Replacing TG

How do you replace perhaps the most prolific receiving tight end in the history of football? Not exactly an easy question, but it's one the Kansas City Chiefs have to answer between now and Sunday. Tony Gonzalez will likely be out against the Oakland Raiders and the Chiefs better find a way to replace his unique abilities.

The loss of Gonzalez is compounded by the fact that quarterback Trent Green will be returning to the field after missing eight and a half games with a concussion, putting even more pressure on the other offensive guys to perform. Not only are the Chiefs going to miss TG's playmaking ability, they're going to miss his blocking in the running and passing games. The last few games Gonzalez has been playing out of his mind, taking advantage of teams stacking the line to stop the run. Even when defenses drop into coverage, Gonzalez has made plays anyway, moving the chains when the Chiefs need him most.

Now the Chiefs will have to find a way to get the job done without their best receiver. There isn't one guy on the roster who can step in and replace him, so it'll take a few guys to make up for TG's production. Here are the key guys:

Jason Dunn

Everyone knows that Dunn is probably the best blocking tight end in football. He's the guy slated to start at tight end in Gonzalez's absence, and Dunn is going to have to show another aspect of his game - catching the football.

Dunn's been involved in the offense before, usually in the redzone, and the Chiefs were making a concerted effort to get some balls his way in the beginning of the season. Dunn can't match Gonzalez's speed, but he can definitely use his big body to shield defenders from the ball. He'll have to show he can be more than a one dimensional player and make some big plays in the passing game.

Kris Wilson

Wilson has been dynamite this season, doing everything the Chiefs have asked him to do this season. He's played fullback in place of the injured Ronnie Cruz, he's scored touchdowns and he's blocked from three different positions. Now, he's going to have to be the playmaker from the tight end position. Wilson isn't quite the blocker TG is, but he's shown that he's willing to stick his nose in and get physical with defenders.

His main concern will be getting downfield and making plays in the passing game. Wilson has the speed to get downfield in a hurry, and knowing Green, if Wilson's open, he'll get the ball.

Rod Gardner

Gardner hasn't been on the field much, after signing a free agent contract with the Chiefs, but this is his kind of game. The Chiefs have to maximize the number of targets for Green, and Gardner provides another big body and sure hands. The Raiders defensive backs are physical and have been playing well, but they won't be able to muscle Gardner off the line of scrimmage.

He likely won't be able get downfield and make huge plays, but he can move the chains. I expect the Chiefs to be slow and methodical to take pressure off Green, and having another big body as a target certainly helps.

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