At this moment in time, the most popular young player on the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster might be second-year wide receiver Justyn Ross. The 23-year-old lost his rookie season in 2022 thanks to corrective foot surgery but came back stronger in 2023 to make the 53-man roster.
Considering all the preseason hype, Ross’ impact on the team through the season’s first four weeks has been underwhelming.
During that span, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound wide receiver has registered just two targets, with his only catch coming midway through the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions on opening night. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Ross could not connect on his second target two games later against the Chicago Bears, as a defender knocked it away from his grasp.
Chiefs wide receiver Justyn Ross' two targets on the 2023 season pic.twitter.com/LGSc2uAGZE— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) October 5, 2023
Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy described Ross’ standing with the club and how he could earn more playing time during his weekly Thursday press conference.
“Just keep doing what he’s doing in practice — which is working hard and trying to learn the different positions in the offense,” said Nagy of his message to Ross. “We’re learning what routes he does well. He’s learning what routes he could get better at, and then we’ve got to — as coaches and teachers — we’ve got to develop him and continue to make him better.”
Ross has seen a position-low 48 snaps, with most of his playing time coming in 29 snaps in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears when the game was already in hand.
“When you get an opportunity, whenever that is — whether that’s today, this weekend or in five weeks from now — make the most of it,” added Nagy. “And his attitude’s been phenomenal; he’s very talented. Let’s just keep developing him as coaches.”
It sounds as though the Chiefs remain high on Ross, though there might be some hesitation stemming from a still-developing route tree. In late August, general manager Brett Veach mentioned Ross could be used in specific packages to start, which would lead one to believe Ross’ role could grow as the season carries along.