Yesterday on April 18, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes met with the media virtually for the first time in weeks.
The big question at the tip of every reporter’s tongue involved the offense, and how it would look without Tyreek Hill leading the receiving corps.
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Mahomes: ‘Variety’ of WRs Will Be ‘Huge’ for Chiefs
“I don’t think it will be significantly different,” Reid began when asked about the departure. “It will be similar to what we did in the games that Tyreek couldn’t play in.” The Chiefs HC added that the coaching staff will have players “try” to fill in for Hill at times, “without forcing anything.”
Mahomes relayed a similar message: “It’s definitely going to be different in a sense, but I feel like we still have a strong foundation of guys that have been here over the last few years and then with Coach Reid, Coach [Eric] Bieniemy, and then having a guy like Coach [Matt] Nagy back — it’s someone that I’ve worked with before.”
He continued: “As far as on the field, we’re bringing in a lot of different receivers but we still have guys like [Travis Kelce] that can kind of teach the ways that we do things, how we practice, everything like that — Mecole [Hardman] can do that as well. We’ll have to find production in different ways than we did the last [few years].”
The Chiefs quarterback noted that the 6-foot-1 JuJu Smith-Schuster and the 6-foot-4 Marquez Valdes-Scantling both add size and height, something this group had been lacking in the past. “[In workouts] I’ve thrown it high thinking it’s an overthrow and those guys are catching it easy,” Mahomes cited as an example.
“Having the different variety [of weapons] I think is going to be huge for us,” Mahomes voiced later on. “The defense doesn’t know where the ball is going.”
He added that he was “excited” to have these new pieces around him and “spread the football around,” adding that the Chiefs will have to “find the team that we are.”
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Will Hardman Take on Heightened Role?
Reid also told reporters that his staff usually tries to tailor the offense around the “player’s strengths,” and the most similar skillset to Hill may have already been on the roster.
“We know what Mecole can do and we have a lot of confidence in what he can do,” Reid stated. “He’s coming off a good year and he’s gonna continue to grow here over the next couple of years. Mecole has the speed like a Tyreek had. Different player, but like Tyreek had. He gives you a nice skillset with the speed and quickness and [the] ability to run when the ball is in his hands… so we find ways to do that.”
Mahomes had full confidence in Hardman as well, trusting that he’ll step up when the time comes. “Whenever Mecole’s gotten opportunities in this offense… he made plays happen,” the signal-caller said, advising that the 2019 second-round pick should “continue to be himself.”
He added: “He doesn’t have to be Tyreek Hill, he has to be Mecole Hardman and I think Mecole Hardman can be a great player in this offense.”
As for Hardman, the wide receiver met with the media virtually on April 18 as well, voicing that he, Smith-Schuster and ‘MVS’ make a “great combination” of talent.
He also told reporters that he never felt like the “odd man out” with Kelce and Hill, and that he would “love” to still have Hill on the team. At the same time, Hardman made it clear that he understands his role could grow and stated that he just wants to “be better than I was last year” and “establish my name a little bit more.”
Earlier in his interview, Mahomes expressed that the competition in the wide receiver room should help everyone long-term, Hardman included. The void left by Hill will no doubt be hard to fill but KC isn’t fearful of the task.
At the end of the day, the QB admitted that he would miss Hill as a friend even more than as a player. “I wish the best for him and for me, it’s just — we gotta keep rolling,” Mahomes pushed on. Coach Reid said it best: “You can’t pay everybody.”