The Chiefs do not look like the team that won the Super Bowl last year, and that's just fine, so long as they figure themselves out in time to yet again be a Super Bowl contender. They should, but they first have to figure out a few issues that have plagued them these past two weeks. There are a couple big issues that I wanted to discuss with you all though, which brings us to this week's BURNING QUESTION. I'll list what I believe to be the three biggest areas that need to be addressed, you can vote or give your opinion on what you think it is (if it isn't one of the three, I mentioned) and we can go from there. Capiche? Let's begin:
The Wide Receiver Room
The revolving door of wide receivers for Patrick Mahomes to throw to has not worked out the way Brett Veach and Company thought it would, which is cause for concern. Kadarius Toney had 7 drops against the Lions, which accounts for 20% of Larry Fitzgerald's TOTAL drops throughout his career, Justin Watson is not a reliable deep threat, and you have to find a way to take the pressure off an aging Travis Kelce. Whether it's Toney, Watson, Rice, Ross, MVS, or any other wide receiver on this roster, they have to find someone (preferably multiple players) that will be a reliable target. Patrick Mahomes is a spectacular football player, but there are certain situations that make it tough on him to work his magic. This being one of them.
The Offensive Play-Calling
Eric Bienemy has headed for Washington, which has not boded well for him so far unfortunately. This being said, the Nagy Revival tenure in Kansas City has also been less than ideal. Getting too cute on 3rd/4th and short, not utilizing the run game, questionable decision-making that doesn't seem to be based in metrics and analytics (Punting from the opponent's 37-yard line was certainly a choice. Yes, I know the defense has been stellar so far but that could have ended VERY badly, and you have Harrison Butker right there to get you points.) and overall, putting far too much stress on Mahomes to perform has plagued this offense so far this season. Again, he's a spectacular, once in a generation player, but he is not a living god. Please stop having to make him make plays to cover your butt, Matthew. Do better. Am I saying all of this falls on him? Absolutely not, a lot of it also falls on Andy Reid, but he has to be in Reid's ear for these types of decisions if he is truly a good offensive coordinator.
The Offensive Line
$80 million for Jawaan Taylor may have been a mistake. Were the penalties against him this past matchup a bit ticky-tack? Potentially, but he still had 5 of them in one game. It was straight up inexcusable. An elite tackle, nay, a COMPETENT tackle at this level adjusts accordingly and learns from their mistakes, which is why Andy Reid pulled him mid-drive. The whole lining up off the ball thing has already gotten old too. Yes, Lane Johnson and a host of other tackles do it and don't get called for it, but it goes back to adjustments that need to be made. It's not "rigged against the Chiefs" Jawaan Taylor has been pointed out for being egregious with it and he has been, therefore he gets called. We cannot control what happens with other teams, and most of the time? Guys like Lane Johnson (who is an elite tackle mind you) can pull that and get away with it because they're actually timing the snap correctly. Taylor was not against Jacksonville and was clearly rattled, which is why his rhythm was thrown off and why he got called. As for the other guys on the line, Joe Thuney and Creed Humphrey underperformed against Jacksonville which is why Reid and Nagy were probably so hesitant to run the ball. They'll recover and learn from it, I have no doubt, but it should be a point of emphasis this week of practice much like Taylor's penalties. They don't get a free pass. Finally, Donovan Smith is playing like Donovan Smith of old. Everyone and their mother know that he's notorious for holding calls and so far, he has proven it, the question is can HE adjust his game to become a stalwart left tackle? He has the time and the coaching to do so, but it's really up to him.
Those are the three biggest areas to improve for the Chiefs, in my humble opinion. However, what do you think? Were there ones that I missed? Penalties certainly can be limited but I don't think they're as big as these areas (and more or less coincide with the offensive line play as that's where the bulk of backbreaking penalties come from.) so they were left off the list, but should they have been? Let me know in the comments below, best answers get feature on the ScorchCast come Sunday! Give it a watch!
Burn Notice: 8/10 If you don't put out the fire now you could get burnt.