Dec 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) is congratulated by quarterback Alex Smith (11) after catching a touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Assessing Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith’s Targets


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.

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Tags: Dwayne Bowe Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs

  • Reggie Flenory

    Ive been raving about DAT since 2010 i saw him lead crenshaw high to the state championship against de lasalle hes going to be so fun to watch and i think jenkins and kelce will make huge impacts this season i like what we have so far hopefully we can stay healthy

    • area

      Staying healthy is the key to it, I agree with you. I want to believe Kelsey is about ready to go 100%, I want to believe Jenkins will shed the bust label…I just cannot do so quite yet.

      • Reggie Flenory

        I agree everything hinges on health i saw enough promis in jenkins last yr towards the end of the yr to feel like with a full camp under his belt he should come and kelce we will have to wait and see i just hope wit kelce hes not another TONY M.

  • area

    Just have to believe we’ll see a lot of Dressler at some point this year moving the chains. Word from Saskatchewanwhatwherewhowhen and our local ota practices is he has great hands, as well as field awareness. Being a slot guy, quicker than fast and a good route runner I can expect him and AS11 to get to know each other well sooner than later.

    • Reggie Flenory

      My only issue with dressler is that he 5’8 and a slot guy we need a 6’1 6’2 6’3 200 somethin guy on the outside right now

      • area

        we have Junior, 6-1 at 225 and faster than Bowe. But the bigger receivers such as Bowe, but minus Megatron, are not faster than your average nfl corner or safety. A team needs speed and hands ala DAT and Dressler or the opposing teams will just man up, stack the box and put a spy on JC. Speed is a must nowadays, or the chiefs are in trouble.

        • KCMikeG

          Word is from WR Coach Culley that Avery was playing with a hurt shoulder last year go as far as to ay “he was playing with one arm”. Culley is saying Donnie looks great – speed AND hands! That would further explain us not taking a WR early.

          • micah stephenson

            When do the chiefs say somebody don’t look good? Like they was gone say “o Avery, he sucks”. They always say everybody looks good.

          • area

            I never listen to coach speak…but I do tend to take into consideration the opinions of professional bloggers who’s livelihood depends on making valid observations about the Chiefs.

          • Bdiddy

            I agree 100%, area. There is very little useful information to be gleaned from coaches or any other front office personnel, especially when relating that info to their own players. I have found it best to put my stock in the true bastions of insight that can only be found on forums such as this one. Typically the richest nuggets of wisdom come from those that deem it necessary to throw consideration to the wind and utilize pejorative terms to describe players that they have personal issues with.

          • ChiefTucson

            You need to go back to school – it’s obvious that you missed some important classes…

          • micah stephenson

            Don’t waste yo time trying to insult me. If you do, at least make if funny. Please. Thank you.

          • KCMikeG

            Right but they went out of their way to talk about Avery. ALL they said about Bowe is he showed up in shape. Wow! But I guess that’s an improvement from last year.

          • area

            Hope you’re right, that would we big.

          • KCMikeG

            I hope Culley is right. We have added so much speed!

  • hipnetic

    You gave Jamaal brief mention as a “running back” but the fact of the matter is that he was the #1 receiver for the Chiefs last season, and I would not be surprised to see the number of throws his way increase (while the number of times he’s used as a traditional RB decrease).

  • tm1946

    I would suggest the Chiefs have an issue at WR, period. Not bad or good, just not enough draft picks available this year to address this need, toss in salary cap problems and we are light in the shorts at receiver for 2014.

    I am betting the Chief’s play this year anyway and will hide this shortcoming any way they can.

    Second article this week (the Chiefs are fine, genius for not drafting any WRs, what is on the roster is better than any other team in the entire NFL maybe the world, and famously, _______ is the greatest player in the NFL who has not done a thing on the field yet).

    And the spin goes on……

  • Roger Mihalko

    I see Hemmingway as the cheaper replacement for bowe, not alongside. I would cut avery yesterday. Jenkins would get spotlight in Training Camp, if he doesnt demonstrate the Football IQ to play… gets the boot also.

    Dressler and Thomas deserver a chance to demonstrate themselves in camp, and Im pretty sure both will be good additions, as receivers and Special teams.

    Hammond and the rest might shake out one or two for depth, but the chiefs really need to get a veteran solid for this corps.

    I would also talk to vernon kearney he is a former college receiver turned DB, fast and tall, see if he wants to try out.

    Otherwise watch the wire and see what shakes out.

    • area

      word from ota’s is that Hemingway has seen the slot, a bunch. He’s too big for a normal sized cb to cover all the time because eventually he’s going to make the smaller cb pay. He’s also faster than any lb he’s going to see going across the middle…if Junior can learn to find some seams and pockets he is potentially a matchup nightmare. Take that a step further and have Bowe on the outside and JC or Knile coming out of the backfield. I’m not a betting person but I’d lay down 1 dollar to a doughnut hole that we see Hemingway and Bowe on the same field a LOT this year.

      • Roger Mihalko

        Cool I hadnt heard that, Hemmingway anywhere is fine by me, add fasano and the beard and its a interesting mix crossing in the middle.

      • KCMikeG

        I have liked Hemingway since early in camp last year. My son and I watched him and the guy and he has flypaper hands. Caught everything. Not afraid of contact and built to deliver a hit as well as take one. IMO he will push Bowe and make it easy to say good bye sooner rather than later. A healthy Avery along with the speed that has been added in Wilson, Dressler & DAT will stretch the field opening up things underneath for more RB and TE activity. I predict it is going to be hard for any one target to get the lion’s share of the touches – after Charles of course.

        • area

          Wouldn’t that be a good problem to have.

    • hipnetic

      Ha! Under your plan, just about everyone would get cut.

      • Roger Mihalko

        I would because the Receiving corps size and speed has not been keeping up with the division or the rest of the NFL. They need to get bigger and faster on the outside.. every team in our division has one or more tall fast outside guys that present matchup night mares and catch radious’s the size of an aircraft carrier. Just get tired all the ifs, buts, ands and hopefulls…. get some one or two sure things for once, let the Chiefs Passing game dominate!

        • Roger Mihalko

          Cool I hadnt heard that, Hemmingway anywhere is fine by me, add fasano and the beard and its a interesting mix crossing in the middle.

          • Roger Mihalko

            sorry ment this reply for below.

  • Andy

    I think we keep the four TE’s mentioned above. Reid’s offense is depenant on the TE position and with two of them with injury histories, it would not be smart to part with any of them.

  • Bigtexjayhawk

    Cole Beasley, 5 8, 180, SMU. Dallas Cowboys 2014 stats 39 for 368 with 2 TDs. Weston Dressler 5 7, 179, Canada Somewhere. Will take those stats.
    There is a place for a tiny fb player in this offense. Crossing routes and quick 5 yard outs.

    I like the packages that we could put together more than the individual parts.
    Speed…..4 wr set. AJJ and DA on outside. DAT and WD slot JC rb.
    Plow….3 TE set with Sherman in front of Knile.
    TE….4 TE set with any rb. 4 tight, 2 tight, 2 wide, 4 on one side, limitless possibilities! !
    Big….2 WR wide Bowe and Hemingway 2 TE and JC rb.

    Versatility in play calls. Pure west coast passes. Jet sweeps. Spread. Screens. Bootlegs. Reverses. Deep passes. Pistol. Triple lindy. Hell the whole kitchen sink.
    Whenever you think we dont have adequate receivers try to name the Super Bowl champions top 5 receivers. Go Chiefs!!!!!!

    • Bdiddy

      Just hope he doesn’t end up like Michigan’s towel boy…”he ended up with a laundry list of problems.”