Tyreek Hill might be the most dynamic playmaker the Chiefs have. If his wrist injury proves to be serious, Andy Reid will need to revamp his offense.
The productivity and innovation of the Chiefs offense has been one of the enduring NFL storylines of the season. Much of the credit goes to Andy Reid’s ability to dial up cutting-edge gameplans on a weekly basis. If Tyreek Hill’s wrist injury keeps him out for any meaningful length of time, it’s going to put Reid’s skills to the test.
It’s no secret that Hill is the Chiefs most dangerous deep threat. He’s caught 66 balls for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. Losing that sort of production would clearly be a serious blow to any team. Losing Hill would impact the Chiefs even more than his numbers might indicate.
His ability to take the top off an opposing defense opens up a ton of room for Patrick Mahomes and the rest of his team’s playmakers. Travis Kelce is one of the best tight ends in football, but he benefits greatly from Hill’s ability to occupy safeties down the field. Much of what Kansas City does on offense is predicated on their ability to force opponents to defend the entire field.
Kareem Hunt also helped in this regard, but the justified decision to cut him last week only put more pressure on Hill to be the team’s dominant deep threat. There’s really only one other player on the Chiefs roster who is capable of stepping up and filling that void.
Unfortunately for Kansas City fans, that guy is Sammy Watkins. He’s injured a the moment but the team believes he’s close to returning. If Hill is forced to miss time, it’s going to thrust Watkins into the spotlight. He’s absolutely got the talent to thrive in this offense, but his inconsistency has frustrated every coach that’s come in contact with him.
That means Reid has two realistic options. He will absolutely try to design more routes for Watkins to attack opposing safeties. In some ways that might make the game plan easier for the former Clemson star. He’s not a terrific route runner. Perhaps letting him rely purely on his speed can help unlock his substantial potential.
The Chiefs will also be forced to change up their offensive game plan pretty significantly. Expect Reid to lean even more on the bevy of screens he likes to call on a weekly basis. It’ll be imperative for Mahomes to keep the team’s offense on schedule with shorter throws. Expect to see Reid design plays to attach the perimeter of opposing defenses even more than he has before.
No one can replace a unique talent like Hill at this late juncture of the season, but Reid’s offensive brilliance gives the Chiefs a chance to survive without him. His wrist injury could ultimately cost Kansas City their chance at a Super Bowl title, but there’s no better coach to overcome the challenge than Reid.