When the Chiefs elected to trade Tyreek Hill, it inevitably changed their offense. And given that Hill’s an elite talent at the position, it may have made Kansas City’s offense worse.
But from a strategic standpoint, there could be a silver lining. Now that the club has receivers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster, there’s less predictability as to where quarterback Patrick Mahomes will look to throw — even with tight end Travis Kelce still around.
Mahomes trained with most of the offensive skill players in Texas for the first few weeks of the offseason program. Now that they’re in the Chiefs’ building for OTAs, Mahomes said that effort to build chemistry is paying off.
“[Valdes-Scantling], JuJu some of those guys were down there every day, pretty much,” Mahomes said. “And I think the first day [of OTAs], JuJu had a big day — he got a lot of big catches down the sideline. And then the second day Marquez got a big day. And so, I think that’s what you’re going to see from this offense this year, is it’s going to be everybody. It’s not going to be one guy. And, obviously, Travis is still going to get a lot of completions, a lot of yards. But I think the whole receiving room is going to have big days. And I think that’s something we can use to our advantage.”
Mahomes referenced the team’s early offensive struggles of 2021 as to how the upcoming season could be different, adding he feels like the team has a very deep receiving room.
“I think you saw last year, defenses had started to formulate a good game plan — at least at the beginning of the season — of trying to kind of maintain stopping Tyreek and stopping ‘Trav.’ And we had to find ways to have success other ways so we could get those guys open,” Mahomes said. “I think this year, we’ll become different where you’re not going to know where you’re going to get the deep ball from, you’re not going to know where you’re going to get the short pass from because we have a lot of different guys that can do it all.
“I think having all those guys, I think it’ll help us get more of those deep throws that we’ve been accustomed to.”
Because they have Mahomes, the Chiefs certainly have a chance to have an elite offense again in 2022. But at some point when it’s third-and-long, they’re still likely going to miss Hill’s blistering speed and playmaking ability.