2 Travis Kelce
Kelce is a fantastic athlete who is always in the right position, and it speaks volumes about his game that Andy Reid isn’t afraid to split him out wide against a cornerback. The seventh-year veteran enjoys a size advantage against just about everyone he lines up against and more often than not gets separation at the top of his route. As one of two tight ends to post at least 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons ( Greg Olsen did so in 2014-16), Kelce will be as dangerous as ever, especially with reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill back on the field in 2019.
36 Chris Jones
Jones teamed with Dee Ford to form one of the best pass rushes in the league in 2018 -- at least in terms of sack numbers. The Chiefs’ 52.0 sacks on the year was tied for most in the NFL, and Jones accounted for a team-high 15.5 of them. His career total before last season was 8.5. Despite the lower numbers early in his career, Jones has been elite since the Chiefs drafted him 37th overall in 2016. He has won 15.7 percent of his pass rushes over the last three years, which ranks fourth behind only Aaron Donald, Fletcher Cox and Geno Atkins. Ever heard of them? Jones should be an elite defensive end for a while.
The pair had a close relationship before the tumor and the surgeries, but that ordeal formed an unbreakable bond between mother and son.
“That’s when he became a mama’s boy,” Danyell said. “Because he was never a mama’s boy. He was always up under his daddy. He was a daddy’s boy 24/7. I think after that, that’s when he really became a mama’s boy.”
It would seem difficult to improve on an NFL MVP season, but Mahomes said throughout offseason workouts that improving his footwork was the priority. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said his quarterback did his homework.
“That’s been a huge focus,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously just making sure he maintains some type of consistency in the pocket with his feet. And that’s the thing that I’ve seen, not just over the past two days but also too with him participating in rookie training camp.
Another bust SportsLine’s Fantasy football rankings 2019 have identified: Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The former first-round pick had 40 catches for 519 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games last year and looked poised for a bigger role with Tyreek Hill facing a potential suspension. However, the NFL announced that Hill wouldn’t be suspended, which officially limits Watkins’ potential target share.
Despite his reputation as a deep threat, the Chiefs didn’t use Watkins in that role very often. In fact, he was 94th in the NFL in average target distance (8.1 yards) last season and had a contested catch rate of just 14.3 percent. With plenty of mouths to feed in Kansas City’s high-flying attack, Watkins lacks a clear path to Fantasy relevancy. He’s going in the sixth round according to the latest 2019 Fantasy football ADP data, but there are better values available like Christian Kirk and Will Fuller, who are being selected full rounds later on average.
“I think he’s just a calming influence for them,” Gruden said of Smith. “He’s very supportive for each individual guy, he’ll get on them when he needs to get on them a little bit, in a fun-loving kind of way but he’s just a great presence to have in the quarterback room and we obviously welcome it whenever he wants to come in here.”
Smith was praised for his work in 2017 with then-rookie Patrick Mahomes, even though Smith was helping Mahomes take Smith’s job. He can make similar contributions to Washington’s quarterbacks, especially rookie Dwayne Haskins. Even if Haskins’ progress ensures that Smith will never play for Washington again.
Peterson compared him to one of the more popular and impactful players the Cardinals have had in a few years — defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
It is because of Murphy’s position flexibility.
“They’ve got him playing all over the place,” Peterson told reporters of Murphy, noting the rookie is making the adjustment of playing more than one spot. “He’s not really sold on one position yet, but he can play it all. (He is) a great asset for us because he is very interchangeable. He reminds me a lot of Tyrann, but able to play corner instead of safety.”
Scandrick spent last season in Kansas City where he suited up for 15 games (seven starts) and accumulated 44 tackles and an interception. He played 67 percent of the snaps on defense and lined up both in the slot and on the outside. Prior to signing with the Chiefs, Scandrick was with Washington but was released during in Training Camp.
With the NFL season fast approaching, sportsbooks have posted all sorts of futures prices involving individual players.
Who’s going to win the Most Valuable Player award? The Westgate in Las Vegas opened with Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs at the early favorite at 4/1 (risk $100 to win $400).
Who will throw for the most passing yards? William Hill has Mahomes and Matt Ryan of the Falcons each at 6/1 atop the board.
Around the league
An MRI revealed that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has torn ligaments in his left ankle that are likely to sideline him six to eight weeks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Green is not expected to be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 at Seattle.
He was carted off the field Saturday during the Bengals’ first training camp practice of the season at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium.
After being placed on the non-football injury list to begin training camp, Antonio Brown is back. The receiver passed his physical and is cleared to practice Sunday, a team official told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The superstar wideout was surprisingly added to the NFI list Friday but there were no details on what exactly Brown had been dealing with.
To add to the confusion, Brown made headlines -- as he tends to do on an almost daily basis -- when he arrived to Day 1 of Raiders camp in a hot air balloon.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Kansas City Chiefs safety Jordan Lucas and starting running back Damien Williams both left practice early due to hamstring issues on Sunday, per the Chiefs’ public relations staff.
According to our in-house injury expert, Aaron Borgmann, recovery time depends on the severity of each hamstring issue, ranging from a few days to a week or more.
Borgmann notes this is the first Andy Reid training camp for Lucas, who the Chiefs acquired in late August last year, and the first Reid camp with starting RB reps for Williams. Reid has been known to run a more exhausting training camp than other coaches in the league.
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