One of the (few) criticisms of Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid is that, throughout his career, is the inability of rookie wide receivers to play significant roles immediately.
Early signs, however, are that first-year pass catcher Rashee Rice may be an exception.
The SMU product caught a touchdown during Kansas City’s opening night loss against the Detroit Lions. During Sunday’s 41-10 dismantling of the Chicago Bears, Rice caught five passes for 59 yards. He twice came within inches of the end zone.
Through three games, Rice has caught 10 passes for 108 yards — with 55 yards coming after the catch.
Speaking before practice on Wednesday, Reid credited the extra work Rice puts in with quarterback Patrick Mahomes for his progress. He also expects the rookie to expand his role in future games.
“He’s growing in front of us, here,” the coach declared. “He’s one of the young guys, but he looks like he’s getting more on the same page with Pat. Pat spends a lot of time with him. He’s got the right attitude, and so it’s consistency. He had a nice game. He’s coming off a nice game — now present it again and take another step this week. That’s the attitude you’ve got to have, and he seems to have that.”
Mahomes spoke after Reid on Wednesday. The face of the league believes the Chiefs’ offense is a great fit for Rice’s skills, but he and the rookie are admittedly still working on their connection.
“I mean, you’ve seen in this offense,” Mahomes explained, “there’s so much freedom to throttle and set down, versus come out of breaks. I think just little stuff like that. You saw he did a good job of that this last week in those zone coverages — catching the ball, getting vertical and stuff like that. I thought on the third-down one, he maybe could have hit it a bit faster, but that’s the stuff that we’re working on. You see Travis [Kelce] do it so well, and you’ve seen guys in the past do it so well. You just have to keep working on that stuff because they have to see the same thing you’re seeing out there on the field.”