Chiefs put pressure on the one player no one wants offense to rely on

Brett Veach and Andy Reid want one Chiefs weapon to step up, and it’s the last guy fans want to see in that spot.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Kansas City Chiefs still have a big issue at wide receiver that they need to address. The initial hope was that the free-agent acquisition of the speedy Marquise Brown would alleviate how dire that need was going into the 2024 season, but the still-developing Rashee Rice situation has complicated the matter greatly.

As of now, the baseline appears to be that Rice will be suspended for multiple games for his involvement in a high-speed racing incident that resulted in a multi-car accident in Dallas. That suspension, per the implication of the report, could last far longer than just a few games as well. Subsequently, receiver remains a huge need for the Chiefs to address.

Many experts expect Kansas City to use the No. 32 overall pick to fill that void at wide receiver as a result of the situation regarding Rice. That’s still likely, but general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid are also putting pressure on a player already on the roster to step up in Rice’s inevitable absence.

Kansas City Chiefs

Unfortunately, it’s the one player who hasn’t shown he can be relied upon: Kadarius Toney.

Chiefs GM puts pressure on Kadarius Toney to step up

Speaking with ESPN’s Adam Teicher, Veach praised the talent of Toney, a former first-round pick by the New York Giants, and talked about his importance to the offense if he can stay healthy

“He is probably our most talented wideout now,” Veach said. “It doesn’t do anyone any good unless you stay healthy. But the kid has always worked hard here for us and I know he’s been down there with Pat and I think it’s a matter of him staying healthy and I think if he can do that, he can really do a lot of great things in this offense.”

Veach noted that the Chiefs have seen spurts of what Toney is capable of as well, but that health has been an issue. Considering that the wide receiver was listed on the injury report for 19 of Kansas City’s 21 games last season, that rings true, and it’s something that Reid echoed while continuing to highlight the talent and vital role that Toney will play in the offense in the 2024 season.

“Kadarius is arguably one of the most talented guys we have on the team,” Reid said. “It’s just a matter of staying healthy and being able to stay on the field.

“I’m expecting him to come back ripping and ready to go. It’s great that he’s down there working with Pat and putting the work in so that’s a positive. We like Kadarius. It’s just a matter of having him on the field.”

Toney’s health is just part of the problem, though, which is why Chiefs fans are likely removing their eyes from the back of their heads after rolling them so hard. The receiver’s most infamous moment came in an eventual loss to the Bills when what would’ve been the game-winning trick play was called back after Toney lined up offsides.

Those mental lapses have plagued Toney in Kansas City and throughout his young NFL career to this point. Last season, he was tied for 20th in the league in drops with five. However, he hit that mark while only playing 13 games in the regular season and on just 38 targets, the only player in the Top 20 of that unfortunate statistical category to see fewer than 57 targets on the season.

But the fact of the matter is that Veach and Reid’s stance on Toney isn’t entirely unfounded. He was a first-round pick because of his immense talent. He moves special, particularly with the ball in his hands after the catch, and can easily be seen as a dynamic threat for Patrick Mahomes to target in this offense. However, that requires him to both stay healthy and cut down on the inexplicable lapses, something he’s not yet proven he can do.

Perhaps having the onus put on him by the Chiefs GM and head coach will help that moving into the 2024 season. Based on his track record, though, Kansas City might also secretly be praying that they nail the draft pick that they use on a receiver, because relying on Toney heavily isn’t going to help anyone sleep better at night.

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