Four tight ends at once? The Kansas City Chiefs have more than just Travis Kelce


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Four tight ends at once?  The Kansas City Chiefs have more than just Travis Kelce

The Chiefs retained all four tight ends (Bell, Travis Kelce, Noah Gray and Jody Fortson) after their final cuts

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – On one of his two touchdown passes during the Kansas City Chiefs’ last preseason game, Patrick Mahomes was able to throw the ball to any of the four tight ends, all on the field at once on that single play. . . He ultimately opted for Blake Bell, which resulted in a 5-yard touchdown.

The Chiefs retained all four tight ends (Bell, Travis Kelce, Noah Gray and Jody Fortson) after their final cuts. They may not use them much together on the same play, but they also didn’t keep four to sit on the bench. The days of additional tight ends other than Kelce, once in vogue with the Chiefs, seem to be back.

“Since we’ve been here, I’m not so sure we’ve had four guys like that,” coach Andy Reid said. “They are all good football players, so we gave them a chance. They were all excited and they looked good.”

All three tight ends plus Kelce are new to the Chiefs. Bell played for them in 2019, but left last season for the Dallas Cowboys before returning this year. Gray is a fifth-round draft pick and Fortson a former training camp wide receiver and practice squad who gained some weight, became a tight end and earned a roster spot at camp.

“We were already dangerous [en ala cerrada] before they activated me, “Fortson said.” I think we got a little more dangerous, to be honest with you. I believe in my talent and obviously they do too because now I’m on the active list, but it gives us the opportunity to have a lot of visions and clashes. “

“It’s going to be fun. It’s fun to be a part of this. I wish I was in the stands to see it: ‘Wow, they have four tight ends on the field!’ I’m part of it, so it’s great. “

Gray is the first tight end drafted by the Chiefs since 2015. They’ve used him in a similar way to Kelce in that he lined up during training camp in a variety of venues, including tight end.

The Chiefs seem deeper with Kelce at tight end than they have been since he became a starter in 2014. General manager Brett Veach said he received a few calls from his counterparts asking about the availability of one of the alternates for a trade. Veach said that made it clear that they couldn’t expect Gray or Fortson to go through waivers if they cut one of them and tried to put him on the practice team.

The Chiefs used a lot of tight end formations during Reid’s early seasons. From 2014 to 2017, they were in the top 10 in the NFL each season in number of plays with three groups of tight ends staff. They led the league in that category in 2016.

But the Chiefs walked away from those formations as they improved on their wide receivers, adding first Tyreek Hill and then Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman. They didn’t use three tight ends formations in either 2018 or 2019, and while they did use two tight ends at times, Kelce was alone in terms of his position.

That will change this season.

“This offense has been growing and growing and growing since I’ve been here,” Kelce said. “I don’t see us stopping. We have great players. We have very smart players needed to expand the offense, and on top of that we have high caliber players, guys who can play almost any position on the field.”

Don’t expect the Chiefs to use four tight ends at once on a lot of plays. Doing so means, among other things, a big threat like Hill exiting the game. But near the goal line, it makes some sense, like in the touchdown against the Vikings.

“We can be very flexible,” Mahomes said. “We can put all the receivers on the field, we can put all the tight ends on the field, whatever it is. Be able to do that in this league, be flexible, force changes – oops! On defenses. When we serve. to all the tight ends there, it turned into a touchdown. “

“I think having those tight ends on the field that can run and block and catch and then the offensive line that we’ve built and how we’ve run the ball, I think it’s going to complicate some defenses. Or they have to put a lot of big people in. the field to stop the race or they have to find a way to stop those guys like Noah, Blake, Travis and Jody who can catch the ball like a catcher. “


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