Kansas City’s offense will look different in 2022 without receiver Tyreek Hill. But the Chiefs still have two core members of the unit in quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce.
Kelce has been with the team since Andy Reid took over as head coach in 2013 and has seen the scheme evolve as he’s also become one of the greatest tight ends in the game’s history. So Kelce has been confident that Kansas City will be able to adjust and stay competitive even after trading Hill to the Dolphins.
Having Mahomes makes that process a little easier. Kelce said in his Monday press conference that much of the offense’s growth can be attributed to the quarterback continuing to progress and mature.
“Oh, without a doubt. It’s the whole offense in general,” Kelce said. “You put a lot more accountability on the O-line for being together for a whole ‘mother year, having that much chemistry together. And then on top of that, what Pat’s able to do is keep developing. He keeps finding ways to get better as a quarterback. And that, by far, is what’s made this offense take off and go into more of a passing offense than what we’ve had in the past.”
As a follow-up, Kelce was asked if Mahomes can do a lot more now that he wasn’t able to earlier in his career.
“It’s hard to say, man,” Kelce said. “I’ve always thought he’s been one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around on the football field — whether it’s just playing off natural instincts or actually knowing what the defense is doing. I’ll leave that up to him to tell you.
“But I think his development over the offseasons has got a lot to do with taking it to that next step — whether it’s that next read or understanding what the defense is doing so you know where to go even more precise with the ball instead of just feeling out the defense. I’ve really seen that out of him in this camp more than any.”
Despite having a “down year” in 2021, Mahomes still completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,839 yards with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. While no one player can replace Hill, if Mahomes can effectively distribute the ball around, then Kansas City’s offense should still thrive in 2022.