Kansas City Chiefs tight ends Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris had an interesting spring. After both saw significant playing time in 2017, Kelce had to overcome some health problems, Harris had to deal with the first serious injury of his career, and both were sidelined by hamstring issues. When they finally returned to action at the start of June, Kelce and Harris were both on the field at the same time for the first time since the 2016 season.
In a league where some teams have as many as five starting-caliber tight ends, the Kansas City Chiefs have that many guys playing meaningful snaps. That’s going to create a lot of intrigue, which means a lot of people will be talking about the Chiefs’ offense.
The Kansas City Chiefs have always been known for their offense. It’s not just the fact that they win or lose based on their offense, but it’s how they win. The Kansas City Chiefs are the only offense in the NFL with four players more than 1000 yards receiving. As a team, the Chiefs are averaging almost 26 points per game, the second most in the league.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes could have thrown the ball to any of four tight ends on the field at the same time on one of his two touchdown passes during the Kansas City Chiefs’ last preseason game. He ultimately went with Blake Bell, who scored a 5-yard touchdown.
Following their final cuts, the Chiefs kept all four tight ends — Bell, Travis Kelce, Noah Gray, and Jody Fortson. They didn’t keep four of them on the bench since they didn’t utilize them together on the same play. Additional tight ends besides Kelce, who were previously popular with the Chiefs, seem to be making a comeback.
“I’m not sure we’ve had four players like that since we’ve been here,” coach Andy Reid said. “We put them out there and gave them a chance because they’re all excellent football players. They were all ecstatic and seemed to be in good health.”
Except for Kelce, the Chiefs have never had a tight end before. Bell was a member of the team in 2019, but departed for the Dallas Cowboys last season before returning this year. Gray is a fifth-round draft selection, while Fortson was a former training camp and practice squad wide receiver who gained weight, switched to tight end, and won a place on the roster.
“Before I was activated, we were already dangerous [at tight end],” Fortson said. “To be honest with you, I believe we just became a little bit more dangerous.” I believe in my abilities, and they clearly do as well since I’m now on the active roster, but it allows us to generate a variety of looks and mismatches.
“It’ll be a lot of fun.” Being a part of it is enjoyable. ‘Wow, they’ve got four men out there!’ I wish I was in the grandstand to witness it. It’s great because I’m a part of it.”
Take a look at some of the greatest moments from Duke TE Noah Gray’s collegiate career.
Gray is the Chiefs’ first tight end draft pick since 2015. He’s been utilized similarly to Kelce in that he lined up in a number of positions throughout training camp, including tight end.
At tight end, the Chiefs seem to be farther behind Kelce than they have been since he took over as starter in 2014. GM Brett Veach says he had a few calls from other clubs inquiring about the availability of one of the backups acquired in trade. If they cut one of them and attempted to place him on the practice squad, Veach said that made it obvious they couldn’t expect either Gray or Fortson to get through waivers.
During Reid’s first two seasons with the Chiefs, the team utilized a number of multiple tight end sets. With three tight end personnel groupings, they were in the top ten in the NFL in terms of number of plays out every season from 2014 to 2017. In 2016, they were the league’s best in that area.
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The Chiefs, though, have moved away from such formations as their wide receivers have developed, first with Tyreek Hill and then with Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman. In both 2018 and 2019, they didn’t utilize three tight end formations, and although they did use two tight ends on occasion, Kelce was mostly on his own in terms of his position.
This season, that will change.
“Since I’ve been here, this offense has been developing and growing and growing,” Kelce said. “We’re not going anywhere anytime soon, in my opinion. We have several fantastic guys on our team. We have extremely intelligent players, which you need to extend the offense, and we also have high-caliber players, who can make plays in almost any position on the field.”
On many plays, don’t expect the Chiefs to utilize four tight ends at the same time. This, among other things, means that a big-play danger like Hill is removed from the game. However, on the goal line, such as on the touchdown against the Vikings, it makes sense.
“We have a lot of flexibility,” Mahomes added. “We can put all receivers on the field, all tight ends on the field, whatever it is,” he said. Being able to accomplish that in this league requires flexibility and the ability to throw change-ups to opposing defenses. It turned into a touchdown after we got all of the tight ends out there.
“I believe that having those tight ends on the field who can run, block, and catch, as well as the offensive line that we’ve developed here and their ability to run the ball, will put certain teams in a difficult situation. To stop the run, they need to either put a lot of large players on the field or figure out a method to stop guys like Noah, Blake, Travis, and Jody, who can all catch the ball like receivers.”
The Kansas City Chiefs are a football team that has become infamous for having two tight ends on the field at the same time. It is a tactic that the team has employed for years now, and one that has become a staple of how the team plays at all times. But what if this tight end, who has become an integral part of the team, was no longer an integral part of the team? What if at some point, the tight end who is so integral to the team’s plans was not on the team? How would the team fare?. Read more about travis kelce draft pick and let us know what you think.
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