It has been an unprecedented week in the NFL. Thursday was the first opportunity for the Kansas City Chiefs’ coordinators to address the week’s events.
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy began his media availability by offering some of his thoughts following Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s sudden cardiac arrest, which has affected the entire NFL community.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of good news that’s coming out [regarding the health and recovery of Hamlin],” said Bieniemy. “It’s amazing to see what the power of prayer can do.”
Bieniemy credited the entire Chiefs’ staff and coaching staff with how it followed up such a frightening event in order to support the players, as they were still preparing for the upcoming game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
“When we talked as a staff, we wanted to be sensitive to the nature because everybody’s going to handle it a different way,” said Bieniemy. “The thing I think our staff, our head coach does and this organization, we have the resources available — and we have a coalition here on staff, and we open it up for discussion.”
Bieniemy continued with his outlook on a Chiefs’ offense which, while explosive, often frustrates fans with its boom-or-bust nature. The team shows the talent and ability to score at will but finds itself middling through portions of most games.
The Chiefs did not score in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos and were trailing entering the final quarter in the week 17 contest.
“We want those guys to play with that same energy, that same enthusiasm and utilizing the same fundamentals throughout that time. Because we still feel it’s a lot left on the table for us to put on tape, but for whatever reason, it’s not happening.”
Many believe the offense would improve with a closer-to-equal run/pass ratio. The Chiefs rank near the league's top in pass percentage (as they do nearly every season) with a passing rate of 62.52%. However, with the Chiefs’ improved offensive line play, it is more apparent that the Chiefs may pass too often.
The Chiefs’ offensive line, which recently qualified three Pro Bowl players, is currently ranked second according to Pro Football Focus. Likewise, rookie running back Isiah Pacheco is averaging 4.7 yards per carry on the season, yet only carried the ball nine times against the Broncos.
Bieniemy, a former NFL running back, joked that he feels like a sellout coordinating the NFL’s top passing attack. However, he acknowledged that the Chiefs should be more balanced. “Do we probably need to run it more? Yes, we do. But on top of that, we just want to make sure that we are doing everything under the sun to put us in a position to be successful.”
Despite some struggles throughout the season, the offense remains remarkably efficient. The Chiefs rank first in yards per game, passing yards per game, points per game and points scored for the season.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is likely to cement his status as the league’s MVP in the final regular-season game. Leaving the ball in his hands certainly puts the team in a position to be successful.
In a week in which no coaching staff had a playbook to navigate, the Chiefs’ coaching staff's stability will surely help them prepare to face the Raiders in the final regular-season game.
The Chiefs’ offense, led by the likely MVP, has posed a strong passing attack all season. A more consistent running game could make the offense even more dangerous.