KC Chiefs set up Skyy Moore to fail on punt returns

Sep 25, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) fumbles the ball during a kick return during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) fumbles the ball during a kick return during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Why do the Kansas City Chiefs insist on setting up Skyy Moore to fail as a punt returner when he clearly is so out of his element?

Insanity, it is said, is best described or defined by doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. At this point, it might not be insane but it’s definitely reached the point of maddening for fans watching the Kansas City Chiefs continue to trot wide receiver Skyy Moore onto the field to return yet another punt.

On Sunday afternoon, the Chiefs put away the Los Angeles Rams in a game that was a bit closer than it should have been—and yes, we’re talking about an outcome that featured a 16-point deficit. A big part of that discomfort was the fact that the Chiefs presented the Rams with a quick turnover right out of the gate thanks to the aforementioned scenario.

Let’s get a quick disclaimer out of the way: Skyy Moore does not deserve the blame here. You, as the reader, might disagree with this and that’s fine. These are, after all, opinions and it’s not hard to understand why some might want to point fingers at Moore since his own fingers are the ones unable to secure the football. That said, the Chiefs are placing Moore in a position to fail as a punt returner. The Chiefs are to blame. That’s a leadership issue, first and foremost.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like that big of a reach to ask a football player to do something related to football. It’s not as if, say, asking an air traffic controller to fly the plane instead, right? Too bad it doesn’t work that way.

A football coach’s primary job is to clearly understand the strengths and weaknesses of the talent he has to work with and then apply the right game plan to achieve maximum success. In this instance, the Chiefs have not only pushed Skyy Moore into a new role (more on that in a minute), but they’ve seen him wither in that new role multiple times now. In fact, it even cost them a game in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. Yet somehow, nine weeks later, Moore is still being asked to return punts.

Chiefs Kingdom has felt this frustration before and wrongly placed the blame on the player. (Again, opinions.) Remember screaming at the team’s defense last season when watching Dan Sorensen take the wrong angle or Ben Niemann miss another tackle in pursuit of clearly more athletic players? Yeah. Yet the Sorensens and Niemanns of the world were only doing what they were asked to do. It wasn’t their fault that they were saddled with too much.

Back to Moore. The Chiefs selected him out of Western Michigan in the second round in the 2022 NFL Draft with a pick that was instantly under the microscope for multiple reasons:

  1. Skyy Moore was the only offensive draft pick in the first four rounds for K.C.
  2. Wide receiver was considered a primary need last offseason for the Chiefs.
  3. The Chiefs ignored the cries of fans for George Pickens and even traded down from the very spot they could have taken the Georgia receiver.

Basically, Moore was the only response in the draft to a positional need fans were dying to fill and he was the guy they took instead of the one most fans wanted. In short, Moore was saddled with high expectations from the moment Brett Veach wrote down his name on a draft card.

That last paragraph summarizes the reason why fans were asking “what about Skyy Moore?” week after week in a season in which the Chiefs offense is flattening defenses with each passing game. Somehow the offense is exciting and yet the lack of production from Moore is concerning. Whether or not it makes sense (or is fair) doesn’t matter. Fans are saying it anyway.

For a guy who is already under pressure to perform in an offense that was refusing to give him opportunities, the Chiefs gave him a new avenue in which to try to begin to live up to fan expectations. Except, the only problem is that he wasn’t a punt returner. I don’t mean at the NFL level, but even in college. Yeah, that means the Chiefs were asking him to do something new.

It’s one thing to try something out in the preseason and maybe even to give it a shot in the regular season. For reasons beyond anyone in Chiefs Kingdom, however, the Chiefs have remained insistent on Skyy Moore, Punt Returner as part of the package that he brings to the NFL. And in Week 12, it burned them once again.

Here’s what is the worst part about all of this: Skyy Moore, Valuable Receiver is just now starting to show his face around Kansas City. In the wake of recent wide receiver injuries (Kadarius Toney, Mecole Hardman), Moore has shown up as a dependable pass catcher capable of crisp routes and surprising separation. He’s moved the chains more than once on long third-down situations and he looks like he’s going to be a valuable wideout going forward for a unit that had little certainty beyond ’22.

Here’s hoping we can all forgive and forget the special teams miscues on the part of Moore at this stage and let him grow as an offensive catalyst from this point forward. The Chiefs coaches are the ones who deserve blame here, for pushing Moore to once again return to the role he’s failed before and hoping for a different outcome.