KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t sign veteran wide receiver Jason Avant at this point in the season so he could stand around on the sideline during Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Particularly with it looking like Junior Hemingway will miss the game because of a concussion, the Chiefs intend to get some work out of Avant.
But offensive coordinator Doug Pederson sounded a note of caution this week with regard to just how much the Chiefs have a right to expect from Avant. Avant did play for Andy Reid for several seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, so his knowledge of what Reid wants is better than that of an average guy who just walked in off the street.
“The biggest thing for Jason is that he’s two years removed from this system," Pederson said. “We can’t overload him mentally. We’ve got to be able to give him a handful of plays that he can go execute. We’re always talking about playing fast. That’s what we’re talking about. So we’ve got to be careful how many plays we give him.
“You can’t throw the whole thing at him, obviously, but give him those five, six, seven, 10 routes, whatever they are, by the end of the week."
Another issue is that until Avant signed with the Chiefs last week, he and quarterback Alex Smith were strangers. They had never played together, so they worked this week to resolve some of the inevitable timing problems that arise in these situations.
“Is there going to be a little bit of timing (problems)? Probably," Pederson said. “You can’t do it in four days. You probably can’t do it in eight days. It’s going to take a little time.
“(It takes) longer than seven days or three or four practices. That’s why (the Chiefs can only give Avant) a certain number of routes than we can focus on in practice and carry over to the game."
Otherwise, the Chiefs are eager to see if Avant can fortify what has been the least productive group of wide receivers in the NFL.
“He was a guy good at getting in and out of breaks," said Pederson, an assistant coach for the Eagles for part of Avant’s time there. “He’s good at the top of routes and creating separation for himself. He may not be the fastest guy like a Donnie Avery, where he’ll run past some people. But we didn’t ask him to do that in Philly.
“Jason is a smart guy. He’s a veteran in this league. He knows how to play. He’ll be fine."