What we know about Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid is that he’s a future HOF coach, a verified offensive genius, and will go down as a QB mentor beyond compare.
Even more impressive, Reid seems to have an insatiable appetite for learning and expanding his repertoire. (You thought I was going to say cheeseburgers. Shame on you!)
As Mahomes enters his 4th year in the league, and 3rd as a starter, he is hitting the prime of his career. That’s a little scary for AFC opponents. His knowledge of the Andy Reid offense is ingrained at this point. He’s playing and reacting, not thinking. That transition is when most QBs take flight.
It’s scary to think how Mahomes will play with that level of comfort.
The fact that Mahomes has an MVP and a Super Bowl ring already is difficult to comprehend. He did that when he was still learning the playbook, understanding how to read NFL defenses, and developing chemistry with his line and receivers.
None of this means that Mahomes is fully-formed in 2021. Every year, Reid adds wrinkles to his voluminous playbook.
For Mahomes, and Chiefs fans, each new year brings an updated edition of the wildest playbook in the NFL. This year will be no different. Here are a few things we may see in the 2021:
- This year there are rumors of more receiving routes for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. CEH was drafted as a back that was equally dangerous as a runner and a receiver. Many have made comparisons to Bryant Westbrook, a tough-as-nails back Reid used in multiple ways during his time with the Eagles. Look for CEH to be in the backfield, in the slot, or even split wide at times. His elusiveness and skill-set make him a mismatch at every level.
- Noah Gray, the rookie TE from Duke, is creating buzz with his sure hands and nuanced route running. If he continues to develop on his current pace, Reid may finally have the type of TE2 he’s coveted for years. Should Gray prove reliable, and gain the trust of Mahomes, the Chiefs can add double TE sets and H-Back formations to spread defenses beyond their breaking point.
- Cornell Powell is a real wild card who could be the player that makes the Chiefs unstoppable on offense. He’s big enough and fast enough to fill the slot WR role. The only knocks you see in his scouting profile are a small sample size of work and average elusiveness and ‘get-off’ from the line.
Tyreek has some good things to say about the rookie. I’ll take those at face value and assume he really sees potential in the Clemson product. Look for Reid to use the TEs and Powell to suck defenses up and/or inside, providing space to Hill and Hardman down the sidelines.
- This is a big year for Mecole Hardman. He needs to establish himself as the #2 WR or be endangered of getting passed over by other prospects. We know he’s fast, his hands are decent, his route running and feel are where he needs to tighten his game.
I liken Hardman to Jarrod Dyson on the Royals a few years back. In certain situations, he’s a deadly weapon, but as an everyday player he lacks the all-around skills to be a dependable starter. It’s not from opportunity. He’ll get his chances this year, but if he doesn’t become more consistent, he might end up being trade bait next year, with a year still left on his rookie contract.
- Pringle, Robinson, Kemp – or whoever fills out the WR spots – still don’t look like impact players. I think Pringle and Robinson could have a good game, here and there, but Kemp will make his impact on special teams. These guys are not getting plays drawn up for them, they need to execute the ones that are already in the playbook.
- The last impact player who I hope sees his role expand is Darrel Williams. I don’t know why, but I love Williams. I also think he has the hands to participate more in the running game. While I don’t think Coach Reid will be drawing up plays specifically for him, Williams will be an important contributor again.
We know Coach Reid loves to tinker. With Mahomes at the helm, his options are only limited by his imagination and the other pieces he can place on the board. If Mahomes, CEH, Kelce, and Hill are all healthy and ready to go, the wrinkles Gray and Powell can add make the Chiefs offense look downright terrifying.