NFL: The Kelce Effect

 

 

 

Travis Kelce is a budding superstar in the NFL who could potentially help lead the Kansas City Chiefs to the promised land in the near future. He can catch. He can block. He can dance. Come on, who doesn’t like the ferocity and charm he brings to the table. I am willing to bet that there are 31 other teams in the NFL who would love to have Mr. Kelce catching the ball for them.

 

 

 

I could go on and on about his on-field antics — he threw his own flag at a ref for Heaven’s sake! — and off-field distractions. He truly is a spectacular player and has the stats to back that up. My question is this, how great is he really? As a catching tight end, he is one of the best. As a blocker, he is more than willing to throw down and punish a defender. But really, how great is he?

 

 

 

When I think of greatness on the gridiron I think of a player who is so good he makes those around him look better. That great player should be able to elevate the play of all of his teammates. Think of Peyton Manning. He went to the Disgusting Denver Donkeys. Before Manning showed up Denver was never spoken of as contenders. One player signing later and they are considered Super Bowl Favorites. One player. That’s all it took. Now, granted Manning is an otherworldly quarterback able to dissect a defense in the blink of an eye but still, one player? Denver had a great defense and a mediocre offense. Sure they had a few playmakers but nothing in the way of an elite. One player put them over the top and they immediately became media darlings.

 

 

 

Why am I talking so much about Denver on a Kansas City site you ask? I think Travis Kelce could become a similar level of greatness. Let’s look at past years.

 

Travis Kelce was drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft. Looking back, he was an absolute steal. With his current production, he could easily have gone in the first round.

  • In 2013 Kelce played in one game during the season and was placed on injured reserve. 
  • In 2014 Kelce racked up 862 yards on 67 receptions averaging almost 13 yards a catch. That was good enough to place him 5th for the year in ypc. Not too bad for his first true season as a pro.
  • In 2015 he managed 72 catches for 875 yards with a slight dip in production amounting to just under 12 yards per catch, good enough to put him 8th in the league.
  • 2016 is where we see him shine. Coming in tied for second in the league at 13.4 ypc with 1125 yards on 85 catches. What many don’t realize is that he led the league in receiving yards and had the second most receptions of all tight ends in the league. Kelce also ruled the land with 634 yards after the catch marking him the best of everyone at his position.

 

 

 

A third round draft pick, it’s phenomenal that Travis Kelce put up these numbers. During plays in which Kelce was on the field, production rose for all of the Chiefs offensive playmakers. It could be that defenses were keying in on Kelce since he is a horrible mismatch for anyone covering him. It could also be that his teammates felt a certain level of confidence, call it swagger with him on the field with them.

 

 

 

Everyone on the team knew that no matter what the play was called, Kelce was going to do his job to his best ability. Sure sometimes he gets fired up and can be hot headed but would you rather have someone complacent with losing and mediocrity of someone who is genuinely in love with the game. Let’s break down some games where Kelce’s influence helped swing things in the Chiefs favor.

 

 

 

 

Travis Kelce vs Earl Thomas

Way back when Travis Kelce was still a bit of an unknown, defenses weren’t quite sure what to do with him. As a 6’6″ 260 pound tight end he was obviously a mismatch and was covered well but on obvious running downs, he was left to roam free.

 

 

The Seattle Seahawks Legion of Boom was considered the hottest defense in town and one of the first groups to fall victim to the Kelce effect. Jamaal Charles was given the handoff and looking for an open lane while speeding out of the backfield. After what seemed like an eternity he was able to slip free between the center and left guard.

 

 

Out of nowhere Earl Thomas, one of the best safeties in the league, came storming in and had Charles dead to rights. This would surely be a decent gain of 5-to-10 yards if not for Kelce (see below). Our TE burst into Charles’ running lane and quickly closed on Thomas. One solid hit later Earl was sent sky surfing never knowing what hit him. The best part is that Kelce, after de-cleating Thomas, was still on his feet looking for the next block he would need to make to keep the play alive.

Travis Kelce vs Darian Stewart

Remember when Tyreek Hill ran for a 70-yard touchdown against the Denver Broncos and all was right with the world? That would have never happened if it were not for Mr. Kelce. With 5:29 left in the 1st quarter Andy Reid has a running play dialed up for our hybrid receiver/RB/punt returner. It’s first and ten on the Chiefs 30-yard line and Kelce is brought in motion from the left to the right side of the line. As soon as he is set Smith snaps the ball and immediately turns around and puts it into the hands of our speedy back.

 

 

While this is happening Kelce is pulling back across the line to the left to help pave the way for the small running behind him. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif quickly sets the edge in front of Kelce leaving Darian Stewart with a direct line of sight to Hill. Enter Kelce. #87 cuts inside of Hill to help alleviate the closing defender. Stewart didn’t see it coming and was pancaked by Kelce. Travis kept his legs moving and was able to slow down Chris Harris Jr. enough to allow Tyreek to dash down the sideline all the way for a touchdown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travis Kelce vs Justin Simmons

Another Denver game, another Kelce block that opens the way for a score. Alex Smith snaps the ball and runs the option in the RedZone on the 10 yard line. After presenting a beautiful fake handoff to Spencer Ware that almost everyone in the stadium bit on Smith darts to the left side of the line with only one defender left in the vicinity.

 

 

Luckily for Alex, our man Kelce has his back. Locking in tight on a block against #31 Justin Simmons #87 refuses to allow his quarterback to be even grazed by an opponent’s outstretched pinky finger. After sealing the edge and presenting a wide open field you could drive a Mack truck through Smith was able to take a brisk walk straight to paydirt with nary a strand of hair out of place. Touchdown KAN-SAS CITY! (Sorry I was trying to go for the Mitch Holthus sound. You just re-read that in his voice didn’t you?)

 

 

Kelce’s block begins at the 10-yard line and ends on the one-yard line.

 

 

These are just a few examples of what the Chiefs have in #87. A selfless blocker, a legitimate receiving threat, a home run hitter, and a fabulous dancer. All of those rolled into one. Travis Kelce is exactly what Chiefs fans need: a passionate player who will help the team in any way he can.

 

 

Well, guys, that’s all for now. Comment below and as always VIVA LA JET SWEEP and GO CHIEFS!

 

 

 

 

 

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  • PaulfromnorthMO

    Kelce is without a doubt one of the best TE’s in the game, and will most likely end up as the second best TE the Chiefs ever had. The one thing he does need to improve on, is not intentionally dropping the ball as he is going to the ground. Of course, getting himself kicked out of games doesn’t do the team any good, but as that has only happened once I don’t think he’ll repeat that antic.

    • Andy

      I’m not going to make the same mistake with Kelce as I did with Charles…I’m going to enjoy watching Kelce, knowing I’m watching one of the best. I loved watching Charles, but it was only recently, did I realize, I was watching one of the best.

      • Laurels and limitations

        JC did his thing nice and quiet like. I hated watching JC’s production fall off, but I loved watching him in his prime. 20 years from now there will be some special on great RBs in the NFL and Charles will be brought up, then all we can do is say ‘man, I remember him’.

        • Andy

          In my eyes he should get at least an honorable mention in the best rb. He ran behind some bad OLs.

          • Laurels and limitations

            agreed, he should be in the same conversation of any RBs that made bad O-lines look better than they were. I mean, my lord man, JC made Stephenson look good one season.

          • Andy

            Ummm, don’t forget Ryan Harris

          • Laurels and limitations

            ha, good point.

          • Andy

            In the four years Reid and Dorsey have been here, I have only a few complaints, the bowe and the last hali contact, not drafting a ILB this year and having a crap OL the first couple years. I’m sure there are a few other irritations, but, boy have they built a good roster now. I can tell you, other teams will be watching who we let go.
            One new rule I heard about is there is no gradual cut down to 53, which is good for us.
            Any idea about surprise cuts? I think Wilson is gone. Surprises…Reid and/or Bray. Mahomes would have to have a real good camp though. How do you keep Bray? Keeping him for any length of time means less snaps for Mahomes. If you are grooming Mahomes for next year, he needs all the back up QB snaps and some starter snaps as well. Thoughts?

          • Laurels and limitations

            On one hand I wouldn’t be surprised if Bray is being set in a place to be traded but on the other I’m not so sure about Mahomes being thrust into the #2 quite yet. I keep reading from players how the first year is such a whirlwind that learning is impeded to some degree, the last thing I want to see is a QB thrust into the starting position that is not ready yet. Plus, PM2 has some real things to work on even though how much of what Reid would want to change is a question. I remember Rogers sitting behind Favre for three years and I temper my timeline expectations.

          • Andy

            No one can argue with keeping Mahomes totally out for at least a year. BUT, Traditionally a number three qb doesn’t get much playing time, period. When will Mahomes actually learn, learn by doing? Bray could save us a mil our do in cap space as well.

          • ladner morse

            I’ll bet JC would love to be 100% and running behind the current KC O-line.

          • Laurels and limitations

            bet he’d still love to be in KC, no matter his professed love for Elway.

          • ladner morse

            Yep… now that he’s had a good look at their OL……..

          • Laurels and limitations

            lol, he should be used to it.

  • Chiefly Bacon
    • berttheclock

      When the space program first began, all of the astronauts were trained military pilots. However, that is no longer a requirement. The 1,000 hours of flight time as a pilot can be substituted by other means. The trajectory is not set by the pilot in charge, but, rather by those on the ground. Looks as though, once again, Fat Andy was in charge of setting the course, but, yes, it was the fault of Alex Smith for not blocking, tackling, running properly, throwing properly which led to the missile being off course..

      • Laurels and limitations

        meh, that’s insinuating that Smith is just some type of automaton lining up behind center. Alex is charged with diagnosing the defense and progressing through the routes every single play, not “Fat Andy” on the sideline.

        • berttheclock

          Oh really? Then, please explain why both our offensive and defensive lines were consistently pushed backwards against both the Pats and the Steelers. Alex Smith did not lose those games. He was not the one who allowed wide outs to get open and gain YACs. Those two areas were NOT addressed very well by Dorsey during the draft and what made it even worse is the fact the corner back class was as deep as any in years. Patrick M II is not going to be the savior of the Chiefs. In fact, if you look at every team which has traded up in the draft in recent years and there have been several to do so, only the trade up for Flacco with the Ravens ended up making sense in the long run. Dorsey adhered to Fat Andy and gave away far too much for this so-called “Savior” from Texas Tech. Dorsey could have made the defensive backfield into a solid unit. He could have added more inside defensive line help with the 91 pick and that would have helped both Kpass and the new DT who came over from the Eagles. Dorsey had the chance to make this year’s Chiefs team into something special and he whiffed badly.

          • Laurels and limitations

            you are cherry picking in blaming the lines for KC’s….uh, not sure where the failure was. KC won the division, AND made the playoffs again….all with a very depleted roster due to injury. Dorsey and “Fat Andy” have done their jobs and they continued to do so in the draft class of 2017. The core of the roster is built, the foundation laid, the next step is to find difference makers to take KC to the next level. PM2, TK, Hunt are those type of guys. I’m not going to debate the 7th spent on Mcquay, it’s a shot in the dark on him and could go any which way…just like any other draft pick..especially a 7th rounder.
            As far as selecting my guy at 10, he might be the “savior”, he might be a bust, but the one thing I understand is that Dorsey is trying. We’ve had 30 years of the same ol’, same ol’ and all it has gotten us is angst. A new sheriff is in town and I for one, am totally fine with him kicking out the old in order to usher in the new. It’s about time.

    • Laurels and limitations

      HAHAHHAHA!!

    • Tony Parker

      😂😂😂

    • ladner morse

      So…….we’ve all been punch-drunk on Alex’ moon-shine to see the truth?

      • Laurels and limitations

        lol, not all of us.

  • Chiefly Bacon

    Off topic, but BR pointed out that Ramik Wilson was rated the 16th best ILB in the NFL. Not too bad.

    • ladner morse

      DJ and RAW side-by-side should be pretty good this year but… they are both better in coverage than in run support so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see someone else in there for Wilson on first down against run-first teams.

      • ladner morse

        However… I don’t know who that ILB might be because… JARD have been so busy building a defense to defend the passing offenses of the league that they forgot to make sure the run defense is still solid. Thus, #28 in the NFL vs. the run and no thumper ready to insert next to DJ.

        • Laurels and limitations

          28th in yardage allowed I am guessing. But what were they in rushing TDs allowed?

          • ladner morse

            Just because a team is able to stiffen in the red zone does not mean their run defense is good.

          • Laurels and limitations

            and that is where I disagree. A defenses’ job is to stop the other team from scoring, and KC’s did exactly that. It might have took a little longer but they STILL did their job. Sutton and his gang allowed 19.4 points a game which ranks 7th in the league and while doing so they created 18 interceptions and 18 fumbles. Now if only KC had an offense that could do something with the ball.

          • ladner morse

            On the other hand… if KC had a defense that could shut down another team’s run game game and thereby extinguish these long clock eating drives… then the offense would get more chances to do something with the ball.

            Right now (as of last year)… other teams could just play ball control and keep the ball out of Kelce and Hill’s hands and even if they had to kick 6 FGs then they could beat the Chiefs. The Chiefs only had the ball for 25:47 vs the Steelers. Was that more the offenses fault or the defenses fault?

            Sure, I think the Chiefs O is responsible for creating more than 16 points but… we’re talking about the defense here and while holding Pittsburgh’s vaunted offense out of the end zone was good… it wasn’t good enough. 171 yards of rushing and a victory in 34:13 time of possession say… that’s a fact.

            Sadly, those were the facts in the Chiefs most important game of the year.

          • Laurels and limitations

            yeah, they could stand to stiffen up but even with all the yards allowed to Pitt’s offense last post season they still did their job. They held the leagues’ 10th rank offense to zero TDs. The thing about that game versus Kc is this, KC had 9 drives to Pitt’s 10, KC just didn’t do anything with them. KC’s defense got ran all over that game, but the defense wasn’t the problem, the inept offense was.

          • ladner morse

            I won’t argue that both the def and the O were left needing. I’m sure there wasn’t a player on either side of the field going into the locker room blaming the other.

      • Laurels and limitations

        eh, I’m not so sure about that one “both better in coverage than run support”. I think DJ is probably one of the betterest ILBs I have ever seen as far as being a coverage LB, I also believe that RW is an adept pupil in DJ’s likeness but I like both of them for their play making ability than anything else. I mean, we are talking about a couple of guys that are very capable of putting up tackles in the century mark every season. RW was at 96 tackles (both solo and assisted) in eleven games, 11! and that is in only his second year in the league. I am excited for this guy’s future if Sutton can find him some help from the D-line.

        • Laurels and limitations

          to expand just a hair, both DJ56 and RW are (were?) very capable of being 3 down LBs, and those are rare nowadays.

          • ladner morse

            Last year before DJ went down, ProFootball focus ranked him #5 in pass coverage and #77 in run defense. He had a bunch of broken or missed tackles and his play was noticeably worse than in previous seasons.

          • Laurels and limitations

            yeah, he’s old, I’m not debating that. My thing is that DJ56 mad his name by dissecting plays before they were allowed to develop and oftentimes that resulted in negative yards for the opposing team. The dude is good in coverage, but he has stone hands, lol.

          • Merlin

            I see RW as far to limited in range to be a 3 down LB.

          • Laurels and limitations

            time will tell, but I’m failing to see where he is falling short. It can’t be tackling, I showed his participation in nearly a 100 tackles in an earlier post. It can’t be his coverage…you know, interception and all that. Can’t be play diagnosing, when RW was brought back into the fold, he had the first tackle for loss at his position all year long. He’s young and more than likely will never be the next Ray Lewis or even DJ56, but that doesn’t mean he can’t play three downs.

    • tm1946

      Not sure who BR is but ….initial thought was ….. really?

      • ladner morse

        Bleacher Report

    • Laurels and limitations

      RW is one of my favorite Chiefs right now. I’m holding to my guns that sooner than later we will see RW and DJA lined up in the back on a consistent basis.

      • ladner morse

        DJA will need tons of reps and coaching just to gain one-fourth of the mental knowledge and intuitive skills of someone like Derrick Johnson. I hope he can but I think he has a long ways to go… or… we would have seen him in there last year when the Chiefs were needing an ILB to step in and step up.

        • Laurels and limitations

          Reps, DJA needs reps, and I’m still betting he gets them this year. I have zero faith in JML to stay healthy but he did come into the league with a leg up on DJA, as DJA develops that lead with dissipate.

          • ladner morse

            JML is in danger of making the Sanders Cummings list of ex-Chiefs who got hurt so much we never really saw what they could do.

          • Laurels and limitations

            yeah, and that’s too bad too. The JML scenario is exactly why I am so apprehensive about “smaller” players who play big. The brain says go but the body says no.

  • Laurels and limitations

    @PatrickMahomes5 you are a terrible QB in madden mobile. So mad I spent all my gold coins on you during draft week.— ❗️ (@coolfatflynigga) May 26, 2017

  • Laurels and limitations

    hehe, ‘but KC’s defense sucks’, smh here folks.