Because of the dynamic duo of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs have developed into one of many NFL’s elite passers. In the course of the 2023 season opener in opposition to the Detroit Lions, there was a transparent downside: These passes needed to be handled as necessary.
Whereas only a few chiefs have left the sphere with optimistic performances to their title, Cadarius Toni had a very ugly night. The recipient had 4 drops an evening; A kind of, which got here within the fourth quarter, would have arrange KC for at the very least a area objective within the last minutes of the sport.
As you would possibly count on, followers have been fast to pile on the previous New York big. However, Mahomes issued a public defence.
However are Tony drops an enormous deal? Or is it only a remarkably unhealthy night time on the workplace?
Let’s take a better look.
Tony was one of many essential characters on that ugly night time
With Travis Kelsey sidelined to guard his injured knee, the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs offense was already behind the eight-ball. The tight finish is greater than only a passer; He is an elite athlete who has wonderful chemistry with Mahomes and attracts the opposition protection’s consideration like a black gap. His absence meant that another person must step in, however nobody answered the bell.
No. 15 handed the ball, however no Chief has pulled the ball on greater than 4 receptions. Safety additionally proved to be a collective downside, with KC recording eight ugly drops within the night.
Tony was a notable prison, having dedicated 4 of these errors. At one level, the ball bounced out of his palms, turning right into a variable momentum pick-six. However, he failed to carry on to a cross that might have put Kansas Metropolis in place to take the lead with lower than two minutes left within the recreation.
Mahomes, because the quarterback and face of the franchise, refused to throw the receiver underneath the bus.
“I’ve confidence in (Tony),” he defined. “He missed numerous coaching camps, he clearly wished to play and he fought (by way of) rehab actually exhausting so he might play and issues would not at all times work out for you.”
“Clearly he wished to catch a number of of these within the recreation, however I am assured he’ll be that man to go to in these essential moments, and he’ll catch us and win some video games like he did final yr. So we’ll simply hold working with it, getting increasingly more iterations, and I am certain these drops will sort of go away.”
Coach Reid shared related sentiments in his post-game press convention, saying, “It is very uncommon for downed gamers to drop the ball. It isn’t what I’ve seen of them, and I did not count on them to do this.” . Try this, and maintain enterprise there, and you will be all proper.”
Nevertheless, social media was a bit much less understanding. Some have identified the significance of Tony’s drops:
Others most well-liked to make a bit mockery of the bosses’ struggles:
Both approach, it was an unsightly night, and Tony ended up with essentially the most whites on his face.
Tony’s profession decline charges are usually not a catastrophe
Whereas the return of Kelsey would undoubtedly stabilize the Chiefs assault, Tony’s recreation in Week 1 raises questions concerning the membership’s depth. Can the quantity 19 be counted as a dependable choice? Or does his game-changing efficiency level in a bigger route?
Nicely, our first level of contact is scouting the reviews forward of the 2021 draft. There have been some crimson flags, like NBC Sports activities’ Glen Morgan who wrote that Tony, for all his athleticism, was “responsible of getting inconsistent palms and shedding give attention to Some routine catches The ‘traditional run earlier than catching the ball’ is an instance of what’s pointless exhibits poor focus at instances.”
However what concerning the extensive time within the NFL? His drop stats might shed extra gentle.
Throughout his first yr with the Giants, Tony dropped two passes, which gave him a drop fee (share of targets dropped) of two%. However through the 2022 marketing campaign, that quantity rose to 10%. Nevertheless, there’s extra to this sum than meets the attention.
The receiver break up this season between the Giants and Chiefs. In New York, the speed of decline was 33.3%, however that is skewed by pattern measurement; He was focused solely 3 times and dropped one cross. As soon as he joined the Chiefs, Tony dropped 1 help out of 17 targets, giving him a 5.6% drop fee over these seven video games.
Numbers additionally want context, so let’s examine his drop charges to another cross catching gamers.
What about Kelsey, the chiefs’ primary goal and the person whose absence began the chain of occasions? Its decline ranged from 1.7% to 7.5% between 2018 and 2022, which is the utmost. Pro-Football-Reference Advanced Statistics; He completed final season with a relative common of 5.3%.
Or how about JuJu Smith-Schuster, the person who would have been on the high of the receiving depth chart had the Chiefs been capable of afford his contract? Though he did not submit a single drop through the 2021 marketing campaign, he posted a 5.9% drop fee throughout his solely season in Kansas Metropolis.
All of this combines to point that Tony hasn’t carried out past the abnormal but. May his palms be a bit higher? In fact, nevertheless it’s not cheap to worry that he’ll drop 4 assists per recreation for the whole season.
Tony did not precisely earn the good thing about the doubt
And whereas we are able to draw conclusions from these numbers, they will not present a lot solace for Tony on Friday morning. Not solely is the receiver at house with the fan base, however he’ll have to show he is usually a dependable weapon transferring ahead.
The Chiefs, regardless of their strengths, want a second objective after Kelsey. And the race is extensive open, even when a lot of the opponents miss out on Thursday’s begin. Tony has an opportunity of getting this place because of his sheer athleticism, however holding onto the ball is a non-negotiable a part of the job.
May the No. 19 be a authentic risk within the passing recreation? Or is he doomed to be a sensible man, jet-setting and repeat?
Not solely would that query form his profession, however the course of the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs’ upcoming marketing campaign. And the reply ought to arrive sooner reasonably than later.