Chiefs’ passing game: What to expect in 2015

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Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) looks to throw the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

To try and find a reasonable estimate, I decided to average together the following:

Andy Reid’s last two seasons in Philadelphia
Alex Smith’s last two seasons in San Francisco
Reid and Smith’s two seasons together in Kansas City

My goal was to try and find an average production line for Andy Reid and his offense combined with Alex Smith and his abilities. In order to make all six seasons evenly weighted, I made the decision to take the eight games that Smith started his last year with the 49ers and doubled it to get an estimate of what Smith would have done over an entire season.

When I combined those six seasons of Reid offense/Smith production I got an average of:

320 receptions
3,623 yards (without any sack yardage taken out)
21 TDs

While those numbers may not be anything to write home about, it is a much more realistic baseline compared to the 400 receptions and 5,000 yards listed above. I then set out to see what the typical breakdown of those numbers was between wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs. When I went through those same six seasons I came up with the following averages:

Wide receivers: 177 receptions, 2,193 yards, 10 TDs

Tight ends: 76 receptions, 902 yards, 7 TDs

Running backs: 67 receptions, 528 yards, 4 TDs

Now compare that with how the 2014 Kansas City totals ended up:

Wide receivers: 152 receptions, 1,744 yards, 0 TDs

Tight ends: 95 receptions, 1,108 yards, 9 TDs

Running backs: 72 receptions, 573 yards, 9 TDs

The 2014 Chiefs had about the exact same number of receptions as the average for recent Reid/Smith offenses. They just had a significantly higher number of those receptions go to tight ends and that caused a lower number for the wide receivers (or maybe it’s vice versa). So if you are predicting a huge uptick in total wide receiver catches this season, then you have to ask yourself if you see Kansas City throwing the ball more often this season.

Next: Will Kansas City go for an aerial assault?