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Football Outsiders: Will the Chiefs receivers run deeper routes this year?

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Exploring whether or not we will see Chiefs weapons stretching the field in 2018.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs-Training Camp Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Arrowhead Pride had the opportunity to ask Football Outsiders five questions about the upcoming season. This week, we’ll talk about all five and provide our reactions.


Is there a change in the depth of routes run with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback versus last season?

Football Outsiders: The composition of the offense will be different with a more aggressive quarterback in the mix, but the offense will not be indistinguishable from years past. Aside from a favor toward quick screens that may fade away with Mahomes behind center, the offense Smith ran was already fairly diverse and well-rounded in terms of route designation. The issue was that Smith tended to be an all-or-nothing passer, meaning he went for the shorter passes available as often as possible and only targeted down the field when he felt particularly confident about it.

More than anything, expect to see more passing over the intermediate area of the field than during the Smith era. Mahomes is a confident and aggressive passer who has no issue testing his limits into tight windows over the middle. That is not to say Mahomes is reckless, but he does not play scared. Conversely, Smith was not one to test the 10-20 yard range all too often unless it was over the middle to Travis Kelce, but even the most sheepish quarterback would be willing to give Kelce a chance in traffic, so that is no testament to Smith. Mahomes should bring more diversity and unpredictability in that his target distribution will be more even than Smith’s all-or-nothing play style.

My reaction: There were definite holes in Alex Smith’s aggressiveness last year.

He took the Houston Rockets approach of lay-ups or three-pointers and no mid-range. Mahomes is more than capable of placing the ball in all areas of the field. The Chiefs should expect more throws aggressively in the intermediate, like this one:

Because of this, I do agree the average depths of the routes run will be catered to a quarterback willing to use the entire field.


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