“I didn’t think the pass protection was as bad as some people have said it was,” Mahomes said. “I was getting the ball out and was throwing the ball. I only took one sack and I stepped up into [Mitchell] Schwartz’s guy that he was blocking. Any time you can go out there and you can get the ball out of your hands, hopefully we can make some plays.”
The idea behind RPOs is simple: A quarterback goes into a play with the option to hand off or pass, and makes that determination after reading an opposing defender. More often than not last season, RPO-heavy NFL teams such as the Chiefs and Eagles read a defense’s backside linebacker and used quick, man-beating routes as a way to exploit him.
2017 record: 10-6
Post-draft ranking: 10
CB Tremon Smith. Sixth-round draft picks from smaller schools aren’t supposed to push for playing time so quickly. But Smith, from Central Arkansas, is getting a long look as a backup, in part because the depth chart is thin. He’s the fourth cornerback, and he’ll get some playing time if he stays in that spot. Smith is also working as the primary kick and punt returner, though Tyreek Hill will return punts when the regular season begins. -- Adam Teicher
Howard took a step backward during Year 2 as the Bears struggled to do much of anything offensively in the final season of the John Fox era. With former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy taking over, Howard should be able to do far better work within a much more advantageous system. He is not quite as good in the passing game as the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt, but he has the decisive, north-south running style that Hunt used to such great success last season. He’s going to be a foundational player for their offense, and when you’re a foundational running back in an Andy Reid-style offense, you have a monster year.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
With Alex Smith now in Washington, fantasy owners should expect a big year from Patrick Mahomes.
After all, the No. 10 overall pick in 2017 flashed potential when on the field for the Kansas City Chiefs. He didn’t receive ample opportunities, but the old running back adage that “opportunity equals production” should apply here.
Mahomes gets to hand the ball off to Kareem Hunt and dump off to him, one year removed from the running back hauling in 53 passes. He gets to pepper star tight end Travis Kelce, stretch the field with Tyreek Hill and throw to new arrival Sammy Watkins.
The Kansas City Chiefs are, year-after-year, one of the few bright spots in an AFC that boasts only a handful of contenders. They’ve been a model of stability, too, with the Alex Smith-Andy Reid pairing lasting for a long time, especially for the NFL.
The Chiefs have a good secondary coach in Emmitt Thomas and a few young players who are faster than Sorensen and Parker. But, with so much know-how stripped out of K.C.’s pass D, this game sets up well for Rivers and his pass-catchers.
Runner-Up: Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
Alvin Kamara earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and quickly became a fantasy football darling. Don’t overlook Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who led the league in rushing yards with 1,327 and logged more yards from scrimmage than the New Orleans Saints running back (1,782 to 1,554).
Hunt is also going into the 2018 campaign with a bigger burden. He’ll line up behind a first-year starter in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, which could put more pressure on the ground attack. Secondly, the University of Toledo product doesn’t share the backfield with a two-time 1,000-yard rusher. We could see him retain his rushing title this season.
The ADP consensus from picks 25 through 36 according to FantasyPros, which aggregates picks made on several fantasy football platforms, are:
28. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
29. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
“It’s the last day here in St. Joe,” Mahomes said. “Everybody’s excited to get out there and just have a great day. You get the rain, and you get a lot of great work in with the rain, and hopefully preparing yourself for whenever the season, you get a rain game.”
“I am fortunate to have met, worked with and become friends with Dave Price,” O’Callaghan told Outsports. “He was a great man and true professional who was there for me when I needed someone the most. I am forever grateful for everything he did for me.”
Around the NFL
Yeah, offense gets all the shine in today’s fantasy-obsessed world, but don’t overlook the importance of stout D. All four of last season’s Championship Sunday participants ranked in the top five in scoring defense: Minnesota (No. 1), Jacksonville (2), Philadelphia (4) and New England (5).
For years, we’ve been told that quarterbacks who played their college ball in the game’s most explosive offense couldn’t cut it in the pros. Tim Couch, the Kentucky product who was taken no. 1 overall in the 1999 draft, went on to have a dismal career; Brandon Weeden, the Oklahoma State star who was a 2012 first-round pick, quickly proved he was better suited to be a backup than a starter; Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M Heisman Trophy winner who became a 2014 first-rounder, failed out of the league within two years.
The Washington Redskins released the veteran cornerback, coach Jay Gruden told reporters Tuesday morning. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo first reported the news. Scandrick is already drawing interest in the free agent market, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports:
Tony Dungy says the issue of NFL players protesting during the national anthem has been a divisive topic, but he hopes both sides can come together by listening to why players care enough to choose to protest.
Not all training camp fights are created equal, and often devolve into just a minor scuffle. But there are pieces of every training camp fight that can be appreciated for what they bring to the table given the various circumstances.
While the defense has been a question mark since Ryan Shazier’s tragic injury, the Steelers have enough firepower to run away with the AFC North again.
Jarvis Landry has been all-in on the Browns since being traded to Cleveland in March, and he’s been less than kind to the team that drafted him. Landry praised new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbook, while simultaneously implying that the Dolphins never used him correctly.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
According to a report from NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Orlando Scandrick will be in Kansas City Tuesday night to talk to the Chiefs.
As we get closer and closer to the regular season, the AP Nerd Squad (Craig Stout, Matt Lane and myself) are going to be revealing pieces of our plans for regular season content. We have a lot of big ideas for what film analysis this season will look like at Arrowhead Pride. This is one of them.
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