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Behind Tyreek Hill, Chiefs continue a wide receiver by committee approach

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs' offense worked well in the season opener with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce catching most of Patrick Mahomes' completions. It worked well last week with other receivers like Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson contributing big plays.

The Chiefs can make it work either way. But to Mahomes, they're more dangerous when they're spreading the ball around.

"It just puts defenses in binds," Mahomes said this week. "Obviously, they want to try to take away Travis and Tyreek as much as possible just because of the constant success that they've had.

"It's a thing when you have other guys that can make plays happen. It puts them into a predicament of, 'Do we want to double cover both [Kelce and Hill] and leave these [other receivers] on islands or do we want to play our defense in and do what we do?' So having the ability to get it to everybody and bring it in for a touchdown every single play is definitely something that will help the offense."

Mahomes and the Chiefs beat the Browns in Week 1 by getting the ball to Hill and Kelce almost exclusively. Between them they caught 17 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns.

They had 10 catches for 173 yards and a Kelce touchdown against the Ravens, but Mahomes also threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Pringle and a 33-yard TD to Robinson.

"I've always been confident in those guys," Mahomes said. "I see the work that they put in and the talent that they have. Obviously, we have these great talents with Travis and Tyreek that are all-time talents and so we get them the ball and let them make plays. We got guys all across the board that can make plays on this team like the plays that Pringle made or the plays that D-Rob made and the plays that Mecole [Hardman] has made all season long or even the last few seasons. So, we have talent everywhere and it's about getting them the ball in space and letting them go.

"The best thing about this team is everybody enjoys everybody else's success. If you look at plays like the Pringle touchdown, Tyreek's been in double coverage the entire game and hasn't been getting the ball as much as usual and he's down there making the block to get him into the end zone. That just speaks to the type of guys we have in this locker room. It's not about who gets the stats, it's about finding a way to win the football game.”

After Hill, Hardman and Robinson have played the most snaps among the wide receivers this year, followed by Pringle. Wide receivers coach Joe Bleymaier suggested the current playing rotation would continue.

"I think you would say a committee," he said. "They all have their own individual flair in how they prefer to get open or run a route against certain coverage. We kind of preview during the week [in practice] whose type of route preference or receiving style would be best at a certain spot and they just put them in where they'll have the most success."

The Chiefs receivers other than Hill have had their big moments. Hardman was the second-leading Chiefs receiver last week against the Ravens with five catches. He has delivered many big plays for the Chiefs since arriving in 2019, including 14 receptions of 25 yards or more. Robinson had one of the best receiving games in Chiefs history in 2019 against the Raiders with 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Pringle's contributions have been more muted. He doesn't generally play as much as the others from the main group. But he's delivered big plays before.

"He's been doing good all the way through camp," coach Andy Reid said. "He's stayed healthy here -- knock on wood there. He's done a nice job with that and worked hard to get the opportunities that he's had. So I think the more he plays, the better he'll be. He'll just keep growing there.”

Mahomes said, "He's obviously a very physical receiver. I mean you see how he does on special teams and things like that, he makes those tough catches. ... He's fast, he can go, and he can run when he's in space. He's come along a lot these last few years of learning the offense and getting himself a role in this offense. Now he'll get more and more opportunities, I'm sure he'll make more and more plays."