The Kansas City Chiefs have made wholesale changes in 2022 but there are a few constants that act as the pillars of this organization.
Head coach Andy Reid would be one, for example, but another major foundational piece is quarterback Patrick Mahomes II — who was listed as the Chiefs’ “greatest strength” heading into training camp during a recent article on ESPN.
Mahomes Only Trails Brady in Crucial Category
By his standards, Patrick Mahomes had a ‘down’ season in 2021.
But the Chiefs’ passing offense still ranked second in the NFL in expected points added (EPA) per play, behind only the [Los Angeles] Rams over the course of the regular season.
Mahomes’ ability to pull off the unbelievable outside of structure while also limiting negative plays and excelling within structure will keep him at the top of the league’s quarterback hierarchy regardless of what is in place around him.
The only QB to finish higher in PFF’s wins above replacement metric than Mahomes since 2018 is Tom Brady.
I’m sure Chiefs Kingdom would prefer to see “PM15” at the No. 1 spot but trailing a football legend nicknamed “the GOAT” is never a bad thing. Wins above replacement is a pretty good area to do it in too.
For those who don’t know, this stat is commonly referred to as “WAR” and attempts to measure the number of additional wins a player’s team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted with a replacement-level player.
In other words, Mahomes’ presence on the field equates to wins and that amount of additional wins is second only to Brady — not bad.
That begs the question, will this KC offense be worse without Tyreek Hill? Or will it be similar or even better with a more diverse cast of playmakers?
A lot of that will depend on Mahomes, who appears more motivated than ever following a rough collapse in the AFC title game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs superstar called that final half of the season the “worst playoff football” he’s ever played.
Chiefs X-Factor According to Linsey
In case you were wondering, Linsey labeled the loss of Hill as the Chiefs’ big X-factor, rehashing that aforementioned question once again.
“Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster will be asked to replicate various elements of what Hill added,” Linsey continued, “but the most intriguing offseason addition at wide receiver might be Skyy Moore. The second-round pick out of Western Michigan led the FBS in missed tackles forced after the catch (26) in 2021, and he could operate both in the slot and outside in Kansas City’s offense this season.”
There’s no doubt about it, finding chemistry within this new receiver corps will be integral for Mahomes and the Chiefs’ ability to reproduce their success in 2022.
Heading into training camp, the most impressive wide receivers have appeared to be three new faces: Valdes-Scantling, Smith-Schuster and Justin Watson.
Moore and Mecole Hardman should definitely be in the mix as well but were limited with hamstring ailments this spring. If those five do end up making the roster, it’ll be interesting to see if a sixth receiver joins them. Some candidates would be veteran Josh Gordon, rookie Justyn Ross, special teams ace Daurice Fountain, or former top prospect Corey Coleman.