KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Chris Jones, DT, fourth NFL season: We love you, Pro Bowl selection process, but sometimes you operate like a drunken uncle tipping over at the Christmas dinner table. Jones was snubbed despite finishing third league-wide behind only Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt with 15.5 sacks. The behemoth also earned second-team All-Pro honors, November’s AFC Defensive Player of the Month and the fifth-highest mark by Pro Football Focus at his position. After sitting out voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamp in search of a new deal, Jones looms as the centerpiece for a revamped Chiefs defense that needs him to double his efforts in 2019.
Starters listed in bold.
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs—23 years, nine months
History suggests Mahomes will be better this season than in his MVP 2018 season, and better again in 2020, but it’s hard to envision much room for improvement. He lit the league on fire in 2018. However, he can still get even better not just mentally (where he’s already ahead of the curve and figures to start seeing things faster) but physically. Amazing as he was, Mahomes last season misfired on a handful of throws each game. That’s likely one reason he is working diligently on his footwork this summer.
With the future of Tyreek Hill in doubt, Mahomes is obviously a strong regression candidate. Even still, Mahomes could come back down to earth a good way and still be the MVP of the league. With all the video game numbers he put up, Mahomes still had the second-most passes dropped (32) of any quarterback in the league last year.
Our offseason series continues with a look at one of the most exciting games of the 2018 regular season.
The Heir to the Throne
He’s still in the league?!?!: 8.0
Shared Memory: 6.0
Imagine for a moment that, in an affront to everything good and holy, Patrick Mahomes II is forced to leave the field in Week 1 and Chad effin’ Henne runs out to pilot Kansas City’s juggernaut offense. Roughly 25 million Americans would tell-ask (when you tell someone something in the form of a question to not sound like a know-it-all) the person next to them, “Chad Henne! He played at Michigan, right?” (Yes, he did.) Less memorable but perhaps more relevant is he lost his last starting job to Blake Bortles.
As general managers in other sports have risen to celebrity status—like Theo Epstein in MLB and Daryl Morey in the NBA—NFL GMs have remained generally anonymous, especially when compared to the league’s head coaches. This change in power structure largely stems from the outsize impact a combination head coach–play caller like Reid, Payton, and McVay can have on an organization, and that creates a sort of mythos around the job.
Around the league
Video of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throwing with wide receiver Josh Gordon on Wednesday served as a reminder that Gordon’s rights remain with New England and that there have been reports indicating he could return to the team this season.
There’s been no word of any reinstatement application at this point and the league had little to say on the matter Wednesday.
Less than a week after being waived by the Detroit Lions following a voided trade with the New England Patriots, the tight end was released Wednesday by the Green Bay Packers after failing a physical.
“I certainly don’t pay a whole lot of attention to it,” Jones said. “You’re aware of it. I’m focused on what we’re doing here and focused on trying to practice as well as I could these past six weeks and show some progress over these six weeks.”
“I’m excited, I really am excited in what we have,” Roethlisberger told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. “We put a lot of work in, that’s what it’s going to take, it’s going to take a team effort. We’re all going to give everything we have and see where it goes. We can’t predict the future, but we can predict we’re going to give everything we have.”
Officials in pro sports often express gratitude for the safety net that video review can provide, but a growing legion of sports participants frets about its impact on expectations and wonders if it has helped fuel the toxic environments found at youth and amateur sporting events.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
One of the final plays in the game is being shown as an example of how pass interference rules will change in 2019
Our in-house injury expert, Aaron Borgmann, checks in to provide some insight ahead of Chiefs camp in a few weeks.
In a Tuesday article, the former NFL star ranked the Chiefs’ starting running back a bit... low.
The Chiefs quarterback will have an opportunity to take home one of the top individual honors at ESPN’s yearly award show.
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