Overall grade: B-minus. The Chiefs might have bolstered their offense by signing wide receiver Sammy Watkins, but defense is where they really needed help. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens and nose tackle Xavier Williams fill a couple of holes, but the secondary still needs some work, even after signing one cornerback, David Amerson, and trading for another, Kendall Fuller.
“I love the Allen Robinson signing,” Schein wrote. “He's a legit No. 1 wideout—and a great teammate. But the Bears weren't satisfied with just adding Robinson to their pass-catching group—they also went out and got a speed burner (Taylor Gabriel) and a move tight end (Trey Burton). These moves not only significantly help Trubisky, but they'll give Jordan Howard room to operate in the ground game. I think he can go for 1,300 yards this season. And then there's Tarik Cohen, the explosive, versatile back who compares himself to Tyreek Hill. Remember what Nagy did with Hill in K.C.?”
Burton came to Pace’s mind in that initial conversation as Nagy described how he used Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, a three-time Pro Bowler who averaged six touchdowns and 1,082 yards over the last two seasons. The U tight end, Nagy explained, is easy to design plays for if he has the right combination of size and speed.
“It’s about mismatches,” Nagy told reporters Tuesday. “So if you get a small nickel (cornerback) on him and they want to play nickel, he can use his size to be able to body him up. If they want to put a bigger guy on him, we can use his speed.”
General manager John Dorsey has a history of finding running backs lower in the draft. He selected Kareem Hunt (Willoughby South High, Toledo) in the third round last season. That was when Dorsey was the general manager in Kansas City. Hunt rushed for 1,327 yards and also caught 53 passes.
“The only person I can think of that’s comparable physically is Khalil Mack,” says Whigham, who has trained plenty of studs, including Raiders DE Bruce Irvin, Chiefs DE Justin Houston and Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey. “Khalil and Saquon are my 1a. and 1b. These two guys are outliers. They’re freaks. It’s those two and then probably (Titans RB) Derrick Henry, another freak. But with Khalil, we knew he was the No. 1 overall pick. We knew he was going to be special. And it’s the same with Saquon. You’ve got a generational talent.”
Around the league
The veteran quarterback signed Sunday with the Chargers to back up Philip Rivers, according to multiple reports. Smith spent his first four seasons with the Jets and one with the Giants.
The dumping of King comes as a surprise. A Pro Bowl alternate last season and a second-team All-Pro in 2016, the undrafted punter has established himself as one of the league's young stars at his position.
The reason the Oakland Raiders cut Marquette King last week was because new head coach Jon Gruden had personality issues with the punter, according to multiple reports.
"You don't quit on talent."
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman might've echoed the words of his mentor, Ernie Accorsi, in response to a question from NFL Network's Kimberly Jones regarding Odell Beckham Jr.'s status on the team, but it appears to me that he could be on the verge of breaking up with his best player prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. Reports from the Annual League Meeting suggest the Giants aren't actively shopping the three-time Pro Bowler, but they are certainly keeping the phone lines open in case they are "blown away" by a proposal from a team hoping to acquire the star receiver.
"I never missed a game. Never missed practice or anything like that. Would we have won if I played? Probably. Maybe. I'm not sure," Butler, the cornerback infamously benched before New England's 41-33 loss to the Eagles, said during an episode of SI: Under the Cover, via NESN.
"I would say we were short about one or two plays," Butler added, "and I saw a couple plays out there I could have made."
If it's not clear already, this makes the game safer. Maybe you need more reasons. Here's a simple one: if you enjoy football, you should like this. If you enjoy the sport and all that comes with it, the Sunday game watches, the tailgates, the fantasy teams, you should like this rule. This is a major start toward the game sustaining its place in society. If you yearn for more violence, watch boxing. Then read about boxing's history, how it used to be the top sport in the country and how it faded to the background. You don't want that for football and that's another reason you should like this rule.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed quarterback Matt McGloin and wide receiver Nelson Spruce, the team announced late Friday afternoon.
“They played their starters, Denver did, their starting defense, and I went into that game feeling like we could score any time and once we got in there I felt the same thing. [Mahomes] gave you that confidence and he made some plays. You saw him do these no-look throws that he does in practice and you go, ‘Ah. It’s practice.’ He starts doing those in the game, I said, ‘Whoa, OK. That’s something special.’”
The version of Witzmann we saw in 2017 isn’t a guy I’d call an average starter. He’s below average in my opinion. However, he’s closer than I thought he would be. The narrative that he’s terrible just doesn’t check out on film. He’s not terrible. He’s just not good. Not a ringing endorsement, but not a condemnation either. I could see it going either way with Witzmann if they start him in 2018. If what we saw in 2017 was the floor, then he shouldn’t drag the offense down much.