The Kansas City Chiefs have an important season coming up in 2022. Obviously, every season is important. However, the window to win more Super Bowls will only get smaller. The Chiefs already did it once with this core, but as with all things NFL, it’s what you’ve done lately that counts the most.
Kansas City will need everyone to do their part. Because winning a Super Bowl is considered among many to be the hardest championship win of the four major American professional sports championships. And while the Chiefs are one of the closest rosters in the NFL, they have seen a lot of changes over the last few months. It’s crucial all these pieces fit together as quickly as possible.
In order to keep up the Chiefs’ dominance, there are three players on the Chiefs that need to at least be “as advertised” for this team to be successful.
Chiefs need these players to produce as expected in 2022
1. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
The Chiefs need Edwards-Helaire to be what they thought he was when Kansas City drafted him. What does that mean? Well, they need Edwards-Helaire to be lethal in the passing game, as well as a very good runner.
This team needs to up the running game. With the offensive line on this team being built for the run game, the Chiefs should utilize that more. That starts with Edwards-Helaire, who was very good in that department at LSU.
Edwards-Helaire had a good year in 2020. According to Pro Football Focus, he finished 2020 with an overall grade of 75.3, a rushing grade of 77.8, and a receiving grade of 68.0. Overall he’s been effective on the ground, as advertised, but those numbers went down last season. In 2021, the then second-year running back posted a PFF grade of 64.3, a rushing grade of 66.0, and a receiving grade of 63.5.
The Chiefs lost Tyreek Hill, obviously, but they do have a quiet, yet strong receiving corps and of course, Kelce. But still, the running game should be more of a focus in 2022 and if the Chiefs want that to happen, CEH needs to step up and show he can produce like the first-round pick he is.
The good news is the Chiefs added Ronald Jones II and re-signed Jerrick McKinnon to help provide backup in case CEH can’t live up to expectations. However, it’s clear CEH needs to do his thing in 2022 or else the offense may not be as powerful as it typically is.
CEH hasn’t been “as advertised” since he was drafted, but that can change with a big year this year – and that’s exactly what the Chiefs need.
2. S Justin Reid
Reid is taking over for Tyrann Mathieu, who has been an integral part of the Chiefs secondary, and defense as a whole, over the last few years.
That’s a big enough job in of itself, but Reid is in completely different territory with Steve Spagnuolo and the Chiefs defense. Spags demands a lot out of his secondary and will use Reid in a variety of ways. Reid has to show that he’s up to the job in 2022.
The Chiefs still have veteran Deon Bush and third-year safety Juan Thornhill to fall back on if Reid doesn’t play up to his big contract, but it’s easy to see why the Chiefs secondary will continue to struggle.
3. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
The Chiefs went and signed JuJu Smith-Schuster just right before trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins this offseason. They were able to get him for very cheap, due to the down season he had last year because of injuries.
Smith-Schuster, before last season, was widely known around the NFL as being very talented. That’s exactly what the Chiefs need him to be, or at least close to it. Last season, he finished with just 223 total snaps, in just five games. So, before anything else, he needs to be available.
When healthy, Smith-Schuster is one of the better receivers in the game. Whether it be in 2020, where he didn’t quite get 1,000 receiving yards, but did have nine touchdowns and 97 receptions. Or whether it be the same Smith-Schuster from the 2018 season when he was a Pro Bowler with 1,426 yards.
The Chiefs need him to be anything but hurt, but when healthy, they need him to dominate the underneath passing game so MVS can occupy the deep areas and Skyy Moore/Travis Kelce can do whatever is asked of them during whichever play.
The Chiefs passing attack is going to be varied in 2022, with multiple guys doing different things on a weekly basis. In order for that to work at a high level, everyone needs to be on their game.
And Smith-Schuster is a major part of that.
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