Addition of veteran TE could be big for Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This week's signing of veteran tight end Richard Gordon seemed like a minor transaction at the time for the Kansas City Chiefs, and it might turn out to be just that. Gordon is a journeyman who was out there for any interested team when he joined the Chiefs.

But the addition of Gordon could permit the Chiefs to get back to those three-tight end formations they used so frequently and with so such success the first half of the season.

Through the first eight games, the Chiefs went with three tight ends on 56 plays, more than all but three other teams. Quarterback Alex Smith on those 56 plays completed 22-of-25 passes. That's an 88-percent completion rate. Those passes had a per-attempt average of 8.6 yards, and four of them went for touchdowns. Those numbers are well beyond what Smith does when throwing the ball with other personnel groupings.

The Chiefs were also able to run the ball for a healthy 4.4-yard-per-carry average with three tight ends on the field.

Then on Nov. 9 in Buffalo, Demetrius Harris broke his foot in pregame warmups, ending his season. Anthony Fasano bruised his knee and his playing time dropped in that game as well as the next two.

So the Chiefs had to mostly get away from those three tight-end formations. They've utilized them three times in the four games since. The Chiefs signed Phillip Supernaw to replace Harris, but it became apparent quickly that he didn't have what the Chiefs were looking for and has since been released. The Chiefs used fullback Anthony Sherman some at the position in recent weeks, but at 5-10 he's nobody's idea of a true tight end.

But the Chiefs still have Travis Kelce, Fasano is making progress toward returning to his role as the starter, and now they added Gordon. He went to camp with the Chiefs and played well but was squeezed out of a roster spot because they had three tight ends they liked better.

So it wouldn't be a surprise to see Gordon get some work, at the same time as Kelce and Fasano in Sunday's game against the Cardinals in Arizona.

"It will allow us to get back to a three tight-end set a little bit,'' offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "The more he gets comfortable and the more he hears our offense again, the more we can get him in the ball game.''