The Kansas City Chiefs offense has struggled to get into a consistent rhythm since the start of the 2023 NFL season. So far, the Chiefs haven't been the juggernaut offense that we're used to. Even the long ball has been rather ineffective this year for Kansas CIty and Patrick Mahomes has given the ball away to the other team on several deep pass attempts this season.
The main reason for the offensive struggles to this point has been the performance at wide receiver. We knew that Kansas City's wide receiver corps held a lot of youth andds inexperience entering this season and that this group was going to require some patience. However, their performance so far has left a lot of fans wondering if this offense has enough.
All the offense really needs is one of the receivers to separate themselves from the pack to take things up a level. There's a role for all the Chiefs receivers in this offense but you can't just have a bunch of JAGS ("just a guy") and think that's going to work in the long run. Someone needs to grab the WR1 role that still hasn't been filled.
Rashee Rice is showing significant room to grow into a special player for the Chiefs offense.
One player that has emerged in recent weeks is wide receiver Rashee Rice. Rice has flashed quite a few times already this season and now he's starting to string together some strong performances. He scored a touchdown in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings to help propel Kansas City to a win and then he followed that up with 4 catches for 72 yards against the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football.
Rice's stock is continuing to rise and it seems that as his opportunities have increased, so has his production which can't be said for the other receivers. Quite simply, the cream is starting to rise to the top and that's a really good thing for Kansas City. What has made Rice stand out from the rest of the group is his explosiveness with the ball in his hands and his ability to generate yards cafter the catch. Rice almost moves like a big running back in the open field and his acceleration allows him to get open quickly after the snap and he can outrun defenders with ease.
Of course, Rice has struggled with some early drops, but his ceiling appears so much higher than any other receiver that the Chiefs have that you kind of just have to live with it and hope he cleans them up as he gets more comfortable in the offense and with the speed of the NFL game. Once the ball is in Rice's hands, though, he is capable of doing a lot of damage.
Through six weeks, Rice has recorded 21 catches for 245 yards and 2 TDs with over 100 of those yards coming in just the past two weeks. In addition, Rice is leading the Chiefs in yards per route run which shows that he's producing the most in his opportunities and he's averaging more receiving yards in the amount of routes he runs compared to other receivers. In other words, Rice probably needs to be running more routes.
With the lackluster play we've seen from the other Chiefs receivers combined with the recent success of Rice, it is very clear that Kansas City should be playing him more. At this point, he has only played 38% of the team's offensive snaps in 2023, which is less than players like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore, who have been almost invisible for the Chiefs most of this year.
If Kansas City wants to maximize what it has at the receiver position and help the offense get out of this early season funk, then they need to realize what they have in Rice and give him all the snaps and maybe tone down the amounts given to Skyy Moore and MVS. Also, since Justin Watson is out with a dislocated elbow, it is imperative that the Chiefs get Rice even more involved as they're going to need someone who can provide those big plays and get chunk yardage.
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