Going into 2022, there have been more changes to the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive unit than we have usually seen in recent offseasons — and according to quarterback Patrick Mahomes, general manager Brett Veach has brought in some good players to replace departed wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson.
“These guys are smart,” Mahomes told reporters after Thursday’s OTA session at the Chiefs’ training facility. “That’s a big thing for me. Marquez [Valdes-Scantling], JuJu [Smith-Schuster], Corey Coleman — all these new guys that we have in the building — are smart, they work hard and they want to compete.
“It’s a very deep receiving room; it’s hard to tell which guys are going to make it because there are so many good receivers. That’s what you want. You want that competition.”
Head coach Andy Reid is also happy with the new group of wideouts.
“I kind of like what I see,” he said. “Big guys. They can run and play physical. There’s no bump-and-run, so they haven’t had to answer that part of it. But they’re big, strong guys. I like that [in] what I’m seeing. Again, I think it’s important that the more reps we can get with them and Pat, I think that helps.”
Reid said that he could already see the benefit of the time Mahomes spent with all the new receivers at his offseason training base in Texas.
“You can see that the time that he worked with the guys in Texas has carried over,” said Reid. “He was able to hit the base routes. They did a little bit of putting the routes together — but some of the new things, Pat is working through with them. It’s been good. I mean, we’ve had better execution than you’d think for a bunch of new guys together.”
Mahomes said the Texas workouts did a lot to get everyone on the same page.
“We got some chemistry in,” he told reporters. “Just getting with those guys for almost a month, working out with them, throwing with them — we’d go to lunch, got to dinner, stuff like that — you kind of build that chemistry. And I think a big part of especially our offense is having that chemistry on the field — being able to know what the other guy’s doing without having to talk about it.”
Although Reid said that the offense was running “kind of the same stuff” that it has used through his Kansas City coaching tenure, there are some adjustments being made to accommodate the new players.
“We’ve got a lot that we’ve shown over the years here,” he noted. “So we’ve covered a lot of bases with the volume of plays that we’ve had. We’re able to dust a few things off — and put them back in — that maybe are more conducive to a bigger player.”
According to Mahomes, that will be enough for a substantial change.
“We’re going to be different,” he declared. “I think you saw last year, defenses started formulating good game plans — at least at the beginning of the season — trying to maintain stopping Tyreek and stopping Trav [tight end Travis Kelce]. We had to find ways to have success [in] other ways, so we [could] get those guys open.
“I think this year, we’ll become different — where you’re not going to know where you’re going to get the deep ball from [and] you’re not going to know where you’re going to get the short pass from, because we have a lot of different guys that can do it all. So I think having all [these] guys, I think it will help us get more of those deep throws that we’ve been accustomed to.”
“It has to be a new offense,” said Kelce. “I think that’s what Coach Reid and the offensive staff does — and even Spags [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] on the defensive side. They look at the personnel that they have. [They] don’t get caught up in their specific scheme. They try and build a scheme around the pieces that they’ve got.
“And that’s going to be the excitement of what’s new this year: teams are going to have to see how we’re going to come out and attack them. And with a guy like 1-5 [Mahomes] out there — who knows where to go with the ball — I think it can be an advantage, for sure.”