“He’s probably your adopted son around here. ... He’s one of the best things to happen in the NFL in a long time,” Romo said. “I mean that for multiple reasons. One, I think everyone can see his talent, his ability. It’s rare, it really is special. But also, just him as a person, and a kid. Your adopted son, you raised him correctly. He really is a very genuine, nice kid.”
6 Chris Jones
Jones couldn’t be more opposite physically from Aaron Donald, but the 6-6, 310-pound defensive tackle was nearly as productive in 2018. The fourth-year Chief uses athleticism and power to create a fast and steady leg drive to power through blockers -- oftentimes while going against double teams. The way Jones splits double-teams and powers through guards without relying on a counter move reminds me of former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce, whom I used to play against in the late 2000s. The two players are similar in size and have incredibly consistent power to slice through an offensive line like a bulldozer cuts through dirt.
Another thing that makes Jones so valuable to the Chiefs’ defense is how he affects the quarterback regardless of whether he gets a sack or not. Because of his ability to push an offensive lineman back into the passer’s lap, which disrupts the quarterback’s vision and normal throwing motion, Jones impacts nearly every pass play -- it just might not always register on the stat sheet.
They parted with longtime stalwarts Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Dee Ford, and used the savings on defensive ends Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah, linebacker Damien Wilson and cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
It was an unprecedented overhaul for a team that came within a hair of playing in the Super Bowl.
’’In my mind we’re all coming up for our seventh camp and then I have to keep reminding myself that these guys don’t even know how to get up to the practice field,’’ Reid said. ‘’There’s some nice leadership qualities from some of those players that were added, and intensity. I’ve been looking forward to a competitive camp up here. It should be pretty exciting.’’
19 Tyreek Hill
Hill went from very good to great in 2018. He was fourth in the league in receiving yards and touchdowns, and first in receptions of 20 yards or more. The NFL announced earlier this month that Hill would not serve a potential suspension for off-the-field conduct, and he has since returned to participate in Chiefs training camp.
“He’s a great player,” Mahomes said in May, shortly after Hardman was drafted. “Obviously, he’s very fast, but he’s working on everything -- route-running, getting accustomed to the offense. ... When you add guys and add depth, it really is a special thing to know that the staff and everybody keeps adding and are never satisfied with where we are at, we are going to keep getting better every single year,” Mahomes continued. “I was very excited.”
And now with Hill’s return, Hardman’s ready to learn all he can.
Rookie safety Juan Thornhill will win a starting spot by Week 1.
The Chiefs are intrigued by Thornhill’s versatility, which makes him a nice partner at the back end of the defense for Tyrann Mathieu. He will show enough at training camp and in the preseason to take a starter’s job from veteran Daniel Sorensen. -- Adam Teicher
Thornhill is a fast and athletic safety prospect who shows fantastic skills in coverage. He has the size, length, speed and athleticism to compete against most players in man coverage and shows the range and ball skills to make an impact in deep zone coverage.
An extremely aggressive player, Thornhill is always working towards the ball. Even if the ball is thrown away from him, he consistently puts himself in a position to make a play. His combination of athleticism, competitive toughness and coverage skills makes Thornhill an impressive player who can certainly make some noise for the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie.
Thousands took advantage of the opportunity, and as always, the event was a hit.
“Our Season Ticket Members are so important to the Kansas City Chiefs – they’re really the lifeblood of the organization – and this morning is always so special because we get our Season Ticket Members out here to not only watch practice, but to have a lot of fun here at training camp,” Hunt said. “I enjoy getting to talk to them, hearing where they’re from and hearing their stories of being a Season Ticket Member across many decades.”
He’s the cover boy for this year’s Madden video game. The Texas Tech die-hard who followed his alma mater all the way to the Final Four. The sports fan that suddenly pops up at the Stanley Cup Final, then makes sure to congratulate the St. Louis Blues on his uber-popular social media channels.
Mahomes also is the face of the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning NFL MVP and without question the biggest star to land in the City of Fountains since George Brett was playing third base for the Royals.
“He’s a rock star,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said.
The Dallas Cowboys will continue to “monitor” the market for free-agent safety Eric Berry, vice president of player personnel Will McClay said Monday on 1310 The Ticket (h/t The Athletic’s Jon Machota).
”We really believe in Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath and the depth that we have,” McClay said about the team’s current safeties.
Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams noted Berry visited Dallas in March after the Kansas City Chiefs released him.
Berry was a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro during his nine-year run in Kansas City. However, injuries have limited him to four games, including the postseason, over the last two seasons.
DE: Howie Long, Villanova
Richard Dent, Tennessee State
Michael Strahan, Texas Southern
Jared Allen, Idaho State
There’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to smaller-school pass rushers. I went four deep and still had to exclude Mark Gastineau (attended East Central University after Arizona State), Charles Haley (James Madison), and Lyle Alzado, whose alma mater — Yankton College — no longer exists.
Instead, you’ve got three Hall of Famers and Allen, who will likely join them once he’s eligible. Between them they’ve got 499 career sacks and the chops to completely terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
Around the league
“Yeah, you can say setback,” Luck said Tuesday. “I’m not where I want to be. I did not improve feeling-wise, pain-wise. This is something I vowed to myself after going through 2016-17. I would be, one, honest with myself about how I felt pain-wise with things. Two, honest with the people involved. Make sure we took the time about making good decisions going forward. I know I did not improve with the three practices.”
The quarterback said there hasn’t been any talk about him having surgery on his calf.
”The nature of it is a calf strain. I say lower leg because I feel pain in my ankle area. I’ve had images and X-rays and everything, and my Achilles is not at extra risk. There is no tears or swelling or anything that’s indicated,” he said.
Fitzpatrick opened camp as the QB1 and by all accounts has looked like the superior signal-caller thus far.
”He’s been more productive. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to,” Flores said, noting Fitzpatrick’s leadership and added the veteran runs the offense “efficiently.”
It’s the first time the first-year coach has made a concrete comment on the quarterback battle.
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Thankfully, in this case, the team caught the injury immediately. Compression will be used to combat any swelling that will arise. Also, Hill will be required to keep the knee bent maximally and held in place with an ace bandage or a similar item to maintain full range of motion for the first night of sleeping. It is uncomfortable but a necessary evil and provides the maximum chance for quick recovery.
Failure to due so will result in a longer absence from activity due to the swelling that will occur in a more straightened position. Also, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and hot tubs are a no-go for the first 48 hours to prevent an increase in swelling as well.
Early motion and even deep knee flexion motions are encouraged to facilitate a quicker recovery. Walking, jogging and even running as tolerated in a pool or Alter G is encouraged as soon as possible to regain form. Quad strengthening exercises are initiated as soon as possible also since this injury has a tendency to make the quad contract with less strength and force.
He certainly has leadership skills. Fans have noticed them because so far, that is the only tangible trait we have been able to see from Mathieu as a Chief.
Let’s just make sure we aren’t forgetting about his play on the field.
Mathieu is four years removed from a first-team All-Pro season. He’s battled injuries since then, but there’s no reason to worry about his health going into 2019. One of his abilities — blitzing — was on full display during the first weekend of training camp.
And that’s what I am examining today.
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