A look at who’s up and who’s down following the Kansas City Chiefs 24-3 victory over the New York Jets...
The ageless wonder had a huge game vs the Jets. His pick six will make the highlight reels, but his command of the defense is what makes him special. DJ was spotted making pre-snap adjustments to the defensive alignment, making sure that everyone was in position for big stops. He notched 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defended in addition to the interception.
The young defensive backs
DJ White and Eric Murray each made a play, Phillip Gaines and Marcus Peters did what they do at a high level. It was Steven Nelson that impressed me with his progress. Nelson has always been a good tackler, but he was better in coverage and notched three passes defended this week. One of the biggest stories of the offseason was how the Chiefs will make up for the loss of Sean Smith. GM John Dorsey responded by drafting three (and keeping two) corners, and Andy Reid invested playing time in Gaines and Nelson. It appears to be paying off as the lapses in coverage become less frequent and the playmaking hit a peak on Sunday.
It’s now safe to call Conley the unquestioned No. 2 receiver for this team, and he’s been making the plays we hope to see him make. There’s still plenty of room for him to breakout, but he’s displaying the route running, strong hands and athletic ability that we saw in camp. Three catches for 44 yards projects to a 48-catch, 704 yard season, which is very solid for a second receiver in Andy Reid’s offense ... and he’s still getting better.
The Chiefs use of tight ends
Travis Kelce was fantastic this week, as we’ve come to expect. Demetrius Harris had a very good game as well, especially when you factor in his special teams touchdown. What was really notable in this game was the use of three, and yes, even four tight end sets, especially near the goal line. We wondered if they would keep three or four tight ends on the roster... and for the first time, we actually saw all four on the field at the same time. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues.
Others who have helped their stock: Tyreek Hill (that spin move was spectacular), Daniel Sorensen, the run defense
(In my best Andy Reid voice) Listen... Spencer Ware is a heckuva football player. He did some really good things on Sunday. I actually don’t blame Ware for having a less productive day than we’ve come to expect. The makeshift Chiefs o-line was unable to get anything done against the Jets defensive front. Ware had more snaps and carries this week, but fewer rushing yards, yards per carry and receiving yards. His fumble was a bad break on a bad NFL rule when he was making a great play. We’ve seen what Ware can do, and this game wasn’t his best outcome.
On one hand, we didn’t notice Ford making any really bad plays. On the other hand, we didn’t notice him at all. Ford’s snaps were down because of an injury this week, so hopefully he can bounce back and start making plays next week.
Others who struggled this week: Andy Reid’s goal line play calling, Jeremy Maclin
Berry was Berry this week. He’s a running back-seeking-missile, and made his presence felt with four big tackles. He’s often criticized for his coverage but was in all the right spots this week with three passes defended and an interception
Smith was better this week, but turned in an average performance overall. He threw a couple of beautiful deep passes that didn’t connect and took a couple of sacks. He didn’t turn the ball over, and completed over 75 percent of his passes. This is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Smith. One thing missing this week (and so far this season) is the running ability that Alex displayed last season. For whatever reason, he’s not making the plays with his feet that we saw in 2015.
Others who were status quo this week: Colquitt (two punts inside the 20), Tamba Hali (one QB hit, four tackles and some pressure that forced interceptions)