KC Chiefs WR Coach Connor Embree on WR Kadarius Toney’s Drops and Struggles

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney has had a season to forget. In the first game of the NFL season, a Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions, Toney had one of the most disastrous games for a wide receiver in modern NFL history. In the Chiefs’ loss to the Buffalo Bills, Toney lined up offsides, ultimately negating a long touchdown that would have given the Chiefs the lead late in the game. Last week, against the New England Patriots, Toney had another pass hit him in the hands before the ball popped up into the air to be intercepted, similar to his worst Week 1 lowlight.

Still, as the Chiefs search for stability at wide receiver, Toney’s role has persisted. Though he did not practice on Thursday or Friday due to a hip injury, he was a topic of conversation with Chiefs wide receivers coach Connor Embree.

Embree, in his first year as a positional coach and his fifth season with the Chiefs, was first asked what he’s seen from Toney over the last few weeks, both in his level of confidence and in how the team is coaching him.

“He’s been doing good, and that’s one thing I love about KT – he doesn’t let all the noise or any of that get to him,” Embree said. “He’s still the same person every day, and we love that about him and he’s working hard. He’s still working hard, doing everything he’s supposed to do, and you know, that’s him, so we like that.”

Asked why Toney hasn’t lived up to expectations for the Chiefs this year, Embree pushed back on the idea of Toney missing the mark, noting that his mistakes have been magnified by important game circumstances.

“I wouldn’t say it’s like he hasn’t lived up to the expectations,” Embree said. “There’ve just been a couple plays throughout the season that, it just happened to be a big situation or something and he might have had an error, so I think it looks worse than his actual season as a whole, ’cause when I grade him out in games and stuff, it’s not like he’s getting an F grade every game, so I think it’s more just kind of situational. When it happened, where it happened, that type of stuff.”

Embree was then asked about the process, as a coach, for figuring out why players may struggle with drops and how he goes about figuring out how to help Toney improve in that regard.

“That’s probably the hardest thing, or the thing that keeps coaches up the most. You hear it all the time, people talk about, ‘you remember the losses more than the wins,’ so same type of thing. I don’t think you can just point to one thing of why he’s doing this or why it’s happening, it’s not from a lack of effort. I think more of it is from – he’s trying to make plays. He’s trying to catch the ball or move before he has the ball. It’s not anything other than that, him out there trying to make plays for our team. Again, it’s not from the lack of effort or the lack of want-to.”