats put up by Thomas happened because he had the G.O.A.T. throwing the ball to him and not very much pressure on him due to defensive coordinators focusing on the guys I mentioned before. Who will be the guy to step up on the Chiefs?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote my first article here talking mainly about the receivers that the Chiefs were likely to have on the roster come September. In that piece, I said I wanted Junior Hemingway to get his shot and I still stand by that. Think about him and Dwayne Bowe lining up as the wide receivers for the Chiefs. Both have great size and in the case with Hemingway, he possesses a little more speed than Bowe that could poise as more of a deep threat which is what the Chiefs have lacked for a number of years now.
I also mentioned that A.J. Jenkins needs more of a chance to play also because we just do not know what we have in him quite yet. First round pick in 2012 so it’s not like he is some scrub that was an undrafted free agent, even though the stats he has put up really makes it seem that way. A bit of an unknown still so Jenkins deserve his chance.
Outside of Bowe, Hemingway, and Jenkins I honestly am not pleased with this receiving corp. Donnie Avery had one huge game in 2013 which got fans excited, but after that he disappointed many of those same fans with problems dropping passes that are expected to always be caught by professional receivers. Weston Dressler, Kyle Williams, Frankie Hammond, and Albert Wilson are also guys that are said to be in the mix to make the team so look out for them in training camp to see where they’ll end up in these position battles.
The real reason I wanted to write about the targets that Kansas City has is because the number of tight ends that are on this roster and how much potential they have. They have four guys that have either been raved about by coaches and fans, drafted and have people thinking that they could make an impact, or they have had past success in this league.
The most experienced out of this group is veteran Anthony Fasano, who suffered some injuries last season that kept him off the field. Fasano has produced over 220 receptions, 2500+ yards, and 25+ touchdowns so far in his career. In just nine games last year, he caught 23 passes for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns which is pretty good considering it was in only nine games. Fasano is one of the smaller framed guys at this position on the Chiefs, but that hasn’t affected his production in the past so I expect to see Fasano on the field a lot in 2014 as long as he is healthy.
The other tight end to have a impact on this offense last year was “The Bearded One” Sean McGrath. He captured a lot of fans last year with his good play and he’s perfect facial hair. He put up a little better numbers than Fasano did, but he was at full health most of the year so that took a part in it. I’m intrigued to watch this position battle play out because with the production of McGrath, it creates a log jam at the position due to the Chiefs still wanting to see what they can get from Travis Kelce who spent basically all of last year injured. Kelce has a lot of potential and was a great playmaker in his years in college at Cincinnati. He was the guy I was most excited to watch from last year’s draft class and I was really disappointed to see him miss as much time that he did. The wildcard in this position battle is former basketball standout, 6’7 Demetrius Harris who impressed several coaches last year in training camp and early on in team workouts so far this offseason as he is adjusting to the game of football coming from basketball. Has the body of an athletic freak so I want to see what this guy can bring to the table.
I am very interested in seeing what Andy Reid is going to do with this group. Will Harris make the team based on what he’s shown in practices or will Reid go with just Fasano, Kelce, and McGrath? Can Fasano and Kelce stay healthy? If Harris, Kelce, and Fasano are all healthy and make the team, will that spell the end of McGrath as a Chief? There are several questions that can only be answered when training camp opens up and it’s easier to see where the coaching staff is at with these guys.
The running back position of course is led by Jamaal Charles. He was such a focal point of this offense last year and I will not be surprised to see him get the same number of touches this year. He averaged nearly 22 touches per game last season and played on 86.4% of snaps in the first 12 games last season. This strikes fear in some people due to running backs often wearing out as their career progresses, but aside from being injured in the playoff game against the Colts, he did not show any sign of slowing down. I expect him to fulfill the same role this year, and hopefully he’ll remain healthy once again.
Behind him at running back is Knile Davis who surprised a lot of people last year with his productive play late in the year when Charles was needing time off the field during games. The knock on him coming out of college was whether he could solve his fumbling problem. He only fumbled three times, losing one in 2013 so that showed good progress. How his leg will hold up is the big question mark around him right now.
And then there is De’Anthony Thomas. The Black Mamba. He has the Kansas City fans buzzing as people try to figure out where he’ll line up on the field, whether it be receiver or running back. People are comparing him to Charles based solely on his explosiveness and versatility on the field. Dave Toub is licking his chops now with Thomas most likely taking over the kick return duties replacing Dexter McCluster who left for Tennessee. Thomas put up huge numbers at Oregon and was in the Heisman talk while there. If you have time to blow, go to Youtube and watch Thomas’ highlights. You will not be disappointed.
The Chiefs offense definitely has talent. The only question mark of the play-making positions is at receiver, but when you have numerous talented tight ends and running backs, why even play your less talented receivers? Totally kidding. Time will tell how good this offense can be in 2014 as training camp and the preseason progresses. With a tough schedule, the offense will need to see an improvement from last year to have the same success.