Kansas City Chiefs: Impact of Tyreek Hill injury moving forward

Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

Every NFL season is filled with peaks and valleys for fans, teams, and players. Tyreek Hill’s season began on the peak by signing a big contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs last Friday. He was injured days later in the opener.

So what will be the impact of that injury for the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward?

As of right now, it appears as though Tyreek Hill will avoid going on injured reserve. The recovery time for an injury like this differs with each player, but estimates look to generally be in the five-week range.

It’s undeniable that Hill’s presence will be missed for any length of time but thankfully, there can always be an upside. There are plenty of other reasons to be optimistic moving forward.

First, this may be just the time for Sammy Watkins to shine.

After mostly up-and-down seasons through his career, he looks to be healthy and has regained his quickness and speed. After Watkins tallied 198 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the season opener against Jacksonville, quarterback Patrick Mahomes clearly has a go-to guy in Hill’s absence. Watkins may just be the breakout player for Kansas City and the entire league as well.

Second, Chiefs’ rookie wide receiver, Mecole Hardman, should get a decent share of Hill’s snaps.

This will be a chance for Hardman to show what he’s capable of and with Watkins as the WR1, it will take some of the pressure off of the young receiver. Hardman’s speed is different than Hill’s but the opportunity for explosive plays will be plentiful in Reid’s system. This coaching staff knows what they have in Hardman and will contour plays to highlight his ability.

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Thankfully, the Chiefs are in a scenario where they have enough talent outside of Hill to still spread the ball around.

None of the Chiefs’ upcoming opponents will overlook the fact that Kansas City has the best tight end in the league in Travis Kelce. It didn’t take long in 2018 to see the chemistry that Kelce had with Mahomes, which will continue on into this season. The veteran tight end has both the talent and confidence to help fill the gap during this time.

One remarkable aspect of Mahomes’ 2018 season was that he continued to put up big numbers in spite of losing the talent around him. Watkins spent part of the season missing games with an injury, while former-Chiefs star running back, Kareem Hunt, was released by the team late in the season.

Neither of these seemed to stop Mahomes from taking his team all the way to the AFC Championship. In a similar fashion, when Hill left the Jacksonville with only 16 yards receiving, Mahomes still threw for three touchdowns and 362 more yards.

There’s also one vitally important detail that can often get overlooked when it comes to player injuries – coaching.

Good coaches are prepared for and know how to plan around a player getting injured. Chiefs Kingdom is fortunate to have Andy Reid and the wisdom that he brings with a lot of years of experience. Coach Reid certainly knows how to game plan around not having Tyreek Hill for a stretch of the season and will have a plan in place going into week two.

All in all, Hill’s injury has less of an impact in Kansas City’s scenario than it likely would be elsewhere. That’s not to say that Hill’s presence in unimportant. In fact, this injury may very well keep Hill’s body and legs fresh when he’s due to return, which could make an even bigger impact down the stretch.

Chiefs fans need not worry, this team is built for a time such as this.