General manager John Dorsey has been a busy boy. Actually, when it comes to general managers, he could be thought of as a man among men. Especially when it comes to the sheer volume of players being brought in and out of the Chiefs’ revolving doors.
Actually when it comes to the 2015 offseason (after releasing a significant chunk of the 2014 roster, then adding a 10-pick draft, signing dozens of free agents while releasing other free agents, then bringing in a load of undrafted free agent additions following the draft), our man John has surpassed the “doing his due diligence” adage.
All of that is reason enough to prepare fans for a number of changes yet to come because the changes that Andy Reid and John Dorsey are making are pointing the organization in the right direction.
So … don’t be surprised if … those include the kinds of changes that bear the potential to surprise. Changes that might occur to anyone grinding through the Chiefs roster.
Also … don’t be surprised if … the K.C. Chiefs win it all this year. Of course, it will take many other surprises to get them there. Like…
Don’t be surprised if … De’Anthony Thomas has a break-out year — as a wideout.
By the end of the season, De’Anthony Thomas could be the Chiefs’ No. 2 wide receiver and a well respected one at that. It’s clear by now that DAT is going to be playing the wide-out position almost exclusively this year. What’s also clear is that every time Sean Smith has spoken about covering him in practice, he’s adamant that DAT is someone to be respected. Especially his speed.
Getting Thomas isolated one-on-one was a goal for Andy Reid last year. Reid appears to have figured out how to use Thomas more consistently and force defenses to to make more difficult decisions about which KC wideout they should double. There are only so many defensive backs in a defensive backfield that you can use in double-coverage.
Most offenses get their No. 1 receiver covered by a corner and a safety, and you’d expect to see that approach applied to Jeremy Maclin on a regular basis. If an offensive coordinator can dictate who else gets double-teamed, it opens up the offensive playbook and significantly improves his ability to scheme and sequence play calling with consistently more success.
Knowing what you can control makes a quarterback’s third, fourth, or fifth option each a much higher “percentage shot.”
Sean Smith said he’d allow DAT room to give in front of him because you don’t want to try and jam him. Smith knows that if he misses on DAT, it becomes a “track meet.” Most defensive backs in the league won’t want to be on the losing end of that race, so DAT should be able to make his fair share of receptions on curls and hooks and sitting down in the seams of a zone.
"“The first thing that stands out is the speed… it’s apparent to us, the guy’s feet are remarkable, so in and out of cuts, the speed he has of course, those are the things that can help him because maybe he is a little undersized but all of a sudden guys are scared of his speed so maybe he does get a little cushion, guys are afraid if they don’t get a hand on him all of a sudden he’s going to be gone. He’s got that kind of physical ability….”"
Of course, the moment most Chiefs fans will be waiting for is the one where some daring corner with inferior speed gets iso’d up and makes a mistake, resulting in an easy pitch and catch from Alex to De’Anthony in the zone … the end zone.
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said this week, referring to Thomas’ transition to wide receiver,
"“He’s done an excellent job. He’s so explosive on the outside. He’s great in transition where he can move left and right, laterally really well.”"
So, don’t be surprised if De’Anthony Thomas is considered one of the better No. 2 wide receivers in the league come Dec. 31. He’ll not only help himself, but help to open up the rest of the offense in 2015.
On Thursday, during a press conference, the question was posed, “What prompted the move of De’Anthony Thomas to receiver?” To which Coach Reid said,
"“This is what ended up happening… last year, he ended up being more receiver than running back. He’s still taking the ball handling, he still doing stuff from the running back position, but most of, the majority of his snaps, were from that receiver position. So, we said, you know what, let’s just put him there. We know he can get back there, we know he does ball handling, so he works on the runs but, we put the major emphasis on him getting to know those routes better, as a receiver.”"
Then Reid was asked, “What can he do to break press coverage?” Reid’s reply?
"“Great quickness. Quickness and speed. That’s what he’s got. And he’s strong. For being small he’s strong. You don’t want mess with. He’s one of those guys you put in the category if you’re a defensive corner, or safety, you do not want to miss if you’re in press coverage on him… because… you’re probably not going to catch him.”"
DAT is strong? Strong is DAT? Well, any way you pose that question the answer is the same… an emphatic yes! Below is a screencap of Thomas paving the way for a 47-yard run down the left sideline by Jamaal Charles against the Seattle Seahawks. What stands out about the play is DAT’s lead block on 6-foot-3, 232-pound safety Cam Chancellor all the way down the field.
It’s clear that De’Anthony Thomas will have many more speaking lines in this year’s drama. On offense, don’t be surprised if he has one of the leading roles by the end of the season.
Next: Rodney's replacement getting it done...