Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs Lacking Production In Passing Game

It has only been two games, and preseason ones at that, but the Chiefs display a worrisome lack of a down field passing game. It could just be be vanilla game schemes, or it could be a deeper, more serious issue.

December 30, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Devon Wylie (19) runs with the ball during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

It is never good to panic over, or judge, what it witnessed in preseason games. There is so much going on that has nothing to do winning or losing the games. That doesn’t mean that what we see should be totally ignored either. Outside of the Chiefs first drive of the preseason against the New Orleans Saints, the offense looks eerily similar to the train wrecks fans have been witness to the last few seasons, in the fact it has been terribly unproductive, especially in the passing game.

So far in two games, starter Alex Smith has a relative decent completion percentage of 58.3 (14-24). He has had several balls dropped, but that happens in real games too. He is only averaging a paltry 5.4 yards per attempt. That is not even close to being an acceptable number. His longest completion is those 24 passes is 17 yards. You could pull 11 guys out of your neighborhood and cover 17 yards of a football field.

The lack of an down field aerial attack will also make it harder for Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis to find open spaces in the defenses in the running game. Being able to get the ball down field on the outside will loosen up the middle for the ball carriers. This just hasn’t happened on the field yet with the Chiefs.

A quick look at the team averages per play will reveal a telling story. So far in these two games, the Chiefs as a team are averaging just 4.7 a passing attempt, and only 3.2 on running plays. Their opponents are averaging 6.1 yards each passing attempt and 3.8 on rushes.

Do you want to be scared just a little? Last year, in the 4 preseason games, the Chiefs averaged 6.3 yards per passing attempt and 4.9 per carry. Ouch!

Another worrisome area that has a direct affect on the passing game is the line play. Last season, in four games, the offensive line allowed just 11 sacks. Chiefs quarterbacks have been pulled down behind the line of scrimmage 12 times already in two games. Now, not all of these sacks have been allowed by the starters, and several have been because of guys who won’t be with the team much longer, but it does need to be mentioned as something to keep an eye on over the next two weeks.

The lack of yardage in the passing game does not fall just on the quarterbacks or linemen. The wide receivers have been unproductive as a group. Jamar Newsome has 4 catches, Devon Wylie 3, and no other wide out has more than two. Dwayne Bowe has yet to pull in a reception and neither has Jonathan Baldwin, although the latter has a couple of drops. Bowe has hardly even been targeted in the offense this far.

There appears to be little reason to keep Baldwin on the roster. He has made no progress in his years with the Chiefs and looks lackadaisical in the field. It doesn’t seem as if he is a strong blocker or a precise route runner. He is just taking up valuable playing time from other receivers who have a better chance of producing in the long run.

There is still plenty of time for the Chiefs to work out the kinks in the passing game. It is tough to judge play without the starters playing full time. Head Coach Andy Reid needs to concentrate on finding ways to get the ball to his receivers on the outside and down the field, as well shoring up the pass blocking schemes. If opposing safeties don’t have to worry about getting burned deep, and are able to crowd the box, it will hamper Jamaal Charles’ ability to work effectively.

With two more preseason games still to be played, there is no reason to panic. The lack of an effective passing game is worrisome, and is something to watch carefully over the next two weeks, but at this point, we must trust Coach Reid to find the solution. Let’s hope he can get this offense looking better as the regular season quickly approaches.



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Tags: Jonathan Baldwin Kansas City Chiefs

  • Calchiefsfan

    I’ve got two words, Rico Richardson. If Baldwin can’t get it together then I say give this guy a shot.
    We played a crummy D and an elite D. We rolled on the crummy D and struggled against an elite D, go figure. I’m not expecting miracles this year, I just want the Chiefs to be competitive. It appears they’re heading in that direction. I still see the Chiefs as a possible wild card, especially with the way our schedule plays out.

    • Suzi Conger

      Ccf, I noticed KCC traded JBaldwin to SF this morn; yikes, what did JH see that he could fix with JB that AReid could not ‘fix’?

      • Calchiefsfan

        I think it’s a wild chance that they might be able to motivate Baldwin where no one else could. Jenkins wasn’t doing anything for SF either so it’s a low risk trade for both sides.

        • Suzi Conger

          Yep, sounds plausible

  • Aaron

    I really don’t get it? Why can’t we just get the passing game going? I have watched 6 different preseason games this weekend and seeing all kinds of receivers getting the ball down the field, including rookies and no namers. Something has to change or…. Well, to me it’s looking like the same ol thing. I want this AS and AR change to work out but damn…bye bye Baldwin.

    • Suzi Conger

      Game 1 saints ; passing game was superb; AS11 = 85%+ completion%, 102. QB rating (OLine protection = adequate) and a session 1 TD (no easy task)

      Game 2 SF: OLine protection for AS11 was substandard (will get better, hopefully), 80+-% of AS plays = sacks/rushes/pressured; SF literally swamped AS and of course, sub-par receiver-drops to well-executed passes

      Even then, AS11 out-performed ck7; one pass for -3yds and one redzone ‘strong-arm’ Over-Throw to an Open receiver, all with Zero sacks/pressure/rushes.
      Given the adequate protection, we have the superior QB, AS11 CHIEFS!

  • DieHard_ChiefsFan

    No worries about Reid’s plans for the Preseason. Our first team showed a strong run, our special teams is starting to look special again and the offense is using a base package. The O-Line is a little leaky but Reid will shore up the line before the regular season or roll the QB out of pressure. If you check Reid’s Preseason history, he has won very few games when at Philly. He is checking out all of the players and evaluation the roster for the up coming cuts… it will be moving in the right direction at the start of the season..

    • Suzi Conger

      Agree with all you say DieHard, ‘cept the OLine protection = more deficient that ‘a little leaky’…consider Saints, arguably the worst D in the NFL; AS’s only incomplete/throwaway was due to an almost-sack, in only 1 session (AS11 = 85+% accuracy/completion, 102. QB rating when protection and receivers are adequate,,,Ending ’12 = 104.)
      I’m counting on better OL and receiver performance…hope so. CHIEFS!!

  • Mark Bustamante

    I’ve been pleasingfor DROPS THE BALL-dwin to be cut for weeks.#cutbaldwin

  • Suzi Conger

    It is easy to see the two major weaknesses at present: OLine QB protection and reliable consistent receivers. In addition to sacks, AS11′s QB play was literally swarmed, 80+% plays pressured/rushed in addition to sacks and 3/4 of his well-executed passes were drops. Even the BayArea game commentators were reporting that AS would have achieved for sure 1, and probably 2 TD’s if his OL protection and receivers were not so sub-standard (at this point in time). I understand KC’s OL was up against arguably NFL’s top defense and I figured they would struggle some, but I was surprised/disappointed with the degree that they (OL) crumbled.

    I am disappoint how some people have already ignored/forgotten AS’s performance against the saints; 85+% completion%, 102. QB rating; the only IC/throwaway was due to OLine breakdown, AS’s near sack.

    Take cheer; our OLine will improve and AS’s production was superior to DBrees and ck7 ( SF OL allowed 0sacks/0rushes/near-0 pressure; ck7 produced one pass at -3 yds and (another) ‘strong-arm’ redzone Over-Throw to an open receiver and has not achieved one TD in two games). We definately have the superior starting QB.

    Provide adequate OL protection and receivers that can consistently catch, and AS11 will lead the Chiefs into PO’s CHIEFS!!