Chiefs’ Andy Reid Issues Challenge to Benched WR Ahead of 2024 Campaign

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid challenged Kadarius Toney at the start of the 2024 season.

Getty Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid appeared to challenge wide receiver Kadarius Toney at the start of the 2024 offseason program.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney had a miserable 2023 campaign from start to finish — including a late-season injury absence turned benching.

But it appears head coach Andy Reid is ready to start fresh with the former first-round talent in 2024.

“Listen, I mean, Kadarius is arguably one of the most talented guys we have on the team. It’s just a matter of staying healthy and being able to stay on the field,” Reid told reporters on April 15, when asked about his message to Toney after he was scratched from the Super Bowl versus the San Francisco 49ers.

“You always hear about the reliability, accountability, all those things that go into it,” the Chiefs HC voiced. “And so, I’m expecting him to come back ripping and ready to go.”

Reid added that “it’s great that [Toney] is down there [in Texas] working with Pat [Mahomes] and putting the work in.” He called that a “positive.”

“Listen, we like Kadarius,” the veteran coach concluded. “It’s just a matter of having him on the field.”

With Rashee Rice’s NFL future now more uncertain than ever before, Toney could have an opportunity to reclaim a large role in this KC offense in 2024. And if you read between the lines of Reid’s response, that appears to be the challenge that he’s issuing on Day 1 of offseason workouts around the league.

“Reliability, accountability, all those things that go into it” — that’s what Reid expects out of “one of the most talented guys we have on the team.”

Kadarius Toney’s Best Game With Chiefs Might Have Been Second Appearance

When you look back at every Toney performance at wide receiver — not taking into account special teams impact — since joining the Chiefs, his best outing might have been his second one.

After easing into the offense against the Tennessee Titans in Week 9 of the 2022 season, Toney played 28 offensive snaps versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10. During that game, he caught his first touchdown as a Chief but he was also targeted five times by Mahomes, catching four of those passing attempts for 57 yards.

Toney even took two rushes for 33 yards in that game, and if you want to talk special teams, he also registered 11 yards as a returner. All told, it was a 100-plus yard impact for the Jack-of-all-trades playmaker and the trade felt like an immediate steal.

From there, things have progressively gotten worse. Nagging injuries limited Toney in 2022 outside of a 77-yard receiving performance against the Denver Broncos in Week 17.

Then, in the playoffs, Toney did more as a returner than an offensive weapon — but a Super Bowl win masked his struggles.

Hype and high expectations surrounded Toney heading into 2023, and the potential WR1 ended up needing surgery before the season ever began. He worked his way back onto the field in time for Week 1, but that proved to do more harm than good.

Mahomes completed one of five passes when targeting Toney against the Detroit Lions on opening night, and one easy drop was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. From that point on, the pass-catcher’s entire campaign appeared to be marred by drops, on-field mistakes, critical penalties and social media drama — not to mention more injuries.

A quiet, healthy and productive year would be a breath of fresh air for Toney and the Chiefs in 2024.

Chiefs HC Andy Reid Explains Benefits of Camp Texas With Patrick Mahomes

While most franchises have athletes report to team facilities for voluntary workouts on April 15, the Chiefs have taken a delayed approach in recent years. During that time, offensive players have begun meeting up with Mahomes in Texas — where he spends most of his offseason.

Reid explained the benefits of this much more southern KC camp on Monday morning.

“So, a couple things,” he began. “We’re coming off a 21-game season, [so] it’s a short offseason as you guys know.”

“It gives the guys an opportunity to stay away from here,” Reid continued. “Maybe a little bit more laxed atmosphere. But at the same time, you get a ton of work done. Also, there’s a little comradery that goes with it, which is important on the offensive side.”

The Chiefs head coach specifically highlighted Mahomes and the quarterback room’s ability to develop chemistry with their skill position players during this time period, noting that this offseason approach has “been effective” for the Kansas City organization.

“They’ve come back in great shape, and they’ve come back knowing what their responsibilities are,” Reid concluded. “At the same time, they’re getting that influx of new scheme evaluations from last year thrown at them by the coaches.”

As Reid mentioned earlier, Toney is currently in Texas with Mahomes and company.