The 2022 NFL season is officially on our doorstep and soon we’ll get to see the Kansas City Chiefs in action.
Before that happens our friends over at Touchdown Wire sought to look into the biggest question facing each of the 32 NFL teams. The Chiefs have undergone a ton of changes on both sides of the ball this offseason, but given their history of dynamic offensive play, it’s not surprising that Doug Farrar’s question for Kansas City was about the offense. He simply wants to know: “What is this offense going to look like?”
My answer: It’s going to look quite different, at least as far as receiving talent. The Chiefs are only returning one wide receiver from last season, boasting four new members of that unit. Everywhere else on offense, they’re returning key pieces.
“They still have speed receiver Mecole Hardman, though Hardman’s chemistry with Mahomes has never been what Mahomes had with Hill. Mega-tight end Travis Kelce is still around, though his “matchup nightmare” status takes a hit with Hill out of the picture. Former Packers receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a big speed receiver who can win to all levels at times, and rookie Skyy Moore looks as advertised, but this passing game could be more about sustaining things as opposed to waiting for the big play to happen.” – Doug Farrar
Farrar is right on the money with this, as suggested by the three preseason drives that we saw from the Kansas City first-team offense this year. They were two 11-play drives and one 12-play drive all ending with a touchdown.
“One thing that head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy undoubtedly spent this offseason figuring out: How to help Mahomes against two-deep coverages. Last season, Mahomes completed 215 of 332 passes against two-deep looks (Cover-2, 2-Man, Cover-4, Cover-6, Cover-8) for 2,532 yards, 1,401 air yards, nine touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a Positive Play Rate of 50.3%. Only Trevor Lawrence had more interceptions against two-deep coverage last season, and the Chiefs have not had the kind of running back that can force one of those safeties back in the box.” – Doug Farrar
Another observation from the preseason: The Chiefs used personnel groupings to get teams out of those pesky Cover-2 looks that caused so many problems last season. Running the ball more effectively will be another part of that, but if the preseason was any indication, the running game will again be an afterthought in 2022.
“If Kansas City’s offense looks a bit betwixt and between for the first few games, that’s to be expected. The real question is, how explosive will it all be when big plays are needed down the stretch and in the playoffs?” – Doug Farrar
The offense still has the speed to stretch the field with Hardman, Valdes-Scantling and even Justin Watson, but the goal for the offense this year is to not be so heavily reliant on those plays. That was the case in 2022 and it was detrimental to the success of the offense in the long run.