Through eleven regular season games the Kansas City Chiefs had yet to convert a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. With father time slowing down Dwayne Bowe, injuries to Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins, General Manager, John Dorsey dialed up a receiver that might just be able to help his depleted troops.
Jason Avant was a cap casualty of the Philadelphia Eagles last April. After briefly courting the Kansas City Chiefs once he was a free man, ultimately he chose the Carolina Panthers. However this past weekend, he was highly critical of the play calling, and thus after complaining about it, he was cut.
The fortuitous timing for the Chiefs is uncanny. Kansas City has struggled at the receiver position all season. In losing to the Raiders Thursday Night, it was clear starters, Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Hammond, Jr., were not getting the job done.
Even when healthy Jenkins and Avery had done very little between the two of them in regards to play making ability. Thus with the division and playoffs on the line after the Raiders loss Head Coach, Andy Reid, thought a reunion with his old Eagles receiver could help the Chiefs.
His stats at Carolina won’t wow you by any means (21 receptions and one touchdown) but for a Chiefs team desperate for any production at the position, he could be what the doctor ordered for Quarterback, Alex Smith.
Though the Chiefs offensive line struggled against the Raiders front four, its obvious Smith doesn’t have much confidence in his receivers. Avant is a polished route runner with good hands. He already knows Reid’s system so the advantageous nature of the Chiefs distance between today, and their Broncos show down in nine days, Avant could even push for a starting assignment.
I’m sure it didn’t take long for Reid and Dorsey to decide to bring Avant into Kansas City for a workout this morning. The Raiders exposed the Chiefs weakness at the position, much like every other NFL team has to date, so adding the veteran might bring some needed competition and productivity to the position.
If Avant can jump into the role of consistent pass catcher, along with Avery, then Smith will have three veteran receivers plus second year tight end, Travis Kelce to spread the ball in the vertical passing game. If Reid, utilizes star running back, Jamaal Charles, better than he’s done to date this year, this does offer the potential for a more rounded offense.
The good news about this signing it tells me they want to win this year and aren’t concerned with giving a young receiver like, Albert Wilson, more snaps. I’m not sure Avant is the ultimate answer but nonetheless I like the move.
Now if the Chiefs can find a spot for veteran offensive lineman, Donald Stephenson, in the starting lineup, this offense may not look as bad as they did through three quarters at Oakland Thursday evening.
But for now, let’s fix one starting spot at a time on offense.
Photos: Jason Avant (Panthers) Aaron Doster / (Eagles) Howard Smith USA Today Sports