Kansas City Chiefs Offense: 2014 vs. 2015
By Laddie Morse
2014 Wide Receivers vs. 2015 Wide Receivers
Wide Receiver Number One
Jeremy Maclin is an upgrade in almost every way, in Andy Reid’s offense, over Dwayne Bowe, except perhaps as a blocker. If Maclin has another season like the one he just had (1,318 yards and 10 receiving TDs), then that will represent a huge improvement over what the Chiefs had last year at WR 1. There’s little reason for the Chiefs not to expect similar output in 2015. If Maclin has only 800 to 1,000 yards and about half as many touchdowns, it will still represent notable improvement and it’s hard to imagine Maclin not producing at least that much.
Maclin draws a Chance Card saying, “ADVANCE TO ILLINOIS AVE., PASS GO AND COLLECT $200.”
Wide Receiver Number Two and Slot Receiver
Wide receiver No. 2, Donnie Avery, ended with 15 receptions for 176 yards in 2014. Junior Hemingway caught 12 passes when he was targeted 21 time for a total of 108 yards receiving. De’Anthony Thomas (DAT) caught 14 passes for 113 yards in 12 games. If DAT is given the opportunity to focus solely on the wide receiver position and doesn’t have to take snaps as as running back, the wide receiver position should improve handily.
Albert Wilson had 16 receptions for 260 yards, and the Chiefs’ third-round pick Chris Conley was 36 for 657 (at Georgia). While I expect both to have better years in 2015, it’s apparent they already were head-and-shoulders better than what the Avery/Hemingway combo was able to produce (284 yards) although Avery appeared in only six games last year due to injury.
I know I’ll end up in Jail and Lose One Turn for asking this question but, how it’s even possible that the Chiefs had a 5th round grade on Albert Wilson in last year’s draft when they actually signed him as an undrafted free agent? John Dorsey has assured us each of the past three off-seasons that the Chiefs “stick to their board” when drafting and only draft the “best player available” right? So, why didn’t he select Albert in the 6th or 7th round?
Albert Wilson lands on St. James Place. Awaits his turn to roll again.
I’m projecting De’Anthony Thomas to move to wide receiver this offseason for a couple of reasons.
Thomas is a So. Cal. kid, and three months ago he posted some Instagram pictures of his workouts on the beach running routes. In an article by Terez A. Paylor for The Kansas City Star in which he interviewed Thomas and asked him if he’d been preparing to play more slot in 2015, Thomas responded,
"“That’s what I’ve been working on this offseason. I’m running all those routes in the sand. And once the time comes to come on the grass, I feel like it’s going to be a lot easier because I’ve prepared myself.”"
Then just one week ago, DAT posted at datbosslife13,
"“WE AIN’T THE SAME #RUNDAT CANT WAIT TO THE SEASON START AGAIN NEW GOALS NEW POSITION”"
“New goals, new position,” would indicate De’Anthony Thomas is preparing to play receiver this season. Seems like a reasonable shift, knowing the Chiefs brass — while evaluating the previous year and the way they’d used, or not used, their players — DAT-to-receiver, is a solid move. Does this mark the end of Thomas in the hybrid role? That’s doubtful. In any event, it also means they’re planning on keeping one more receiver and one less running back.
Using DAT as a wide receiver is like drafting a player who’s already been in your system for a year plus has all the traits you want in a wideout. If seen that way, the Chiefs’ 2015 draft just went from average to great, wide receiver-wise. Without losing a bunch of clout in the running game, DAT gives the Chiefs another instant weapon for Alex Smith, one who he’s already familiar with and is dangerous enough to take it home any time he touches it.
De’Anthony Thomas passes GO, collects $200, lands on Community Chest and his card says, “ADVANCE TO GO, COLLECT $200….”
Wide Receivers 4, 5, 6 and possibly 7
Whoever fills out the wide receiving roster this year (Da’Ron Brown, Frankie Hammonds, Jason Avant, Da’Rick Rogers, or Armon Binns) should be better than last year. However, I’ll be conservative and project essentially the same output, basically because of the personnel turnover.
The Chiefs enter the 2015 season expecting much more from their number two wide receivers and slot receivers, and they should. There should be, at minimum, a noticeable improvement. If De’Anthony Thomas moves to wide receiver, then the Chiefs may keep up to seven total receivers. Another reason for improvement there is third round pick Chris Conley. For a report by Mike Huguenin for NFL.com during combine week, in a section he titles, “A Star is Born” says,
"“Conley (6-1 7/8, 213) put on a show at the combine. He ran the 40 in 4.35 seconds, turned in a 45-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 11 feet, 7 inches. That is the best broad jump — by three inches — in the past 10 combines by a receiver and the best vertical jump by 1.5 inches in that span by a receiver.”"
Then he quotes Daniel Jeremiah who spoke of Conley’s work at the combine, “Those were some freaky numbers.” Later in his article he also quotes Mike Mayock who calls Conley, “the workout warrior of the week so far.” Who knows why Conley only caught 81 passes in his last two years at Georgia, but he looks like he could be the wide receiver steal of this draft.
Chris Conley lands on Community Chest. “YOU WIN SECOND PRIZE IN THE BEAUTY CONTEST AND WIN $10.”
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2015 tight ends will be better than the 2014 tight ends