Robinson was an original Chief, joining the franchise at its inception as the Dallas Texans in 1960 three years before the move to Kansas City. His tenure spanned a golden era under Hank Stram, and as a safety he was crucial to three AFL championships and the Chiefs’ lone Super Bowl triumph 50 seasons ago. There is a certain symmetry to the fact his last game (in which he suffered a severe groin injury) was the fateful Christmas Day 1971 playoff loss to Miami that proved a pivot point in the team’s fortunes.
At one end of the room sat Tony Gonzalez. All the way across it was Ed Reed.
Sometimes in the past, that’s as close to each other as the two new Hall of Famers cared to be.
Same thing for Champ Bailey and Ty Law when it came to covering Gonzalez, the game-changing tight end and matchup nightmare for defensive backs.
They’re all part of the class of 2019 that will be inducted Saturday night. On Friday, they spoke about each other - and the honor of entering the pro football shrine together.
’’It was a hassle dealing with Tony,’’ said Reed, a five-time All-Pro for Baltimore as a ball-hawking safety and member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, as were Gonzalez, Bailey and Law. ‘’Tony was tough. You needed somebody else to help you. I’d tell Terrell Suggs, ‘You got to hit him before you pass rush.’
From the outside, it looks like Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez was one of the few who enjoyed a smooth exit. During a media session before his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Ssturday, Gonzalez said that wasn’t the case.
”I had a plan,” he said. “Always. But it takes time. It wasn’t smooth sailing for me after I got done playing. Even though i had this great job at CBS (as an analyst), there was still something in me that wasn’t quite clicking.
”But that’s how it’s supposed to go,” he said. “It’s supposed to be hard. It brought me to my knees at times and it was like starting over. Every player has to go through this. But you keep putting your feelers out there and don’t be afraid to go with what’s in your heart. Your life takes off on the other side of fear. That’s what I tell my kids.”
Four inches. The distance between the Super Bowl and the end of the season.
“Obviously being as close as we were to the Super Bowl last year, coming up 4 inches short, it allows us to come into the season with a lot of belief,” said Clark Hunt, the chairman and most visible face of the Chiefs’ ownership family, who stopped through for a workout last weekend.
“I think the players know they have something special,” Hunt said. “The players are usually the ones that know what kind of team they have. And I think all those guys are really excited.”
5. KANSAS CITY: There are lots of new pieces on defense, but rookie safety Juan Thornhill is one to watch. He’s gotten his hands on the ball daily in camp, and flashes the versatility to pair well with Tyrann Mathieu. He’ll likely supplant Daniel Sorensen in the starting lineup at some point.
By the time the special teams unit watches video of their plays after a game, Butker has already watched each of his kicks at least three times. It’s a habit that’s earned Butker a “student of the game” label from special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Dave Toub.
“We get a lot of flack as kickers that we don’t kick a ton,” Butker said. “There’s only so much kicking you can do before you’re potentially injuring yourself.
“I look at it, ‘How can I put more work in that’s not necessarily physically on the field? How can I put more work in outside the field?’ If I’m watching film, if I’m taking notes, I’m getting that much better and I’m putting that much more time in.”
You draft Watkins as a high upside, high injury-risk player. The offense he plays for is one of the best, if not the best, in the league. Watkins has the ability to put up WR1 numbers each week he is on the field. Unfortunately, he has missed 18 games (16 of these to foot/ankle injuries) in the last four seasons and it seems close to certainty that he won’t play 16 games this season.
Another large factor in ranking Sammy Watkins is projecting the Chiefs offense as a whole. They saw some historic efficiency and a high percent of passing touchdowns. There is likely regression coming to the entire offense and their touchdown rate. After factoring in all of these things, I have Watkins ranked as my WR27 for best ball leagues and WR31 in re-draft leagues. I would take Watkins as early as the mid-sixth round for best ball and beginning of the seventh round for re-draft.
It’s hard to hate on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, but here we are. Ever heard of a sophomore slump, Patrick? I know Mahomes is technically heading into his third season, but matching his first season as a starter will be tough and that still wasn’t good enough for a championship. The other 31 teams in the NFL will be better prepared for Mahomes no-look passes.
Speaking of pressure, Andy Reid may be under the most pressure he’s faced in his career. Reid hasn’t handled pressure well over his career. There’s no doubt the Chiefs have Super Bowl aspirations, but can Reid handle that?
Outside of the pressure to perform in a do-or-die season, the Chiefs still have question marks surrounding their secondary. Yes, they signed Tyrann Mathieu and drafted Juan Thornhill. But are they enough to save a defense that allowed 30 touchdowns through the air and the second-most passing yards in the NFL?
I think we all agree that we’ve never seen an NFL player throw balls across his body, on the run, from different angles so accurately and consistently as Patrick Mahomes. But we do see that from many MLB shortstops. Do you expect to see an influx of shortstops converted to QB, the way we regularly see soccer players converted to kickers and basketball players converted to TE? Or is Mahomes the only unicorn that can translate that skill to football? — @thatonedude02
Great outside-the-box question. My answer is no, because Mahomes is that unicorn. If you’re a high school quarterback and you try to be Mahomes, you’d have no success. And if you have a special arm talent at shortstop, plus you can hit, you’re probably going to play baseball instead of football.
Around the league
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced it could induct a one-time only class of 20 members next year to further commemorate the NFL’s 100th anniversary. The class will include five modern era players, 10 senior era players, three contributors and two coaches.
The decision was approved by the Hall’s Board of Trustees during its annual meeting Friday.
The next decisions will be announced in September as a large list of nominees in each category will be revealed. Modern era players include those whose careers ended within the past 25 seasons, while senior era players are those who have been retired for more than 25 years. Semifinalists will be chosen later in the fall and finalists will be announced in January.
“Everything takes time,” Beckham told reporters following Friday’s practice. “Everything that’s great comes with patience and takes time. We’re still developing. The best part about it it’s training camp. It’s not the real season right now. We’re just trying to all get on the same page, get everything down.”
Beckham likened the Browns’ offense and its many weapons to “being on an AAU team,” while noting he’s been inspired to make more plays as he watches his peers practice at a high level. He also shot down the idea that quarterback-wide receiver rapport is “overrated” but said he’s not one to direct Mayfield on how to work with him.
”I just tell him do what he does,” Beckham explained. “There’s a reason he was the first pick, there’s a reason he won the Heisman, there’s a reason he led Oklahoma to all those great seasons. I just let him tell me what he thinks I should do and I’m just going to do that, and he’s going to put it where it needs to be.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
The wide receivers: The Chiefs wideouts are impressive from top to bottom. There are a couple of reasons for that. One of them wears number 15. The other is the lack of contact. But it does appear that when it comes to the pass catchers, the team may have an embarrassment of riches. Tyreek Hill hasn’t missed a beat after rejoining the team. He missed a couple of days of practice with a quad contusion, but it isn’t expected to be an issue. Sammy Watkins is healthy and making plays, Byron Pringle and Cody Thompson are turning heads and Mecole Hardman’s development appears to be ahead of schedule. This group is now deep enough that Demarcus Robinson may be a trade candidate — even though he has established himself as a playmaker and a good fit with Mahomes’ improvisational style.
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The idea of increasing the amount of Hall of Fame inductees in 2020 sounds like a great one. Although it will only be for one season, this represents a great opportunity for a few overlooked and overdue seniors to be inducted, and would also clear some of the bottleneck.
The most obvious former Chief that would be in consideration is Otis Taylor. The former Chiefs flanker (wide receiver to us) amassed 57 touchdowns and over 7000 receiving yards during an 11-year stay with the Chiefs — the highlight of his career being the 46-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
The 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will take place tonight: Saturday, August 3 at 6:00 p.m. Arrowhead Time. It will be carried live on NFL Network.
Does Otis Taylor belong in the Hall of Fame?
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