Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid announced on Thursday that wide receiver Donnie Avery is out for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. Avery suffered a groin injury on Monday against the New England Patriots, and it has since been diagnosed as a sports hernia. He will undergo surgery, and likely miss several weeks.
His absence means the Chiefs will look down their depth chart to replace Avery, who has been the Chiefs No. 2 pass catcher this season. The first name that comes to mind is former 49er A.J. Jenkins. His time in San Francisco was pretty much a disaster, and he has not really done a whole lot since in Kansas City. In 20 games with the Chiefs, Jenkins has 12 receptions for 146 yards. He had three catches of 20+ yards last season, but really did not do much else.
Andy Reid and Alex Smith both weighed in on Jenkins in Kansas City, but really did not provide a lot of much:
On A.J. Jenkins:
Yea, A.J.'s done a nice job for us. He does a whole lot of things for us, a lot of different areas. And so he was a welcomed addition.
On Jenkins play in playoff where he looked like No. 1 option and confidence to go his way:
He just goes about his job the right away, and most of all, he has the confidence of the quarterback, who inevitably has the ball in his hands last. That's important.
He's doing well. A.J.'s doing great. Working hard, he's developed a lot over the last year here in the system. So, excited for him.
Some other options at wide receiver are Frankie Hammond and Junior Hemingway, but in reality, it does not matter. Without Avery, Alex Smith will focus on Travis Kelce, Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. Knile Davis will get some work as well, but it comes down to that trio.
Arrowhead Pride pointed out how this takes away the Chiefs most significant deep threat. Kelce, Bowe and Charles are serious playmakers, but they are guys that will likely stay in front of the 49ers defense, for the most part. I have to think we see the 49ers spend a sizable chunk of the game in their base defense, similar to last week. The 49ers will go nickel as needed, but given the lack of additional play-makers, I think we see Vic Fangio keep things fairly basic.
If the Chiefs are left to rely on that trio of weapons, do we see Michael Wilhoite or Patrick Willis get a little help in covering Kelce and/or Charles? Or do the 49ers play it pretty straight up and dare Smith to try and take advantage of one-on-one matchups?