Somewhere around the time when November changed to December, the Chiefs offense went from dominant to not so much. There are a number of reasons you could point to, including the sudden release of Kareem Hunt, injuries along the offensive line and perhaps having to play playoff teams three weeks in a row following the Week 13 matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
Many Kansas City writers, including Arrowhead Pride’s own Kent Swanson and Matt Lane, maintain that the absence of Sammy Watkins has been a major reason for the struggles.
Watkins has played in 10 games, and in them, has 40 catches for 519 yards and three touchdowns, but it is what he does away from the ball, they argue, that makes all the difference when it comes to the Chiefs’ best unit.
Watkins first injured his foot Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns and has been trying to work his way back ever since. He tried to come back against the Los Angeles Rams and only could manage five snaps, then he reportedly tried to practice back in early December but simply could not go.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid finally shared some promising news about Watkins on Wednesday even though he would not practice.
“Sammy had been in a boot, a cast-boot, just as preventive measures,” he said. “All part of the recovery from the doctors. They just wanted it to settle down. They felt the best way to do that was put him in a cast. He’s out of the cast, moving around and just going through the rehab process and getting back. Again, he’s not going to practice [Wednesday], but he is making progress.”
Here is the bottom line. The defense is what it is.
The Chiefs’ best chance of winning a flawed AFC conference is getting all the pieces of their early-season offense healthy while hoping it can overcome the defense’s weaknesses en route to the Super Bowl.
Hunt isn’t coming back—that we know—but Wednesday’s word of right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returning to practice and Watkins progressing is good news for the Chiefs’ title chances at this time.