Let’s also be clear: the third preseason game is the only one that even smells a little like a real game would smell.
It’s been clear through three quarters who Mahomes is looking for -- Hill, Kelce and Kareem Hunt. Sammy Watkins has been an afterthought, and when they’ve tried to force it to Watkins, the results have been borderline disastrous.
“My car was stolen this afternoon. So if you see a white SUV with red CHIEFS Texas license plate around Dallas say “Not today, Satan!” And report it!”
Tyreek Hill: The Chiefs receiver broke out last season, catching 75 passes for 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns. With the strong-armed Pat Mahomes taking over the starting quarterback job, Friday’s 28-14 Kansas City victory flashed a glimpse of what Mahomes can do with Hill — one of the fastest players in the NFL — at his disposal on a 69-yard touchdown.
Salary efficiency index: -35.4
Career salary: $10,551,152
Career adj. salary: $11,195,594
Years in NFL: 1
Why he’s ranked here: Mahomes spent his rookie year as a backup while earning first-round money. We’ll see how cost-effective he becomes in 2018.
While we are watching the games, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes for the Kansas City Chiefs. They are on the forefront of a movement in athletic training and making history.
Done right, it’s a thing of beauty. Here’s new Chiefs nickel corner Kendall Fuller breaking up a pass on Falcons rookie Calvin Ridley in preseason action last week; Fuller initially turns outside but when Ridley breaks to the inside on a slant, he’s flexible enough to flip his hips and explosive enough to close the gap and break up the pass.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Patrick Mahomes throw heard around the league was a reminder how much fun this offense should be to watch. It should also be a reminder that Tyreek Hill, not Sammy Watkins, is likely to lead the Chiefs in receiving until proven otherwise. Hill has six grabs in the preseason, Watkins has zero.
The Chiefs’ signing of cornerback Orlando Scandrick after the veteran’s quick flame-out with the Redskins shows how shaky K.C.’s cornerback position stands. (This was true even before starter Steven Nelson suffered a concussion Friday.) ... Kansas City was missing four defensive starters in the second preseason game. The injuries to safety Eric Berry (heel) and both inside linebackers Anthony Hitchens (hamstring) and Reggie Ragland (knee swelling) are worth monitoring because they have such critical roles on this wait-and-see defense.
13. Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 12
If Kansas City’s second preseason game was any indication, it’s going to be an interesting season for the Chiefs.
There was a glimpse into just how explosive the Chiefs might be offensively, with Patrick Mahomes hitting Tyreek Hill for a long touchdown pass. Unfortunately, the Chiefs defense was as bad as that play was good, putting up zero resistance against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta starters.
These Chiefs, as presently constructed, are built to win shootouts. The offense is loaded with playmakers—Hill, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and now Sammy Watkins. The defense has Justin Houston, Eric Berry and…that’s about it.
Both of those players have struggled with injuries of late, and this was a bad defensive team with Marcus Peters a year ago.
If the Chiefs earn a repeat trip to the playoffs after winning the AFC West a year ago, it’s going to be on the back of the offense. Lots of 28-24 and 30-27 final scores.
These Chiefs aren’t stopping anyone, though. So that playoff berth is a toss-up.
Around the league
But right now, the ambiguity surrounding this Raiders team is creating a football Rorschach Test — come on down and project your baseless expectations onto the Silver and Black!
With September closing in, the NFL preseason hits its zenith with this week’s slate of starter-heavy games, affording players one more chance to vie for a No. 1 role.
Amid confusion and angst about the new helmet-contact rule, the NFL is having daily dialogue about the application in preseason games, league sources told ESPN. The league will also assemble an updated video tutorial that will be distributed to game officials, coaches and players once the final preseason games are played and in time for teams preparing for their regular-season openers, according to sources.
The Houston Texans went 4-12 last season and were one of the NFL’s worst teams. But coach Bill O’Brien went 9-7 in each of his first three years with the franchise, including two playoff appearances. And there’s every reason to think that the 2018 version of this team could not only be O’Brien’s best, but the AFC South champions and perhaps one of the league’s biggest surprises.
Unfortunately for these players, even their elite status does not give them the leverage in their “negotiation.” Rather, it is the team—the side having the existing contract to enforce—that ultimately holds the cards, despite the magnitude of these players taking a stand. Even the media has largely turned away from them in their plight, focusing on the many stories about players in camp.
“The NFL found evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors by Jimmy toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct. Our player’s behavior was inappropriate and wrong.
Chip Kelly’s return to the college ranks is exciting — the sport is better when better coaches are involved. But there are a lot of questions regarding what a Kelly offense looks like after his time in the pros and how his philosophy has shifted in the six years since he left Eugene. From my 2018 UCLA preview:
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Here’s the final reveal for our plans for Patrick Mahomes film analysis:
“The thing I mentioned to you during camp is that [Mahomes] doesn’t make the same mistake twice,” Reid explained. “That’s a positive thing — especially from a coach’s standpoint. You saw the throw he made to Kelce — same route that he threw to Kelce last week, and he overshot it a little bit. This one was right there. They worked on it between games, and it paid off for them right there.”
We learned Tuesday morning that preparation will begin without starting safety Eric Berry, who is still dealing with a sore heel.
According to reporting from NewsOK.com, court records show that Hill’s domestic violence case — for which he entered a guilty plea in August 2015 — was dismissed last week, now that Hill has completed his probation requirements.
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