History says the Patriots would still be formidable when forced to play their backup QB, whether it’s Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham or somebody else.
The same cannot be said for other elite teams in the AFC. Imagine Andy Reid trying to run his offense with Chad Henne instead of Patrick Mahomes, or Bill O’Brien attempting devise a winning game plan around A.J. McCarron rather than Deshaun Watson. It’s hard to fathom they would achieve much success.
Raiders vs. Chiefs
Quarterback: This one doesn’t require a whole lot of analysis. Mahomes is the reigning NFL MVP, fresh off a season in which he threw for 5,907 yards and 50 touchdowns while leading the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game. While Carr has the talent to put up MVP-caliber numbers, it’s been a few years since he showcased that level of ability. Edge: Chiefs
Running backs: Without Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs’ explosiveness took a hit toward the end of the NFL season. While Damien Williams filled in admirably after Hunt was released, it’s unclear if he can be that effective over the course of a 16-game season.
The Raiders’ running game was atrocious in 2018. The Silver and Black ranked 25th in the NFL with 1,628 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per rush, good for 21st in the league. Drafting Jacobs should give the Raiders a dynamic threat out of the backfield, but the success of the running game will be determined by the improvement of the offensive line and whether or not the downfield passing game is a credible threat. Edge: Chiefs
The Buffalo Bills finished 31st in the NFL in passing yards in 2018 and haven’t had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since Sammy Watkins in 2015.
Second-year quarterback Josh Allen didn’t have a lot to work with at wide receiver last season so general manager Brandon Beane addressed the position heavily in free agency. He gave former Baltimore receiver John Brown a three-year, $27 million ($11.7 million guaranteed) contract and slot standout Cole Beasley a four-year, $29 million ($14.4 million guaranteed) contract to bolster the unit.
It began with a bet.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ hairstyle that was the inspiration for Halloween costumes last year wasn’t planned.
Mahomes revealed that tidbit during a video that showed how he prepared for last week’s ESPY ceremony in California. While getting his hair cut, Mahomes said he had grown it out as a bet with a friend.
One way drafters could have recognized Patrick Mahomes’ upside last season was a popular analytical method of analyzing the relationship between the Average Draft Position of quarterbacks and the skill position players around them to find inefficiencies in the market.
Mahomes was leading an offense that featured Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt as top-25 draft picks, but he was just the 15th quarterback selected, per MyFantasyLeague ADP.
Damien Williams (KC)
Overall (ADP 23), RB13
“Williams at 23rd overall is the ultimate boom/bust selection in this year’s draft in my opinion. We all know what the starting RB in an Andy Reid offense is capable of, but with only a small sample size of productivity from Williams, this feels too rich for me. There are plenty of more established RBs you can get later with similar upside.”
If you believe the talk around the water cooler, Sean Lee is going to be the Dallas Cowboys starting strong side (SAM) linebacker in 2019.
On paper this looks like a brilliant move. It puts the Cowboys best three linebackers (Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee) on the field the same time when they are in their base defense. It should also help “General Lee” healthwise since the SAM LB over the last three years (Damien Wilson) never played more than 30% of the defensive snaps.
Several new faces must step up to replace edge rusher Frank Clark, creating Seattle’s biggest question mark.
During the four weeks leading up to report day, we will be breaking down each of the Seahawks positional groups as we slowly creep towards the start of training camp.
Serving as Seattle’s biggest potential concern heading into 2019, let’s take a look at a revamped pass rush that will be aiming to remain potent without the services of departed star Frank Clark.
From a ticket to every home game to exclusive access to numerous special events and much more in between, the cards represent a truly unique experience for those that love the Chiefs more than ever before this season. Season Ticket Members were again given the opportunity to customize the name on their cards, allowing fans who share one single account – such as families or groups of friends - to each have their own personalized card.
After all, the commemorative cards – which are adorned by the likes of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce – provide an all-around experience tailored to each and every fan.
Analysis: Head coach Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs have a few factors working against them this season, the two main ones being the absence of deep threat wide receiver Tyreek Hill from the roster due to suspension for off the field behavior and facing the fifth toughest schedule in the league.
Of course, the factors working in favor of the Chiefs in 2019 are many, including having a young phenom at quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and having one of the best tight ends in the league in Travis Kelce.
Reid and Mahomes have only just gotten started, especially on offense, and if general manager Brett Veach’s offseason tweaks to the defense (ranked 31st last season) help improve the squad at all, the Chiefs are going to once again be one of the top AFC teams to beat for teams hoping to get to the Super Bowl.
Around the league
1) Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
Beckham in 2018 (with Giants): 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns (12 games).
Landry in 2018: 81 receptions for 976 yards and four touchdowns.
The Browns have been the darlings of the offseason, and the reunion of Beckham and Landry is at the center of their moment. With the former LSU teammates in the same locker room again, the Browns boast arguably the best slot receiver in the game in Landry and one of the top perimeter receivers in Beckham. Landry and Beckham are one of only three current WR duos to have each logged 100-catch seasons in their careers -- joining them are Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (I’ll get to them in a minute) and New England’s Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas. This pair brings more to the table than great hands, as they thrive off the line of scrimmage and create separation. According to Next Gen Stats, OBJ has averaged 2.6 yards of separation from the nearest defender against press coverage since 2016, the most in the NFL (among those with a minimum of 50 press targets), while Landry’s 2.3 yards of separation per press target ranks third. With precise route running, speed and Baker Mayfield’s quick release, this pair won’t waste any time racking up yardage for one of the most exciting offenses in the league.
Looming camp question: Are we about to witness Andrew Luck’s long-anticipated MVP campaign? Luck has been touted as the perfect quarterback specimen since the beginning of time -- or, at least, this decade. And while he’s made four Pro Bowls and guided the Colts to the playoffs four times over his seven NFL seasons, Luck has yet to completely take over the league in a way that felt almost inevitable when he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2012. Granted, lackluster supporting casts and injuries have been factors. But as we hurtle toward kickoff, the 2019 season feels like it could be a special one for the soon-to-be 30-year-old. Ballard has built a fortress around his franchise quarterback while also supplying him with diverse weaponry.
Reich is fresh off a debut season that started slow but ended with his Colts winning 10 of their last 12 games. And although a calf strain kept Luck off the field during offseason workouts, the Colts don’t seem too concerned. Most importantly, the Indy Star hasn’t made any recent updates to “Andrew Luck’s secret pain,” an exhaustive timeline of his multi-year shoulder issues. Is this the season we finally see peak Luck? If so, some shiny hardware -- of the individual and team sort -- could be in the offing.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
For the first time in my lifetime, the Kansas City Chiefs are preseason favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. OddsShark currently has them at +300 odds. The organization is clearly confident they can break through — and so are most fans. The built-up excitement will only grow stronger when training camp opens in just over a week.
While the hype is justified, the road to a championship berth will not be easy. There are plenty of threats to the Chiefs’ ultimate goal. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans are all legitimate adversaries for the Lamar Hunt trophy, but they will all take a back seat to the three other betting favorites behind Kansas City — and the Chiefs will take on all three of them during the regular season.
Known to some as Quarters — or to Nick Saban as “Box” or “Mod” — 4-read coverages share a lot of similarities with 2-read. The same idea — driving on out routes with unexpected receivers — is very important to the function of the coverage. 4-read is typically an early down or red zone coverage, and Steve Spagnuolo uses it frequently in those situations.
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Thank you for the warm welcome yesterday. You’re truly awesome.
Although an extended regular season seems inevitable, my first thought when reading the plan for an 18-game schedule with every player restricted to 16 games was that the person who had the initial idea should not be allowed anywhere near brainstorming sessions ever again. But let’s pretend that a schedule increase had to happen and for some reason Roger Goodell put Arrowhead Pride readers in charge. What format would you suggest?