Rash of Chiefs Absences Creates Precarious Situation at WR vs Chargers

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Getty Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is in danger of missing Week 11 with a concussion.

The Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers are seemingly dropping like flies ahead of a key Week 11 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Mecole Hardman was the first to wind up on the injury report due to an abdomen ailment in Week 10. The speedster ended up missing the outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars and he missed practice again today on November 16.

He wasn’t the only one, as Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney reported that JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (illness) were also absent on Wednesday. At the start of the 2022 season, those were the three unquestioned starters in this Kansas City WR corps.

Chiefs WR Corps Has Multiple Absences Ahead of Week 11

Needless to say, this creates a precarious situation as the Chiefs prep for their number one competitor in the AFC West. Head coach Andy Reid gave brief updates on each of the ailing wideouts.

“Mecole has an illness to his abdomen,” he began, “he’s getting better but he’s not back yet. Two people in concussion protocol are [Chris] Lammons and JuJu, and then Scantling is just sick — he’s got an illness.”

Of the three, “MVS” definitely appears to be the most likely to suit up on Sunday based on Reid’s comments but it’s never ideal to have important pieces sidelined in practice.

“We’ll just take it day by day,” Reid responded when asked about Smith-Schuster’s status. “We’ll be cautious with it, we’re not gonna do anything that you shouldn’t do according to what the data shows and how he feels.”

It’s always impossible to speculate on the severity of a concussion, but based on the uproar from players and fans alike, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if the Chiefs’ new number-one wide receiver spent a week on the sidelines to make sure he’s good to go for the remainder of the season.

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs Not Worried About Absences

No matter what happens at wide receiver this week, Big Red and quarterback Patrick Mahomes II echoed the same message.

“Yeah, we’re good,” Reid reassured. “We’ve got a couple of other guys — you’ve seen [Marcus] Kemp up a few weeks [ago] so we know he can do it. We’re fine.”

Mahomes voiced a similar opinion on the matter, stating: “We put guys in positions to succeed. For me, it’s just about executing the offense, finding the open guy, and getting the ball out of my hands and letting those guys make plays. We’ve seen over the year that these guys can make plays in big moments, so we’ll give them those chances as well as [having] some younger guys step up. And then hopefully, we can get some guys back later in the week. If not, we’ll be ready to go with whoever’s out there.”

If Smith-Schuster and Hardman end up missing Week 11, expect Kansas City to lean heavily on newcomer Kadarius Toney, who has increased his workload each week since joining the organization. Justin Watson and rookie Skyy Moore are expected to be in the mix as well, along with Valdes-Scantling if he’s able to play.

As for the matchup against the Chargers and the somewhat surprising state of the AFC West, the Chiefs signal-caller had this to say: “In football, man. Anybody can beat anybody any day. It hasn’t gone their way in some of these games — these close, hard-fought games — but we understand how good the Chargers are. We’re not looking ahead to being three games up or whatever it is, we’re looking at — ‘what can we do to win today so that we can win on Sunday.'”

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