The Kansas City Chiefs are 7-2 and tied for the second-best record in the NFL after their 24-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 9. But their continued sluggishness on offense has led to more consternation than usual for a team in their position.
“There’s been no consistency out there,” NFL Network’s James Palmer reported on “The NFL Report on November 7. “To me, what stands out the most, they relied on a big question mark in Kadarius Toney. They wanted him to be their No. 1 receiving option. They thought they could use him in a variety of ways. It just hasn’t happened.”
Insider Sounds Off on Chiefs’ Plan to Feature Kadarius Toney
Kadarius Toney Foiling Chiefs’ Plan
Toney has 20 receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown on 28 targets this season. The Chiefs acquired him for a third-round pick last season at the trade deadline. Toney logged 171 yards and two scores on 14 grabs (17 targets) in seven appearances with three starts. After three drops in the season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions, he remained a significant part of the offense in four of the next five weeks. Over the last three weeks, however, his playing time has dropped considerably.
Toney has been supplanted by rookie second-round pick Rashee Rice. Rice has 32 receptions on 41 targets for 378 yards and four touchdowns this season. He has 10 catches for 108 yards and one touchdown in the last three weeks with a slight uptick in targets compared to the first six games of the season.
Rice is part of the reason why the Chiefs didn’t push the panic button at the trade deadline.
Chiefs ‘Were Not Active’ at Trade Deadline
“We were wondering if they were going to be active at the trade deadline,” Palmer said. “They didn’t make a whole lot of calls, to my understanding, they didn’t receive a lot of calls, they were not active. They do think they’re going to get out of this. Maybe like they did in the past with the way their defense has played better as the year goes on. But to me when a team goes and shuts down Travis Kelce like the Dolphins did … somebody else has to step up. “
“We have now seen six games this season that this Chiefs team has been held to 24 points or under which is wild in a sense,” Palmer said. “I look at them the last two weeks, they haven’t scored in the second half in each of the last two weeks.
“What I do think will help them … they haven’t used Jet McKinnon a whole lot so far. I think he’s going to be an addition to this group down the stretch.”
The Chiefs have minimized Jerick McKinnon’s role in the offense this season.
He has 23 yards on 12 carries this season, adding another 147 yards on 17 receptions (23 targets). But, after averaging 4.3 carries per game last season, McKinnon is averaging 1.7 totes this season. The Chiefs – who rank 19th in rushing yards and 21st in attempts – could also stand to lean on the ground game to compliment the defense.
Trent McDuffie Viewed as ‘Up-&-Coming Top Corner’
“I love what this defense has done, specifically in the secondary,” Palmer said. “People just rave about McDuffie as one of the up-and-coming top corners … in this league.”
But it’s not just McDuffie that has helped the defense ascend into one of the NFL’s most formidable units, ranking fourth in passing yards allowed. Safety Bryan Cook as well as cornerbacks Lajarius Sneed, Jaylen Watson, and Joshua Williams are all draft picks that have contributed this season.
“That secondary is young, a lot of draft pick, they’re growing together,” said Palmer. “Multiple guys out of that secondary can blitz the quarterback. So they can hide a lot of things that [defensive coordinator Steven Spanuolo] wants to mix up.”
Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports