Well, that certainly wasn't a fun way to spend Christmas.
On Monday, the Kansas City Chiefs lost an excruciating game to watch, as the Las Vegas Raiders beat them 20-14. The final score doesn't indicate how bad the offense was, either. After a season full of struggles and hardships, everything bad about the offense surfaced in one game.
It's hard to start in any area of this offense because everything is broken. The passing game, the running game and even just simply lining up and correctly run plays or motion is something this offense can no longer achieve.
It starts with the wide receiver talent, which remains the biggest issue with this team.
Yes, a new wide receiver is necessary.
This team sent messages all offseason that Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney would be able to step into larger roles in this offense, but both have stagnated or even regressed from last year's play. Marquez Valdes-Scantling's play and production have fallen off a cliff. Rashee Rice is going to be very good eventually, but he's still a rookie with lapses and inconsistencies in this game.
The Chiefs have nobody who can alter a defense right now. Teams are squatting on everything underneath, daring the Chiefs to throw over the top of them, and they simply can't do it. Mahomes' average air yards per attempt is second-worst in the NFL at 6.6. According to NextGen Stats, his average completed air yards is second-worst at four — only Tyson Bagent is lower.
However, it's not all just the wide receivers.
The run game is bad.
The desolation of the run game has been a major issue. The Chiefs are 21st in EPA per rush and 27th in success rate. Last year, they were 10th and sixth in those same categories. The Chiefs' lack of running back talent is a real issue, but the primary issue for me is the offensive tackles and tight ends. The Chiefs don't have a positive run blocker in either room right now, which limits the scope of runs they can call. Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie were flawed, but both were diverse run blockers who could execute multiple schemes. The Chiefs don't have that this year, and the tight ends can't make up the gaps in run blocking.
Speaking of the offensive tackles, the Jawaan Taylor signing has been a disaster.
The penalties are clearly in Taylor's head. He's struggling to get off the snap at all, which is allowing pass rushers to easily run past him. The presnap penalties and holding calls have got to his overall game. They have to find a way to mitigate the fact that Taylor is a bad run blocker.
Hopefully, Wanya Morris having another offseason can improve his pass blocking because I've been encouraged by his run-blocking traits. Regardless, the Chiefs need to find runs that can mitigate their tackles' weaknesses.
Even the offensive coordination is an issue.
Playcalling is tricky to discuss, but even down to the Chiefs blowing multiple timeouts nearly every game because of playcalling issues misalignments speak to an offense that isn't well-coordinated and implemented. This has never been an issue for an Andy Reid team, but they're struggling to execute the most fundamental part of running an offense — lining up. They can't run motion without someone screwing up.
It would be simple to say that all the Chiefs need to do is get on to two new wide receivers, and everything will be fixed. However, it no longer seems that simple.
Travis Kelce's snaps need to be managed.
The entire offensive foundation being built around Kelce is no longer an option. Kelce will be 35 next year, and he is noticeably declining. By the end of these games, he is gassed. He's no longer separating at the top of his routes and can no longer beat man coverage with the proficiency he did in his prime. He's now at the stage of his career where his snaps need to be micromanaged.
With that being the case, Kelce can no longer be the "sun" that this offense revolves around. The offense is going to have to flow elsewhere. Progressions, targets and route concepts need to be redistributed. Kelce can still have a role in the offense, but it will be in a secondary role.
They're going to need multiple new tight ends. Noah Gray is a fine player but likely maxes out as a quality third tight end. If you want to manage Kelce's snaps, you'll need someone who can be an every-down tight end to replace him. Kelce settling in as a tight end No. 2 in the regular season would be wise to manage him for the playoffs. Better run blockers at that position are also necessary.
The basic installations of the offense need to be examined.
Since the entire structure needs to change, so does the installation of it. The comparison I have is the 2023 Los Angeles Rams. After last year's dismal year, Sean McVay came back with new ideas and innovation on his offense. Reid is going to need to do something similar with this offense as it shifts from a Kelce-led formula.
The Chiefs will overcorrect at wide receivers as they did on the offensive line in 2021. General manager Brett Veach has always shown a willingness to overhaul one position group if needed, and considering this position group is the one that is making their franchise quarterback the most upset, it will be addressed.
The bottom line
That can't be enough. Every single aspect of this offense needs to be questioned. The entire identity of the offense needs to be rethought. I'm not sure that is achievable in just one offseason, but this must happen for the Chiefs to achieve long-term success.
This season isn't over, but how this offense was designed, thought of and built was a complete disaster. Everyone deserves some blame. Now, they're left to rebuild all of it.
I hold optimism that they will, but it's going to require a lot of work to get back to the heights we're accustomed to.