Chiefs gameplan: stick to what works

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Sep 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end James O

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This is really easy. Play 2TE+ sets. The group of TEs the Chiefs have on roster is very impressive physically. The have size and significant speed. All three of the active game day tight ends have made catches for Alex Smith. They all offer a mismatch that the offense can take advantage of. Andy Reid talked about the tight ends, and number 80 in particular, in his media appearance this week, saying “Yeah, we’ve tried to utilize their talents… He’s learning as we go here. But the effort’s good, and again, he’s had some good downs for us.”

Travis Kelce is a very good tight end, but Reid and Smith need to get James O’Shaughnessy involved more. Rather than treating them as Kelce and his backup, the Chiefs would do well to approach them as TE1 and TE1B. O’Shaughnessy is a slightly smaller, less robust version of Kelce. However, they both offer matchups that the opposing defenses have been unable to stop, particularly with zone defenses.

They both have good size and great speed. Of late, O’Shaughnessy has shown a knack for making plays like Kelce. In fact, O’Shaughnessy leads the Chiefs tight ends with an average of 17.0 yards per reception, which is nearly three yards better than Kelce. All told, the duo has both of the top-2 yards per reception averages.

Feed the growing receivers

Oct 11, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) and wide receiver Chris Conley (17) walk back to the huddle after a play during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bears won 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Conley has developed a problem with drops. He is a rookie and that is to be expected. He has responded to them by making plays, including a leaping catch against Minnesota for a first down. Conley has to fix the drops and there is no reason to think he can’t.

Conley clearly has the confidence of Alex Smith. Smith targeted Conley seven times against the Vikings. Only Kelce, who also had seven targets, could match that. With Jeremy Maclin following the concussion protocol, Conley should get even more repetitions with Albert Wilson, who scored his first NFL touchdown last week. Conley can settle down and relax a bit while getting more game-reps. Wilson grew more confident in the latter half od the 2014 season and Conley should be able to replicate that. The pair of young receivers have a chance to grow into a feature role right now. Nothing could be better for the Kansas City offense.

Check back next week. I’ll have more …

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