Ukeme Eligwe, inside linebacker
With Reggie Ragland nursing a knee injury, Eligwe is next man up, and it looks like the Chiefs haven’t missed a beat. Eligwe played 65 snaps on defense and 211 on special teams as a rookie last season. He could be in store for more action with plays like his interception on Sunday and other pass breakups during drills.
“He’s done a really good job,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “It’s unfortunate we don’t get Reggie right away, but the plus side is some of these guys over guys can come in here and take advantage.”
“(I get) a lot of that, ‘Hey doc, can I get an autograph? Can you put MD on it? A lot like that,” he said after Sunday’s practice. “I think it’s my way to symbolize I’m a doctor. There’s been some discussion (about the jersey), but I think now that everything is over, it’s just a matter of going out there and being the best football player I can be, and if I can let them know I’m a doctor by putting MD, then good for me.
“I got a lot of support from fans in Kansas City and in Montreal and the rest of Canada. I’m proud of it. It’s a huge accomplishment for me. And it’s good to feel that everybody is supporting what I’ve been trying to do and respect it.”
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
“You want to be able to use the arm and take the deep shots, but at the same time, you want to keep the efficiency this offense has,” Mahomes said, per USA Today’s Lindsay H. Jones. “It was one of the most efficient offenses in the league last year, and we want to keep building and get better every single year.”
Now, mere months later, the words “Super Bowl” seem to be on the lips of almost every defensive player who steps in front of a microphone at training camp. It’s still not clear what sort of identity this defense will ultimately take on. After all, they’ve had pads on for less than one week. But the collective optimism remains palpable.
SportsLine’s fantasy football rankings 2018 have Mahomes (eighth-round ADP) ranked similarly to established quarterbacks like Matt Ryan (early eighth round) and Andrew Luck (seventh). Mahomes comes at a discount and is one of the top 2018 fantasy football breakouts to target in drafts.
Around the league
Behind Antonio Brown on Pittsburgh’s WR depth chart is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who ripped the No. 2 role away from now-Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant last season. After JuJu, it’s a mixed bag; Eli Rogers, Darrius Heyward-Bey and rookie James Washington figure to see the most snaps. If Bryant were to join the Steelers, perhaps he could connect with and mentor Washington, a fellow Oklahoma State Cowboy legend.
“I can’t say enough good things. I can’t believe Green Bay let him go, but I’m glad he’s here,” Oakland quarterback Derek Carr told the East Bay Times.
“I did speak with him when I got the job,” Gruden said on Fox Sports Radio. “When I first got hired, I spoke with him.”
However, Gruden did admit that he has not talked to Mack since.
”He’s been a hard guy to get in contact with lately, for obvious reasons,” Gruden said. “This is a great football player, not only that, he’s a great guy. And everybody on our team respects him and loves him. We hope to get him in here soon.”
“We talked, and basically I told him -- it’s unprecedented that this ever happened -- bottom line, I told him we were disappointed because we were looking forward to honoring him,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker told NFL.com on Wednesday.
”He had come here, probably around April -- we have all the guys come in for orientation -- and he had come in to be at the Hall and show him what we were going to do and all that stuff, and he seemed to have a good time,” Baker said of Owens’ visit to Canton. “He streamed the thing out of Facebook Live, I believe, the entire time.”
NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala reported Sunday that left guard Ramon Foster will avoid surgery on the hyperextended knee he suffered in Saturday’s practice. The 32-year-old endured no ligament damage, per Kinkhabwala, but should miss four to five weeks in recovery.
The conditioning test is a series of runs players must complete under certain times, according to their positions. Individual coaches can alter the rules, requirements, and enforcements as they see fit, but generally passing the test is a prerequisite for participating in practices. For many players, especially the linemen, it looms in the mind as they get back to work after summer break.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
It was Padurday (Credit Matt Lane for that name) up in St. Joseph Saturday morning.
For the first time all offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs were geared up for some live football. Here were my observations from the first full padded practice.
The Kansas City Chiefs were able to get in a full, productive practice despite the majority of the session being covered in rain.
Here were my takeaways from both sides of the football.
On Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford told the Kansas City media that Justin Houston had finally returned to 2014 form. In 2014, Houston racked up 22 sacks, coming within a half-sack of the all-time single-season league record.
On Sunday, Houston confirmed Ford’s words.
“I can feel it,” Houston said. “When you have surgery and the surgery I had on my knee, it takes time. As much as you want to be ready, it still just takes time to get your pop back and get where you want to be at. So I think I’m there, and I’m beyond there right now. I just feel great to be back in that feeling.”
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