Speed ​​is the ‘easy answer’ when describing Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs Blog

November 10, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Between his many long touchdowns, his talk about running against Usain Bolt, and his attempt to break into the US Olympic team as a sprinter, it’s easy to know Tyreek Hill just for his world-class speed.

Hill is fast. He ran a 4.24-second, 40-yard run as he prepared to enter the 2016 NFL draft, and in his seventh season with the Kansas City Chiefs, he doesn’t appear to have slowed down much, if at all.

But knowing Hill only for his speed before the Chiefs’ Sunday night showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) is only part of the story.

“It’s easy to tell his speed,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said when asked what qualities make Hill one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. “But that’s the easy answer.”

In fact, Hill’s game is about more than speed and more on the big plays.

Hill is second in the league in receptions (68) and fifth in receiving yards this season (772). He ranks ninth this season with an average gap above expectations of .20 seconds. At 5-foot-10, he doesn’t have a height advantage over most opponents, but he tends to gain a center advantage even if the closest defender is on top of him right away.

“He’s one of the best in the league on the line of scrimmage,” said ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen. “His lateral change of direction ability, his ability to ride a defensive back, allows him to enter the routes with more speed and run away from cover. He creates that instant separation and then you get into that immediate burst and then the long speed. , allowing you to create explosive plays.

“He’s also excellent after the catch. His catching and running ability is close to the top of the league. That’s why you see Kansas City throw so many fast, so many under and use him on wide receiver screens. All of that allows him to play on your ability to attack open grass. “

Chiefs wide receivers coach Joe Bleymaier said: “He doesn’t allow the defender to divert him or force him anywhere he doesn’t want to go.”

Hill also appears to be in and out of his breaks on his passing routes at or near maximum speed. It doesn’t seem to slow down when making a cut.

“When you see him syncing his hips and transitioning in and out of breaks, it’s amazing to see him,” Bieniemy said. “Sometimes you look at it and ask yourself, ‘How did he come out of that?’ Those are the things he works on. “

Since joining the Chiefs, Hill has shown a talent for making plays on the field, even when he’s been well covered. In those cases, he has adapted better to the ball than the defensive back in his area.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has frequently cited this ability as one of Hill’s best, saying he would make an excellent baseball center fielder.

“What amazes me the most is that he’s fast and fast, but it’s his endurance while he’s fast and fast,” Reid said. “Normally, you don’t see that. I tell him he has this nickname of ‘Cheetah’, but he’s not really a cheetah because normally they are a blast and then they rest for about eight hours. That is not this guy. He can go on, over and over. time. It’s quite surprising.

“It has a unique combination [of skills]. “

Bowen said, “It doesn’t slow down when the ball is in the air. There are three guys that fit into that group. It’s Tyreek Hill, it’s Antonio Brown, and it’s DeSean Jackson. They’re faster when the ball is in the air. Because they don’t break. the step. They have a great ability to track the ball. “

Hill played a lot as a running back in college and looks like one when he runs with the ball after the catch. His speed and speed help, but he also often makes good decisions about where to go with the ball.

“That’s why you see him reverse the ball and squirt, because he has great vision,” Bowen said. “He becomes a running back after the catch and that’s a special trait that a wide receiver must have. There aren’t many wide receivers who have it.”

Hill said his understanding of defenses and their coverage has helped him grow as a receiver since he joined the Chiefs in 2016. The wide receivers coach at the time was David Culley, now the head coach of the Houston Texans.

Culley taught Hill to see the entire high school before center and not just the cornerback who covered him.

“He always told me good [receivers]They see a safety, but the greats, they see the whole field, like the corners and the safes, “Hill said.” I always try to keep that in my mind when lining up. I always try to see what the other corner and the two safes are doing before lining up. “

Hill’s signature plays are the ones that go for big yards, but the Chiefs’ offensive slump has affected him as much as anyone. He has seven receptions this season of 20 or more yards, all in the first four games of the season. He had 10 such receptions in nine games last year.

But Bowen said he doesn’t see a player on the decline when he watches the 2021 version of Hill.

“I know he’s had a couple of knockdowns that led to interceptions. But in terms of production and his impact on the overall game and the constant conflict that he places on defense, there hasn’t been any knockdown in his game. It’s still one. of the best.”

Most likely, Hill’s decline in numbers is a symptom of a bigger problem with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the offense. For the Chiefs and safety Tyrann Mathieu, he’s still one of the best.

“Most of the players are competitive, but he has competitive greatness,” said Mathieu. “What I mean by that is that in difficult situations, critical moments, only a few people can make certain plays. He is one of those players.

“The only way you can cover him is by having that competitive greatness yourself. You have to know that the ball is getting to him and in your mind you think you can make the play. You just have to match his energy, his attitude and that’s difficult. to do. It’s on another level most of the time. “