Chiefs’ passing game: What to expect in 2015

1 of 3

Author’s Note: For those expecting my next weekly rookie profile, I promise I’ll be back at it next week with a profile on rookie linebacker, DJ Alexander.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ passing game is a hard thing to have a reasonable and logical discussion about. The main reason for this is because any conversation about the passing game is naturally going to revolve around quarterback Alex Smith. I want to be very clear…..


Sorry to go all caps locks and multiple exclamation marks on you, but that debate has been had 100 times over at this point. While I’m all for a good debate to help pass the slow-moving days of the NFL offseason, I’m just not sure there is much new that can be said and I’m 100 percent sure that nobody is changing their feelings about the guy over a blog I write or by talking at each other in the comments of that blog.

Instead, what I’d like to do today is take a realistic look at what we should expect from Kansas City’s passing offense this season. The purpose is not to debate whether Alex Smith is good enough, but rather, given his track record and the track record of Andy Reid’s recent offenses, to see if we can agree on what is a probable output for this season.

This all came about after a couple of discussions that I had with people in the last week about possible production of this year’s wide receivers.

Could Jeremy Maclin catch 100 passes?

Will Chris Conley be the Chiefs’ number two receiver and if so what kind of numbers could he put up?

After coming on strong at the end of last season, what should we expect from Albert Wilson?

Will Jason Avant be a reliable veteran target for Alex Smith?

We could probably come up with a half dozen other questions just about the wide receivers. However, in order to even begin to answer those questions we have to come to some reasonable estimate of how many receptions and yards there are to go around. It is my experience that fans tend to overestimate what a team’s players should do and then are disappointed when it doesn’t work out that way.

For instance, an optimistic fan could make the following predictions for how receptions, passing yards, and receiving TDs might play out for the Chiefs this season:

Jeremy Maclin – 90 receptions, 1,300 yards, 10 TDs
Albert Wilson – 50 receptions, 600 yards, 4 TDs
Chris Conley – 40 receptions, 650 yards, 5 TDs
DeAnthony Thomas – 40 receptions, 400 yards, 2 TDs
Jason Avant – 35 receptions, 350 yards, 2 TDs
Travis Kelce – 85 receptions, 1,100 yards, 10 TDs
Jamaal Charles – 60 receptions, 600 yards, 5 TDs

Now, you can probably make a case for any of those stat lines being possible for those players. Maybe some of you would predict higher or lower for certain players but if you are just randomly predicting receiving numbers for Chiefs players, an optimistic fan could come up with something similar.

However, despite the fact that I only listed seven players (only five WRs, no other tight ends, no other backs) those numbers still add up to the following:

400 receptions
5,000 yards
38 TDs

I don’t care if you’re the most optimistic Chiefs fan on the planet — we can all agree that the Chiefs’ passing game isn’t going to come close to those kind of prolific numbers this season.

So what should Chiefs fans expect from the passing game?

Next: Breaking down the background