The Kansas City Chiefs find themselves with a surprising undefeated record with seven more games left in the regular season. The Bye Week is a great time to reassess the play of the team. The wide receivers are up next.
The Chiefs average 198 receiving yards per game which ranks 27th in the NFL. Not quite the numbers you want to see (silver lining: the Chiefs only have four interceptions all year, the best in the league).
Quarterback Alex Smith is the center of the offense, and he provides a solid, yet not great, performance nearly every week. The majority of his passes find their mark, but the majority of his passes are also for short yardage.
The wide receivers are producing yards, but at a very low rate compared to the rest of the NFL. The Chiefs’ leading receiver, Donnie Avery, places 68th in receiving yards on the year. There isn’t much of a passing attack in Kansas City these days.
The Kansas City coaches know this. They feed the ball to Charles, control the clock, and trust in the all-mighty defense. Honestly, it’s hard to say why the Chiefs don’t develop more yards each week, but the blame will be put on the quarterback for this game.
Again, it’s not that Smith is a bad quarterback; it’s just that he isn’t the prototypical pass-happy gunslinger. He doesn’t generate the same yardage as other quarterbacks. But the Chiefs play to their strengths and don’t rely fully on Smith. This system works, and there is no need to fix it right now.
So for now, the receivers will earn lower grades from me, not because they’ve been terrible, they just haven’t produced like other NFL receivers.
Donnie Avery – 396 yards, 27 receptions, 1 touchdown
The team leader in yards, Avery finds himself in a place to prove himself. After being drafted in the 2nd round, Avery has not produced to the level of his potential. Following years with the Rams, Titans, and Colts, he comes in once again to prove his potential. His speed enables him to outrun a lot of defenders, but has had problems in previous years of being able to hold onto the ball. He’s able to make fairly large gains when he does catch the ball, averaging 14.7 yards per catch. GRADE: C+
Jamaal Charles (RB)- 389 yards, 47 receptions, 2 touchdowns
The most influential player on the Chiefs’ offense, Charles has received high praise from people around the nation for his determination and quality of play. He was selected to Greg A. Bedard’s Mid-Season All-Pro Team. Let me point out that the majority of Charles’ yards come after the catch. As a running back he wrangles in passes behind the line of scrimmage, therefore he doesn’t get any yards just by catching the ball like receivers do. Because of this Charles is third in the league for Yards After Catch (YAC). He is the brightest spot of the fairly poor offense. GRADE: A+
Dwayne Bowe – 369 yards, 33 receptions, 2 touchdowns
Bowe gets a little bit of slack when I grade him. He is the Chiefs’ biggest and best receiver, and other teams try to prevent him any space to make a catch. Bowe gets double coverage throughout the game which is why he has so few receptions. He’s been targeted 55 times during the course of the year, the most by any Chief, but only has 33 receptions. Bowe has reliable hands, a big body, and the skill to overcome most defensive backs, and as the number one receiver, he should be producing more yards. GRADE: C
Dexter McCluster – 262 yards, 25 receptions, 1 touchdown
Let’s get this out of the way…
Alright, mistakes happen. McCluster knew he was open, he knew he was going to score a touchdown, but he got so excited that he forgot to catch the ball first. McCluster has produced a fairly good season so far as the third receiver, but that one missed touchdown catch drops him a partial letter grade in my book. Also, if I was including his contribution on special teams then his grade would definitely be higher, but I’m only grading his work as a receiver. GRADE: C-
Sean McGrath (TE) – 206 yards, 18 receptions, 1 touchdown
The tight end spot has been leveled by injures early in the year, and luckily McGrath has been able to step in a fill the hole. No, he’s not the most talented tight end you ask for, but he has provided a constant level of decency. If he was the starting tight end his grade would be much lower, but since he came to this team through waiver just before the season started, he gets a… GRADE: C+