Chiefs Travis Kelce: Cause for Concern?

 

 

 

I never would have thought I would be musing whether Travis Kelce is a necessity for the Chiefs to continue their early season dominance, but that is exactly what I am doing here. Let me be clear here, I am not saying I want Kelce to sit out this week, nor am I saying I think the Chiefs will have long term success if he were to miss multiple games. I am simply wondering if he were to sit out this weekend against the Steelers, should we as fans be worried about the offense or the outcome of the game.

 

Travis Kelce has been a large part of the offense over the last three years with both his catches and yardage increasing each season. Depending on who you talk to, he is even regarded as the best tight end in the game right now, while others put him behind Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski who is constantly sidelined, but is a pure beast when he is on the field. Regardless of his ranking at the position, which I think his playing time alone gives him the edge over Gronk, he is certainly the best overall player on the Chiefs offense.

 

 

“Travis Kelce only played a half but was utterly dominant. Kelce was targeted 11 times, catching 8 balls for 98 yards. He also caught a pass against five different defenders, as the Texans defense had no match for the problem that a healthy Kelce presents to a defense.” –ProFootball Focus

 

Not only is he a matchup nightmare with speed to burn linebackers and size to simply out position defensive backs, Kelce is also a great blocker whether at the line of scrimmage or in open space as well as the emotional spark plug of the offense. Granted, some of his actions set the team back 15-yards at a time, but with everything else he provides, I can look past that…for now.

 

 

 

 

Alex Smith has done a great job spreading the ball around this season with 11 guys catching at least 1 pass, and 6 catching at least 10 passes. Granted, with Conley out for the season, if Kelce were to miss this weekend’s tilt with the Steelers, there would only be 4 players with at least 10 catches; Hill (25), Hunt (16), Wilson (16) and West (10). Demetrius Harris and Ross Travis would be called on to fill the void at the TE position if Kelce were to miss the game, something I am not too keen on. Add in the fact that there will be someone filling in for Conley, who accounts for 11 receptions. Missing Kelce would put a strain on taking advantage of the mismatches provided when he is on the field. So overall, if Kelce were to miss the game, there may be some cause for concern in the passing game.

 

Then again, because the Steelers rushing defense has already let Jordan Howard and Leonard Fournette run wild with 2 touchdowns a piece and 140 and 181 yards respectfully, Kareem Hunt could be in for a big day and take the strain off Smith and his receivers. Hunt, who enters the week as the NFL’s leading rusher, has only been held under 100 yards rushing once against the Eagles, who are averaging 62 yards allowed per game and the next closest rushing total for a player against them was 35 yards by Austin Ekeler… all on one rush. We’ve all heard of creating the passing through the rushing or vice versa, and the combination of Hunt’s 6.2 yards per rush and the Steelers’ 135 yards allowed per game could create plenty of time for Smith to find his receivers on Sunday.

 

In case you haven’t seen it, Andy Reid is in the camp of thinking Kelce will play this weekend, but if he doesn’t he feels better about Harris and Travis than I do. Here’s what Reid said after a pause, when asked whether the Chiefs can accomplish what they hope to on offense if Kelce doesn’t play.

 

“I feel comfortable with it, yes. “The only reason I’m hesitating is that it looked like Kelce was feeling OK after the game. I’m not telling you Kelce is out. I don’t want it to come off that way. He’s got to go through the whole protocol part of it. But if he is out, then I feel very comfortable with those other guys. Demetrius continues to do a nice job at the tight end spot when called on. You saw Ross Travis step up and have a nice couple of catches when (Kelce) was out in the second half.”

 

So, will the Chief’s offense take a dip without Kelce on the field? Probably so, but I don’t think it Is going to be enough to change the outcome of the game. There is going to be an adjustment of game planning, since game-plan-key #1 would be on the sidelines, but there is enough throughout the rest of the offense to make up the slack. What do you think, can the Chiefs move to 6-0 if Kelce were to sit out? Who would be the central focus if he were to sit out? Hunt? Hill? Can Smith continue to look like an MVP without his top target on the field? Today’s practice should give some insight on his status for this weekend.

 

 

 

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Frank Rodela

Frank Rodela

CNC Programmer at Allstate Steel Company
29 year old husband and father of three with another on the way. Assistant Den Leader for Weblio pack 475. Chiefs fanatic born and raised in Jacksonville Florida.
Frank Rodela

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  • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

    Of course not having your most dangerous weapon on the field would suck….no question……but, that is the beauty of this 2017 Chiefs, somebody else steps up and performs in your absence…..Dorsey/Veach created the deepest Chiefs team I have ever seen.

    Two weeks ago, Andy (on purpose or not) basically eliminated Kelce from the playbook and others stepped up. Kelce had one catch in that game…..although, I admit, just his presence alone on the field made life easier since the defense had to account for him.

    Our TE orientated play calling would change some I would imagine, no way you see one of those 30 yard hits up the middle thrown to Harris or Travis……Kelce is our only TE capable of that.

    I don’t think all our fretting matters, Kelce will be cleared to play……there is too much optimism in Camp when asked…….hell, even his Mom when interviewed said cheerfully, “that’s just part of the game”

    Like you said Frank, I think this weeks offense goes through Hunt……Reid will hit the Steelers where they are most vulnerable…..their run defense.

    • berttheclock

      Did you see the replay of the last Kelce TD a couple of weeks back? The Chiefs used 3 TEs on the right side with Kelce on the far outside. Travis broke to his left as well as Harris. The defense had to cover both of them,, leaving Kelce only being covered by one man.

      • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

        Yes, that was beautiful……even with Kelce’s good hands and height advantage it wasn’t a gimme, Smith literally threaded the ball.
        If Kelce is forced to sit out, we won’t see anything that resembles that from Harris.

        • freshmeat62

          He does seem to have ‘good hands’ this year. In previous years I saw a lot of double catches by him, but this year I haven’t noticed him doing that.

          • berttheclock

            Consider this. He played QB in HS. In college, he only caught one pass for 3 yards his first year. Second year was his injury year. His 3rd year showed he caught 13 for 150 yards. He came out his senior year by catching 45 for 722 yards (Plus, he threw one pass for 39 yards).

            So, Kelce is still perfecting his catching abilities.

      • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

        This morning is the first time I read anything saying Kelce was complaining of memory problems…….maybe I’m wrong, maybe they do sit him out.

        • berttheclock

          It happened when he went into the locker room at half time and could not remember anything which had happened on the field prior to that.

          • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

            Yeah….I hadn’t heard that until this morning

        • Frank Rodela

          That is why he didn’t back after halftime. He passed protocol after the hit, but officially went into protocol once he stated he couldn’t remember

    • freshmeat62

      I am totally surprised that the Chiefs are the only team to be undefeated…for 2 weeks in a row yet! After the draft, and w/ the cap situation close to the critical stage, I thought it looked like the Chiefs were just going to tread water until Mahomes, Kpass and new young players got some experience, and the older, high priced players disappeared thru attrition. I believe though that there are no super teams this year, kind of like the year Manning and Denver won their SB. This does speak well of the job Dorsey did, and Veach is doing in finding depth.

      • berttheclock

        As I mentioned to Laddie recently, Pete Rozelle would be thrilled to learn of the new parity in the league. No dynasties.

        • drwillez37

          We’re just getting started…just wait

  • freshmeat62

    One thing was confirmed by Kelce having a concussion. Kelce does have a brain! There has to be a brain for a concussion to be possible. Some of his antics this year did raise some questions.

    It seems like there have been an extraordinary amount of injuries the last few years, say since the last players contracts. I’d be curious to know if there are more injuries since that contract went into effect since there are so many restrictions on practicing any more. Since they are focusing strongly on concussions now, I can understand that there would be more of those diagnosed now than before. But take Achilles injuries. I don’t know if it’s just the Chiefs, but there seems to be a lot more of those the last few years than I can ever remember. I’m no doctor, but it seems to me that anything that is flexible like muscles and tendons would be the first to show the lack of being worked and stretched.

    • berttheclock

      Add High Ankle Sprains, as well. My wife, Pat, believes it has to do with improper stretching. However, I wonder the effect of switching away from playing with high tops.

      • freshmeat62

        I can’t remember anyone wearing hightops since Unites and Bobby Bell.

        • berttheclock

          Sort of like a line from “Give me that old time religion”. “If its good enough for momma, if its good enough for papa, if its good enough for granny, then, its good enough for me”.

          So, just inset both Unitas and Bell and Voila!

    • Frank Rodela

      The Achilles injuries have not been limited to the Chiefs. It seems like over the last few years, many players from around the league have been effected in this area

      • berttheclock

        Yes, and HAS were never talked about until Dexter went down with the Chiefs (some said it was because he was too small) and, then, the very large Okung of the Seahawks went down the same way. Of course, that was because he too big. Since then, Okung has been bothered with the same injury at least two more times.

      • drwillez37

        It’s the fluoride!!!

        • berttheclock

          What they need is some good old fashioned “Grandma’s Lye Soap” which is good for pots and pans and dirty dishes, for your hands and for your feet, why Grandma used it on one of her nephews to wash out his ears and he hasn’t heard a word in years.”

          • freshmeat62

            Wasn’t only grandma that made lye soap, I used to make it for years. We would save up our grease from frying food, and when I got a few gallons (4 or 5 large Folgers cans) I’d make soap. I don’t remember the exact recipe now but I’d put 2 cans of Red Devil Lye in water, dissolve that, then pour the pre-measured strained grease in w/ some 20 Mule Team Borax and then stir for a couple hours until it cooled and hardened. I’d cut it into big chunks then used a grater like you used to make slaw to make the flakes. My wife swore clothes were a lot cleaner using that homemade soap than the detergent she now uses. We don’t do much frying any more, so we don’t have the grease.

  • berttheclock

    I mentioned this yesterday and I will repeat myself. Conley is going to be placed on season ending IR, which will mean there will be one opening on the roster. Veach could add any position player for that spot, but, this AM I read some stats from ESPN (over at AP headlines) which brings me back to what I mentioned yesterday. I said Veach could, either, move Neal Sterling, TE, up from the PS or sign Will Tye, TE, who was recently released by the Jets. His best production was only a couple of years ago with the Giants.

    The reason adding an extra TE is based on the stats provided by ESPN. The Chiefs are 4th in the league with playing 2 TE sets (81 snaps). They are 12th with 3 TE sets (19 snaps). But, consider this extra factoid. When using 2 TE sets, the Chiefs running game has a 5.6 yard per average. But, when, using 3 TE sets, the Chiefs have averaged 11.83 yards per carry. In addition, the Chiefs have scored 4 TDs from 2 TE sets. The extra TE has improved the running game, especially, as it spreads out the defense.

    • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

      I read those same stats this morning too……I suppose you might be right about that vacant spot being filled by another TE

  • Frank Rodela

    Former Chiefs draft pick Kevin Hogan is going to get the starting nod this weekend for the Browns. He has a chance to be the first QB drafted by the Chiefs to win a game in the NFL since….Blackledge?

    • berttheclock

      You mean the young QB Reid refused to allow much training camp time up at St Joe and did not like the fact Dorsey drafted him? That Hogan kid?

      • Frank Rodela

        That would be the one.

    • drwillez37

      Go Cleveland!!!!

  • berttheclock

    That running stat I mentioned below while using 3 TE sets really threw me. 11.83 yards per carry when using such. So, spreading the defense more or, also, using more blocking?

  • Frank Rodela

    I also just read that the Chiefs are the only team in the league to have 3 runs of 40 yards or more. I would like to track those down and look at the personnel to see how they lineup with what Bert was saying about the 3 TE set

  • berttheclock

    As much as I wonder about Kelce’s return, I am worried about Todd Haley reverting to his game plan he used against the Ravens two weeks ago. In that game, Haley ran a balanced attack and had 10 1st downs from running and 10 from passing. He ran 42 times for 173 yards, an average of 4.1 yards per run. However, against the Jags, he went back to allowing Big Ben to try to throw passes. The Steelers only ran the ball 20 times for 70 yards, a drop off to 3.5 yards per carry.

    I am positive Haley will try to exploit running against the Chiefs. Ragland was only in on 10 snaps last week and Houston ran the ball very well.

  • berttheclock

    In our discussion below concerning injuries, such as tearing an achilles, it should be noted that Conley and Watt both were injured while playing on the Speed Series S5-M synthetic turf installed by UBU Sports at NGR stadium prior to the last Super Bowl. That turf is the same used at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in New Orleans and at Met Life used by both the Giants and Jets. In addition, the same type of sand and crushed rubber infill is used at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincy and the new stadium for the Vikings. Plus, 10 NFL teams use it for their practice fields (Denver is one of them). The Chiefs use a completely different system.

    This surface has been criticized by players as not stopping turf toe which has been a problem ever since artificial turf came into play in the old Astro Dome in Houston. Another problem with using this new surface comes from the fact, different shoes and even cleats must be used by players in order not to have their shoe stick while pushing off. I noticed how spongy the turf appeared just prior to both Watt and Conley tried to push off. (Same sort of sponginess I noticed earlier when Berry pushed off on another system.)

    Of course, the NFL, worrying about any liability has signed off on the new systems and will not review any concerns. Add the EPA to the mix for backing off other studies showing possible harmful effects of using crushed tires and that was even before the new regime of “Look the other way” took over at EPA this year.

    • berttheclock

      BTW, NFL players continue to rate the field used by the Arizona Cardinals as being the best surface to play on in the NFL. They use a system which includes Bermuda grass and the panels are stored outside of the stadium until being needed for games.

  • berttheclock

    Speaking of concussions, getting one proved to be the end of the line for Nolan Carroll, the former Dolphins and Eagles DB. At the age of 30, he signed a deal with the Cowboys this March which paid him $4 M guaranteed for this year on a 3 year deal and a signing bonus of $3 M. He only played in two games before suffering a concussion. The Cowboys have just released him.

    • Frank Rodela

      His pending DUI suspension surely didn’t help his case

      • berttheclock

        BTW, did you see where the Bills have signed the LB Gerald Hodges? He played well for the Niners last year, but, ended up getting cut late by the Bills this summer. Now, they have brought him back.

      • berttheclock

        So that is part of what he did with his signing bonus, eh?

        • berttheclock

          As the theme from “The Wire” says, “you gotta keep the devil deep down in the hole”.

  • berttheclock

    Unless we do not have to face the Texans in the playoffs, good luck to Lamarr Houston, LB. who has been signed as a needed defensive player. Houston had a fine career with the Texas Longhorns before being drafted by Oakland, then, moving on to the Bears. He has suffered torn ACLs in his career.

    • ladner morse

      Yep,not certain how effective he’ll be.

    • berttheclock

      One of his torn ACLs came from celebrating another player’s TD.

      • Frank Rodela

        Ouch

  • berttheclock

    Mother Ship announced yesterday that LB, Marcus Rush, has been terminated from the PS. Strange thing is AP has not mentioned this. Plus, no mention at Rotoworld or even when just trying to Google it.

    The mention of the word “terminated” reminds me of reading a sign in a rest room of a local Portland area grocery store. The sign reads that if any employee does not wash their hands prior to re-entering the main store, they will be terminated. I have often wondered if Winco, the store, has some sort of Zap gun installed in the ceiling and “Splat”.

  • Frank Rodela

    Not good news on the Kelce front, I just read he was held out of practice today and is still in the protocol

    • Frank Rodela

      Rounding out the injury report:

      Safety Steven Terrell is also in the concussion protocol. Wide receiver Albert Wilson (knee), linebacker Justin Houson (calf) and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (knee) were also on the sideline for practice.

      • Laurels and limitations

        then the IR guys still need listed lest they be forgotten: Morse, Nelson, Conley, Hali, Berry. We’re officially to the point in which Kc could use a infusion of healthy guys returning.

      • Frank Rodela

        Just noticed Dee Ford not on this list

  • berttheclock

    Veach has added a six one wide out from Syracuse to the PS. He is Amba Etta-Tawo. Grew up in Georgia. Went to Maryland, where he played fairly well his first year, then, tailed off the next two. Ended up going to Syracuse as a graduate student. Vertical speed, but, has been known to have dropsy problems and does not know all the tree routes. Lance Zierlein has compared him to a younger Chris Conley. From all reports, he needs a great deal of proper coaching, but, does have major upsides.

    • berttheclock

      He has been the type who can provide some “WOW” moments to those who have not seen him. Then, he can do the dropsy thing which he did at the Senior Bowl.

      • berttheclock

        AP has a short thread up on him. They included his photo and stats from his college days.

    • berttheclock

      However, if anyone wants to try reading any tea leaves into this, remember yesterday, Veach cut a LB (Marcus Rush) and today added a wide out.

  • ladner morse
  • ladner morse
    • berttheclock

      Man really took a beating while playing.

      • ladner morse

        The ultimate 2nd place QB.

        • berttheclock

          Also, in passing, Connie Hawkins passed away. He was Dr J before Dr J. Tried to model his game on Elgin Baylor of the Rams. Due to being falsely accused of being involved in point shaving, the NBA barred him from playing in that league until he was 27. He was the type of street ball player in NYC who brought all the big names to watch him play. He could fly.

          • ladner morse

            I remember Connie Hawkins first hand. Loved his game.

    • ladner morse