Let’s address a preseason elephant in the room, shall we? Through two games, Sammy Watkins hasn’t looked all that great.
Watkins wasn’t targeted in the Kansas City Chiefs’ first preseason game while dealing with an injured hip, and then he wasn’t involved in the Chiefs’ second game against the Atlanta Falcons. In 24 snaps, Waktins had three targets but no catches.
The team is blaming Watkins’ slow start on the playbook.
“Sammy (Watkins) is still working through the offense,” head coach Andy Reid explained Tuesday. “I love his intensity on learning all the small things. We are moving him everywhere. You’ve seen that. We have him in all different spots. If you haven’t seen it in games, you’ve seen it in practice. In practice, they have done some good things. I love his intensity in learning exactly what he has to do in all these different spots. There are just some little intricacies that these other guys have had an opportunity to do and he is working through that.”
To Reid’s point, at practice, especially before the Chiefs left St. Joseph, Watkins had looked strong.
Who ya got? Sammy Watkins vs. Kendall Fuller pic.twitter.com/f0hSeD7ZSR— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 4, 2018
“I feel like we had good connections throughout the practices,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes added. “We haven’t connected in the preseason so far, but at the same time, the relationship I’m building with him on the practice field, after practice, whatever we’re doing I feel like will translate into the season and when you have that much talent you’re going to be open so hopefully I can get the ball to him, he’s going to be open a lot.”
It isn’t time to hit the panic button yet, but at the end of the day, the cold, hard truth I’m realizing through watching this team through the first four weeks of the 2018 campaign is this:
At his best (which we have yet to see), Sammy Watkins will be the fifth most important player on the Chiefs offense this season.
And that would be perfectly fine, except the Chiefs paid him handsomely this offseason with a three-year contract worth $48 million, $30 million of which is guaranteed.
That is money that could have went to a secondary that through two (albeit, preseason) games has look less than stellar, money that could have signed an ample offensive guard in what has been a training camp carousel or money that maybe could have kept cornerback Bashaud Breeland inside the Chiefs dorm.
Worst of all: it’s money that may have been able to do all three.
For what it’s worth, I hope I’m dead wrong. But as I watch Demarcus Robinson looking like he could be a star while the Chiefs choose between Jehu Chesson, Marcus Kemp and Gehrig Dieter, all of who should wind up on a team somewhere, here are the questions I’m beginning to ponder:
No matter what Watkins does, could that money have been better spent?
Wouldn’t the biggest tragedy of all be watching the best Chiefs offense in the last decade not have the defensive personnel to drive them to the playoffs while Watkins plays replacement-level football?
Look. I realize this speculation could all be for naught.
But it doesn’t feel that way, right?