Just three days away from kickoff between the Chiefs and Chargers, we are looking deeper into the matchup. What players could stand to have impressive showings, that many fans watching do not expect. We have two offensive skill options for both teams that are intriguing.
On one hand, there is Kansas City wide receiver Demarcus Robinson. From the Chargers, we will be watching closely for rookie running back Joshua Kelley. Not only did each player provide a beneficial showing in Week One, but both guys also received more reps than what was expected. Now, let’s take a deeper look into both Robinson and Kelley respectively.
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Robbing The Reps
I was surprised we did not see more of Mecole Hardman, or even Byron Pringle, against the Houston Texans. Robinson received nearly 20 percent more of the snaps than Hardman (48 snaps to 29 snaps). Meanwhile, Pringle only saw the field six times. It was for good reason, though.
Robinson was not super active in the stat sheet, as he hauled in three receptions for 20 yards. It is the little things that stand out for the former Florida Gator, however. Two of those receptions resulted in a missed tackle from Houston or a first down. We have also been aware of Robinson’s stellar blocking all over the field, opening up doors for other skill guys. If Andy Reid continues to play his hand with Robinson, eventually the production should grow with Patrick Mahomes spreading the wealth around.
In a matchup like this against the Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs have seen rugged starts in the early portions of games with this division rival. A vaunted secondary of Casey Hayward, Chris Harris Jr, Desmond King and others have managed to hang tight for the majority of games with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins. If the same attention and focus is drummed up to those weapons, and similar results occur, Mahomes will need to look elsewhere.
People may not remember, but Demarcus proved he had the ability to win all over the field in a division game last year. At the Raiders, he set career best marks in a high flying day. The Chiefs wide out would finish with six receptions, 172 yards and two touchdowns. The tools are certainly there. If not for a reversed call after a replay and the occasional dropped pass, Robinson could have scored two touchdowns last week for Kansas City. He just needs to finish and capitalize on those opportunities.
If you have not been following Anthony Lynn‘s press conferences, he has made it paramount for Los Angeles to take better care of the football this season and establish the running game. We know Austin Ekeler is already dangerous as the starter. Nonetheless, that does not mean he is the only back capable of overtaking a game for the Bolts.
Joshua Kelley had an admirable NFL debut last week in Cincinnati. His hard nosed, tough running style paved the way for 60 rushing yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Kelley made it known that he will not go down easily, as tackle attempts must be stout. A lengthy 26 yard scamper seemed to catch the Bengals off guard. Finally, his touchdown run look as if he was running against air.
The simple answer, is that the Chargers running game will help to control their chances of winning against the Chiefs. To dive deeper, Los Angeles can be more diverse than they have been in a while as a rushing attack. They have versatile runners that make life tough on tacklers. In addition, Kansas City’s main game plan will likely be more focused on the shiftier Ekeler.
While at UCLA, Joshua Kelley was a reliable player that fit his role very well. If the Bruins needed to turn a second and long into a third and short, Kelley got the call. His college career rushing average was 5.1 yards per tote. Uncoincidentally, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry against the Bengals last week. In a role that Kelley currently employs, the Chargers should feel comfortable in mixing him into the game more against Kansas City. Trying to establish that physical nature that Kelley brings, has been costly to the Chiefs defense at times beforehand.
Stay tuned for the Chiefs and Chargers game preview article for Friday. Also, be sure to keep things locked on to Full Press Coverage, for more great sports and NFL content.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.