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Let’s Argue: “Patrick Mahomes is turning into Alex Smith”

Robert Rimpson takes on all your hot takes, wacky predictions and unpopular opinions.

NFL: International Series- Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to this week’s edition of Let’s Argue!

Inspired by a video series created by music reviewer Anthony Fantano, Robert Rimpson’s weekly series takes a look at hot takes, unpopular opinions, wacky predictions and more from Kansas City Chiefs fans.

“The injuries will be too much to overcome this season”

I can completely understand why some Chiefs fans feel this way. It feels like almost every week, a different player that’s key to the success of the team is lost to injury.

Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones, Eric Fisher and Anthony Hitchens are just a few of the players the Chiefs have been without at one point or another. And on Monday night — after the team was finally close to being completely healthy — Hill and running back Damien Williams both left the game with injuries.

It’s true that injuries can have a big effect on a team, but the reality is that every team in the NFL deals with injuries. When the Chiefs played the Detroit Lions they were without their best cornerback Darius Slay Jr. When the Chiefs faced the Indianapolis Colts, they were without Malik Hooker and lost Kenny Moore II. The Green Bay Packers didn’t have Davante Adams when they played the Chiefs.

Teams can win with injuries to key players — just look at how the Chiefs played with Matt Moore under center. And heading into the bye week, the Chiefs are relatively healthy compared to earlier this season — so the injury bug isn’t hitting the team as hard as it could.

“Andy Reid is turning Mahomes into Alex Smith”

While leading the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 on Monday night, the Chiefs offense had several chances to score and keep the Chargers from completing a second-half comeback. Instead, the team called what many perceived as ultra-conservative, super-safe plays in order to drain the clock and not turn the ball over — rather than pushing the ball down the field and potentially extending the lead.

During the days Alex Smith was the Chiefs starting quarterback, head coach Andy Reid had a strong habit of playing conservatively with a lead — and many suspected it was because of Smith’s limited skill set as a passer. Now that Reid is still playing conservative with a lead — even with Mahomes at quarterback — they believe Reid is wasting the talents of the reigning MVP.

While I will not tolerate any Alex Smith slander, I agree that Reid should be more aggressive in his late-game play-calling. With the ball in his hands, Mahomes can do magical things. Why would you hinder that just to use a minute or two more on the game clock?

I’m not claiming to be an expert in clock management or late-game play-calling. But surely Reid could have risked letting the ball fly in at least one of the four chances the offense had to extend their lead in the second half. The Chiefs are 4-4 in games decided by one possession — and with Reid’s tendencies, I can’t see those numbers improving much.

“The offense won’t be like last year because of play-calling”

I agree that the offense will never be the same, but I don’t think it’s because of play-calling. If there is a stat that says Reid was way more aggressive last year than he is this year, then please point me to it. If there isn’t such a stat, I think it’s safe to say the play-calling hasn’t changed much from last year to this year.

The thing that has been different is the health of key starters on the offense. Fisher, Hill and Mahomes were all healthy for most of last season — and there was an unnamed Pro Bowl running back who was also on the Chiefs roster when it got off to a nuclear start.

The ghost of last year’s offense does rear its head every now and again — like in the games against the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans — but unless the offense can stay completely healthy, there’s no reason to expect the team to put up last season’s numbers.

“The Chiefs don’t want to show their hand during the regular season”

I really hope so. I’m still holding out hope to see Hill in a Wildcat package — or Khalen Saunders score a touchdown and do a backflip in the end zone.

“The defense is improved, but...”

As contradictory as this take might seem, I agree with it.

In every sense of the word, the defense has improved in the last few weeks. Heading into this season, that’s all the Chiefs could have asked. They’re getting sacks, forcing turnovers, occasionally defending passes and stopping the run. That’s everything you can ask from a middle-of-the pack defense.

The problem is that they still have stretches where they struggle to stop the run. They still make costly mistakes like getting penalties that extend drives. They still blow coverages that allow long completions. And much more.

The Chiefs defense is far from perfect — but they don’t have to be perfect. With the kind of offense the Chiefs should have, the defense only needs to create two or three opportunities in each game for the offense to take (or extend) the lead — and for the last several weeks, that’s what they’ve been doing.

After the bye week — when the season resumes against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead — hopefully, the offense will hold up its end of the bargain.

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