2014 Chiefs Positional Review: the Tight Ends

Andy Reid introduced the three-tight end set as the football world met the dynamic Travis Kelce

The Kansas City Chiefs entered the 2014 season with many question marks surrounding their tight end position.

Anthony Fasano, the veteran who left the Miami Dolphins for the Chiefs, had an injury-ridden 2013 campaign in which he only played in nine games and was looking for a bounce-back year.

For Travis Kelce, "injury-ridden" when it came to 2013 was an understatement, as knee issues and resulting microfracture surgery in October prevented him from playing a single offensive snap.

And finally, whether or not the Chiefs could expect anything out of Demetrius Harris, the former college basketball player who had spent all of 2013 on the Chiefs practice squad, may have been the biggest question of all.

As the Chiefs would find out, the answer to all those questions was that all three would be pleasant surprises, and the unit on the field at the same time (13 personnel) would turn out to be one of the team's most interesting and finest offensive sets.

Highlights from the Kansas City Chiefs' tight ends in 2014.

"That formation, that personnel grouping has been good for us whether we put them in a wide bunch or keep them tight to the line of scrimmage," Doug Pederson said around Week 9. "It has been a good package for us and we are going to continue to grow that."

The set, run between five and 15 times a game from Week 3 forward, helped lead the Chiefs to five wins in six games, and as time went on, Pederson and head coach Andy Reid began to implement more and more plays into it.

That was until an unfortunate turn of events brought the momentum of the set to a screeching halt.

Demetrius Harris, who had played in 60 snaps on the year, broke his foot in warm-ups as the team prepared for Week 10 in Buffalo.

To help fill the void, the Chiefs experimented with Richard Gordon and Phillip Supernaw, but they would not pan out as viable replacements as they each garnered only 17 snaps a piece in their time with the Chiefs, and the set's use more or less dissipated.

Fasano and Kelce, who were already major players in the offense at the time of Harris' injury, continued in their elite level of play.

The tight end duo was the third best in the league in terms of yards receiving, only behind the top two tight ends of the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts by year's end.

Individually, Fasano caught 25 passes for 226 yards receiving and four touchdowns, while Kelce had 67 catches for 862 yards receiving and five touchdowns, team highs in all three categories.

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Kelce was also the Chiefs' second-best run blocker, only trumped by fullback Anthony Sherman, according to the football analytics website, Pro Football Focus.

His dynamic playmaking ability, combined with his charismatic personality, made him a must-see player every week, as fans continually wondered what they could expect next.

After the Chiefs' final game of the season, Kelce reflected on what in a way, had been his rookie season.

"Last year, I wasn't able to be accountable for these guys," he said. "This year I cherish so many memories with every single one of these guys in here.  We were a team as good as any team could possibly be as far as chemistry.

"Just coming out here and being able to play with the guys, instead of being in the locker room all the time it was a special season for me to go out here and fight for them."

Kelce, ever confident, stood at his locker knowing he led a tight end group in 2014 responsible for half of the team's touchdowns receiving.

The preseason question marks had been answered with an exclamation point.

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