Chiefs vs. Raiders: Antonio Brown’s lingering impact and 9 other questions
How will the Chiefs offense fare without Tyreek Hill?
Just when it seemed like Tyreek Hill had finally caught a break, signing a big-time extension with the Chiefs, his season will be put on hold with a sternoclavicular joint injury. At this point, it appears Hill will avoid IR and miss between four and six weeks.
With Hill out, it begs the question how the Chiefs offense will do without him. Fortunately, this offense is absolutely loaded. All of the talk about how fantastic Sammy Watkins looked this off season seems not an exaggeration. Watkins not only looked good on Sunday against one of the best defenses in the entire league; he looked absolutely unstoppable.
I’ll be frank about this. If Watkins is able to stay healthy and even maintains half of what we saw on Sunday on a consistent basis, he may be a top-five receiver in the entire NFL. He has the size, the speed, and the elusiveness. Nobody could stop him. You can bet the Chiefs front office will do everything they can to keep him around if he keeps this up.
Then there’s Travis Kelce, who had himself another nice day against the Jaguars. There’s not much that needs to be said here. He’s going to get his, no matter who we play. The only caveat with Kelce is half the time he’s the focal point of the opposing defensive coordinator. The real question here is who steps up to cover the void, however large it actually seems to become, while Hill is out.
It seems rather fortuitous now that the Chiefs selected a wide receiver in this years draft. Yes, the team could have used more defensive help. Yes, Mecole Hardman is a raw product that will take time to develop. Yes, we have DeMarcus Robinson who knows the scheme as has talent of his own.
All that said, this is the perfect opportunity to get Hardman some serious snaps as the third wide receiver. If the preseason showed anything, it’s that given the opportunity he’s ready to shine. I’m not expecting him to break any rookie records, but even most teams second corner should be challenged keeping up with his 4.33 speed. He’s going to get his shot Sunday to showcase his ability. Will he make it count?
Who is the starting running back, or does it matter?
Wow, was anyone else as thoroughly impressed as I was with LeSean McCoy on Sunday? The 31-year old running back showed youthful quickness and burst and the trademark vision that made him one of the best running backs in the league for a very long time. I personally expected him to be a factor at some point this season, but I never expected him to sign with the Chiefs and then only a couple days later play an integral role in the running game.
In total, he carried the ball 10 times for 81 yards on the ground and added one catch for 12 yards through the air. Damien Williams, the presumed starter since early in the offseason, carried the ball 13 times for 26 yards on the ground and added one catch for 39 yards through the air.
McCoy outpaced Williams in the run-game with 8.1 yards per carry compared to 2 yards per carry. McCoy also outpaced Williams in the passing game with 12 yards per reception compared to 6.5 yards per reception.
It’s just one game, and there are numerous factors that these backs can’t control that could have caused one carry by McCoy to break while another by Williams didn’t. That said, McCoy showed some things that Williams just doesn’t possess. Namely, his Hall of Fame vision. Williams will undoubtedly be a factor throughout the entire season, but I’d expect as the season continues that McCoy will get more and more touches and eventually take over responsibilities as the lead back.