Dec 20, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) catches the ball as Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland (26) defends in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The Passing Game
The acquisition of Jeremy Maclin was huge for Kansas City. But as much as his presence improves the potential of the passing game over what it was, his signing has been viewed with skepticism by some as a square peg in a round hole. That is, he is best downfield and the Chiefs offense relies on short passes to move the ball.
I have no doubt Maclin will improve the receiving corps and take some heat off other receivers and the run game. Dwayne Bowe’s last season was worse than any Maclin has provided in the NFL (having fewer catches in his rookie year, but still gain more yards and touchdowns), but whether the former Philadelphia Eagles star can play in 2015 as he did in 2014 (85 receptions, 1,318 yards, 10 touchdowns) remains to be seen.
The contribution of the players around Maclin is also uncertain. The most known quantity is Jason Avant, but he is not going to be setting the world on fire if last year was any indication (13 catches on 22 targets in five games as a Chief). After Avant, you have a lot of potential without much actually being known.
De’Anthony Thomas and Albert Wilson both showed flashes in their rookie campaigns, but neither was asked to be an every-down contributor. Each played in only two-thirds of last year’s games. They were targeted 31 and 28 times respectively. Not bad, but can they make it in an expanded role as a No. 2 behind Maclin? Or will they hit the dreaded sophomore slump this season?
Kansas City traded up to get Chris Conley, so obviously they have seen a lot that they like in him. But will that potential be developed enough to make a significant contribution in 2015?
How about Da’rick Rogers? Chiefs fans remember him best for making a big catch in the 2013 fiasco of a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, but other than one moment, there isn’t much on his resume. That was the only season Rogers played, and had a grand total of 14 catches and 192 yards over five games in the regular season. And that great 46-yard catch against the Chiefs? It was the only one he caught in the playoffs, even though he had six targets. Not a great percentage there.
Will this group be better than last season? I think it is the most likely outcome. But will there be some kind of passing renaissance in Kansas City? Maybe not.
Next: My final question mark...