KC Chiefs offensive woes have little to do with Eric Bieniemy or Matt Nagy

There's a long list of issues with the Kansas City offense, but the loss of Bieniemy is towards the bottom.

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Some facts need to be acknowledged before having a conversation about the Kansas City Chiefs' current offensive woes. The first is Eric Bieniemy is a great coach and offensive mind. You cannot celebrate the Chiefs' dominance over the last five years without giving him part of the credit to the team's former offensive coordinator and longtime assistant. He's done well with an offense with little quarterback talent in Washington, too.

The Chiefs would be better today with Bieniemy and Matt Nagy on staff. Just like last year. News flash: you want as many good coaches as you can get.

Like it or not, there's always going to be a racial element discussed when it comes to Bieniemy. Because of the countless cries for him to step into a head coaching opportunity (that he hasn't received) and the league's push for diversity in head coaching hires, Bieniemy became the tip of the spear for a hot topic issue across the league.

All of this means you have people "rooting for their predictions" when it comes to the Chiefs offense. Some want to instantly blame Nagy because they want to believe that Bieniemy was wronged and is a great coaching prospect. Others will overlook any impact he had dismissing it because of their beliefs about diversity hires.

Another fact that needs to be acknowledged is the amount of change the offense has seen. The loss of JuJu Smith-Schuster has certainly been noticed, and the Chiefs switched out both starting tackles this year. Also, Travis Kelce has fought injuries all season long and has seemed to slow down some, too. The Chiefs added more youth to their receiving corps by giving a large amount of snaps to Skyy Moore (who didn't play much last year) and Rashee Rice as well. The Chiefs offense is different than the one that won the Super Bowl.

Then there's the last fact that a lot of people don't like Matt Nagy. The end of Nagy's tenure in Chicago was UGLY. After he dragged Mitch Trubisky to the playoffs twice, he burned bridges in one of the largest markets in the country. There were chants at Chicago Blackhawks' games of "Fire Nagy". He was not a popular guy by the end of his tenure, and lots of that disdain nationally has followed him to the Chiefs.

It's no coincidence that after the Chiefs' first game of the season, there were talking heads blaming the loss on the Chiefs' new offensive coordinator. Yeah, that same loss that featured numerous penalties and dropped passes, including one that went for a pick-six.

What's Wrong with the Chiefs Offense?

Like most things in life, there's not just "one thing" to blame. For some perspective, the Chiefs' offense still ranks 12th in points and 9th in yards, which isn't embarrassing. While it does feel disappointing with the quarterback and coach duo it's not hard to see why this is occurring. The biggest issue is personnel: the Chiefs made some gambles on players that have just not paid off this year.


Kadarius Toney was allegedly WR1 material this off-season and he gets 12 snaps a game. Skyy Moore was relied upon to be a "do everything" pass catcher in this offense and instead he does nothing. Travis Kelce has been hurt and not as explosive; which is what you should expect from a 34 year old tight end who plays around 19 games a year every season. Marquez Valdez-Scantling has went from serviceable to dreadful this year. The tackle play hasn't been an upgrade and if you factor in the penalties it's worse.

The Chiefs are top 10 in penalties called against them. They also have 3 of the top 15 most penalized players in the league Jawaan Taylor (1st), L'Jarius Sneed (3rd) and Trey Smith (15th). Add in Donovan Smith who's added 4 more penalties and the Chiefs offensive line has really piled up costly penalties for an offense that struggles to overcome long yardage.

The Chiefs' offense hasn't been able to run the ball as effectively this season either. Teams are no longer afraid to stack the box against the Chiefs because of their inability to throw the ball deep. All of these factors have led to Patrick Mahomes not playing his best. He's still been one of the best quarterbacks in the league but he's missing some open receivers due to lack of trust, drifting back in the pocket too often, and is pressing some costly turnovers.

Overall

Do the Chiefs miss Eric Bieniemy? Of course, they do. He was an experienced offensive coordinator with great skills. Is his absence a viable reason why the Chiefs offense has disappointed? No. If Bieniemy was still in Kansas City as the OC, would he be getting blamed? Maybe. If the Chiefs offense was top 3 this year without Bieniemy, would Matt Nagy get praise? Probably not. The fact is this is an Andy Reid offense and they've churned good coaches out like Doug Pederson, Mike Kafka, Nagy and now Bieniemy, yet none of it seemed to matter until this year where there's some dissatisfaction with the offense.

Ask yourself this: how many quarterbacks would be successful in the current structure of the Chiefs offense? Maybe 3 or 4? The Chiefs' offensive woes are multi-layered and not limited to just coaching or scheme. Numerous former players have said in the media that Bieniemy was a source of accountability in the locker room. No doubt some of the players in that locker room miss/need that but to point to that as a quantifiable reason for disappointment feels like a stretch.

The reality is Matt Nagy isn't dropping passes, committing penalties, or turning the ball over in the red zone. If your complaint is play calling, then that's an Andy Reid complaint more than Nagy. Frankly, this offense is more than a few accountability conversations away from what it was last year. Lastly, the number one priority for this franchise is keeping their Hall of Fame quarterback happy. A quick viewing of Netflix's Quarterback or a rewatch of the Super Bowl Parade, you can see Patrick Mahomes and Matt Nagy have a relationship. There is a definitive connection between the two.

We can argue whether "Patrick Mahomes needs hard coaching" or not but the reality is this is probably what he wanted. Of course, Matt Nagy deserves some of the blame for the current state of the offense. But he's not near or top of the list. Next year, if the Chiefs fix their offense through the draft and free agency, Nagy won't get credit, so let's be realistic about who gets the blame.

manual