One of the positive things to come out of the first two preseason games for the Chiefs have been the performances turned in by tight ends Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce. Both look to have full recovered from their injuries from a season ago and look like they are ready to contribute at the level we expected heading into 2013.
Kelce has put up the highlights so far for the Chiefs, hauling in a 69-yard and 43-yard touchdowns in limited action. In only seven targets Kelce has caught six passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus notes that 87 of Kelce’s receiving yards have come after the catch. But what may be most impressive about Kelce so far is his ability to create (A LOT) of space for his quarterback to throw to.
Both of those touchdown passes could not have been any easier for Daniel or Murray. Kelce was so wide open due to the space he created with his route running and speed that all the quarterback had to do was just get the ball there in time before the defenders could adjust. Throw in Kelce’s speed in the open field and he looks like an absolute nightmare to cover.
Fasano doesn’t provide the same kind of big play ability as Kelce but he brings reliability and quality blocking. This comes in handy when you consider the Chiefs screen game and edge running game. The Chiefs become more dangerous in both of those areas by having Fasano on the field regularly.
What separates Fasano from other blocking tight ends is his ability to be productive in the passing game, especially in short and medium situations. He has quality hands and is more athletic than what people generally give him credit for. Consider this catch from Sunday night.
With Kelce and Fasano on the field they add both quality to their passing attack in addition to making the core of their offense – “Get Jamaal The Ball” – better. Both are good blockers on the edge, can take away coverage because they are viable receiving threats, and add additional pass protection for an offensive line that’s going to need it every once in a while.
Between the two tight ends, the five linemen, Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, and Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs could create several favorable matchups. What makes it better is there is still one more spot open on the field create an additional matchup based on the opponent. Maybe some weeks it is De’Anthony Thomas, others it is Donnie Avery, or maybe you put Knile Davis in the back field and split Charles out wide. The formation can be flexible.
If Kelce can transfer his preseason success to the regular season, Fasano can go back to his solid ways, and Jamaal Charles can do Jamaal Charles things, Kansas City’s offense could be in pretty good shape.