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Kadarius Toney Primed For Breakout Performance in Week 11

The Kansas City Chiefs are suffering dealing with multiple injuries at wide receiver, and Kadarius Toney should be ready for the opportunity.
Kadarius Toney

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney has already made some impressive plays with his new team, and that success should only continue heading into Week 11. With Mecole Hardman on the injured reserve and Juju Smith-Schuster unlikely to play, the Chiefs will need somebody to step up. That somebody will be Toney, as the electric receiver will firmly establish himself as a key piece in this passing attack.

Kadarius Toney Set For Massive Game Against Los Angeles Chargers

Since joining the team, Kadarius Toney has been everything the Chiefs could have possibly hoped for. Now fully healthy, the former first-round pick exploded onto the scene last week, recording four receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown despite playing in just 44% of snaps. The film speaks for itself – Toney’s explosive ability after the catch was on full display, and his route running prowess combined with Andy Reid’s ability to create easy throwing lanes made him a dangerous weapon.

Week 10’s victory was only Toney’s second game with Kansas City, so it’s safe to assume that he didn’t have a full working knowledge of the playbook at this point in time. While he’s still probably not at 100%, he’ll only get more experienced with time and should see a larger role as the season progresses. Obviously, receiving production does not have a pure linear correlation with snap count, but an increased understanding of the offense will lead to more targets, yards, and a better overall offense.

Toney’s role would have expanded even if Kansas City’s other wide receivers were healthy. However, with the current state of the Chiefs roster, Toney’s time will come sooner rather than later. Mecole Hardman landed on the injured reserve earlier in the week, meaning that he will not suit up for at least the next four games. Juju Smith-Schuster, meanwhile, is still in concussion protocol and is unlikely to play. Fortunately for Kansas City, Toney’s skillset is tailor-made to cover these absences.

How Kadarius Toney Can Replace Mecole Hardman, Juju Smith-Schuster

Prior to his injury, Hardman was in the midst of arguably the best season of his career. Appearing in eight games while making five starts, the former second-round pick recorded 25 receptions for 297 yards and four touchdowns to go along with another 31 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Hardman is still a little underwhelming as a route runner, but Andy Reid and company were able to take advantage of Hardman’s elite speed on scheme plays designed to get the receiver open in space.

It’s easy to see how Toney can be a one-by-one fill-in for Hardman, and potentially even be an upgrade. While both players possess blazing straight-line speed and and hard to bring down after the catch, Toney is simply a better version of Hardman in this regard. His lateral agility is second to none and he could be absolutely lethal running Hardman’s deep routes and trick play packages.

Smith-Schuster makes his living in the short part of the field as a reliable quick option in the passing game. While he doesn’t stretch the field vertically, he’s crucial for helping to move the chains and keeping drives alive thanks to his ability to get open quickly. Toney excels at this as well, as his quick feet and otherwordly ability to change directions make him an absolute nightmare for defenders to follow. Both Smith-Schuster and Toney can get open quickly, but Toney is considerably better after the catch. While Smith-Schuster is capable of breaking tackles, he doesn’t do it as frequently as Toney, and he lacks Toney’s elite top speed.

It should go without saying that one man cannot do the job of three people. The Chiefs will miss Smith-Schuster and Hardman, but their absences will be mitigated by Toney’s unique athletic gifts.


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