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Chiefs: Questions with Answers


Chiefs vs Lions-KC Star
The Kansas City Star  /  Article by Thomas Minor @UniversalChiefs / @ChiefsFocus

 There were many questions heading into this season for the Chiefs.  There was much speculation heading into this season for the Chiefs.  There were contracts to be negotiated and veterans to be released.  There were coaching defections and coaching promotions.  Who is wide receiver number one for this offense?  Who will produce quarterback sacks and pressure for this defense?  After one game, we don’t have all the answers, but let’s look at what we do know.

 Let’s start with the offensive line.  The center and both guard positions look solid, as usual.  At times, Tre Smith struggled to block Aidan Hutchison when he moved down to the defensive tackle position.  This was problematic for the line, but they were able to make the necessary adjustments.  The biggest question for the offensive line was at the tackle position.  After losing both veteran tackles to free agency, Brett Veach gambled on acquiring a younger and athletic right tackle in Jawann Taylor, and an older veteran in Donovan Smith.  I gave them a solid C+ for their first game protecting Patrick Mahomes.  Mahomes was under duress for a good portion of the game.  Also, the two tackles committed some untimely penalties that put the outcome of the game in jeopardy.



 Are Smith and Taylor the answer at the tackle position?  I’m leaning towards no.  I think you can manage having Taylor on the right side.  Again, it is just one game, and it is very easy to overact.  Taylor is fairly young, and I hope he can get better, but he reminds me a lot of Orlando Brown Jr. with more athleticism.  With that said, I believe the ceiling is higher for Taylor.  If Taylor dedicates himself to improving his technique and works hard, he can be a Pro Bowl-caliber right tackle.  Donovan Smith wasn’t bad on Thursday night.  He did live up to the billing of getting a holding call at the most critical parts of a game.  Is there still hope for Smith?  Yes.  He is on a one-year contract with every reason to impress the Chiefs and the other 31 teams in the NFL.

 The Chiefs have a number-one wide receiver.  He just happens to play at the tight end position.  Also, he was out of the game on Thursday.  Is this the reason the Chiefs lost?  No.  The Chiefs lost because no other receivers stepped into the limelight and carried the torch in Kelce’s absence.  That is why the Chiefs lost.  Kansas City should be able to go one or two games without the presence of Kelce.  Also, Toney has missed the entire preseason while recovering from surgery.  Understandably, he would be rusty.  Is this a reason for concern?  No.  Once he gets more practice time under his belt, he will be back to making plays, and the fans will forget about the drops.  Well, maybe not the potential game-winner in the fourth quarter, but it happens from time to time in sports.

Kelce-pro football network
Pro Football Network

 With seven wide receivers on the team, there should be no reason Kansas City cannot put a quality receiving core on the field.  The most disturbing aspect was the inability of the receivers to get separation even with Mahomes buying time in the pocket.  Again, it was the first game of the season, and there is a tendency for everyone to overreact (including me).  There is no guarantee that Kelce will play in the second game of the season as a precautionary measure.  With that said, everyone will be looking for the receiving core to show a steady progression from game to game.

 How much has Bieniemy’s departure affected the offense?  I’m not sure, and no one else is either.  It is too early to know that.  The Chiefs only put up 20 points against a Detroit team that had the worst defense last season.  Yes, Detroit did make some quality acquisitions this offseason.  With that said, I don’t believe they are that improved to hold last year’s best offense to 20 points.  Again, it’s early, and I could be completely wrong.  Detroit could have a top-five defensive squad, but I’m not betting any money on that.  My concern with the loss of Bieniemy is that he held everyone accountable, and presented a toughness that spilled onto the field when the offense needed it the most.  Is Matt Nagy able to produce similar effects with a different approach?  I’m not sure, but I guarantee we will find out this season.

Defense-Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press

The biggest surprise was the performance of the defense, specifically the defensive line in the absence of Chris Jones.  They were able to hold a top-five offense from a year ago to 14 points.  The line was able to put pressure on Jared Goff and made a major adjustment to the power-running game of the Lions.  Anytime the Chiefs’ defense holds an opposing team’s offense to 14 points, the Chiefs should win 100% of the time with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.  This directly reflects the inadequate play of the wide receivers on Thursday night.  The winning score for the Detroit Lions was made by the Chiefs’ wide receivers.  Mahomes could not have thrown a more perfect pass to Toney.  It hit him directly in both hands, in stride, and couldn’t have been placed better if the ball were handed off.  As you know, that dropped pass turned into a pick-six and was the deciding factor in the victory for Detroit.

 I would like to reiterate that this is the first game of the season.  The Chiefs are coming off a Super Bowl victory and have been slatted with the expectations of repeating as Super Bowl champions.  The spotlight will certainly be as bright as ever for the Chiefs.  How they respond will make all the difference in executing the journey of being the first repeat champion in over 20 years.  As long as there is a consistent progression from the wide receivers, the offensive tackles, and the defensive line acquisitions, the Chiefs will be right where they want to be at the end of the season.


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