Kansas City Chiefs preview: For Super Bowl champs, end of divisional dominance not imminent

Coach: Andy Reid. The 62-year-old Reid enters his eighth year with Kansas City (77-35 regular season/5-5 playoffs) following 14 years in Philadelphia (130-93-1 regular season/10-9 playoffs).

Last year’s record: 12-4 (first in AFC West). The Chiefs defeated San Francisco to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years. Kansas City has won four consecutive division titles and at least 10 games in six of Reid’s seven years.

Offensive play-caller: Former CU running back and assistant coach Eric Bieniemy is the coordinator, but Reid has called the plays for his entire head-coaching career and has been correctly lauded by fashioning his offense to his quarterback’s skills, be it Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick in Philadelphia, or Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. Despite calling the plays, Reid has sent former coordinators Brad Childress (Minnesota), Doug Pederson (Philadelphia) and Matt Nagy (Chicago) to NFL head-coaching posts.

Quarterback Situation: The best in the NFL, period. The league MVP in 2018, his first year as a starter, Mahomes is 24-7 in the regular season (76 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a 108.8 rating) and 4-1 in the postseason (13 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 106.6 rating).

And Mahomes doesn’t turn 25 until Sept. 17.

The Chiefs traded up in 2017 to draft Mahomes and then had him watch Smith for a season. Smith was flipped to Washington and Mahomes was handed the keys to Reid’s dynamic offense.

Mahomes is the most fun player to watch in pro football because of his arm, his variety of throwing angles and his ability to extend plays.

Helping the quarterback: In 2013, the Chiefs drafted tight end Travis Kelce in the third round and he has four consecutive years of at least 83 catches and 1,030 yards receiving.

In 2016, they drafted receiver Tyreek Hill in the fifth round after he tumbled down the board because of off-the-field issues. Hill is one of the game’s best home-run hitters (14.6 yards per catch) and knows where the end zone is located (36 total touchdowns in 59 games). After Hill, the Chiefs added receiver Sammy Watkins in 2018 and drafted Mecole Hardman in the 2019 second round.

The Chiefs used this year’s first-round draft pick on running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who will be an instant threat as a receiver (55 catches last year at LSU).

The other plus for Mahomes: He has stability on the edges in left tackle Eric Fisher and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz

Three key questions

1. Who replaces Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and Damien Williams?

Duvernay-Tardiff, the Chiefs’ right guard, and Williams, their running back who rushed for 107 yards in the Super Bowl, both opted out of the season. The Chiefs moved quickly to sign former Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele to replace Duvernay-Tardiff. Osemele, 31, has 96 games of NFL starting experience and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016-17.

Before Williams opted out, the Chiefs drafted Edwards-Helaire. He joins Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams in the backfield.

2. Does Reid want the offense to be more balanced?

Last year, the Chiefs ran on 38.4% of their plays, which was 23rd in …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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