On Saturday, many Kansas City Chiefs fans were just learning Friday evening’s big news: that starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif would sit out the 2020 season. We took at look at how the Chiefs could manage the loss.
Andrew Wylie has the experience playing next to both Mitchell Schwartz and Austin Reiter and performed his best at that position. If I had to make an early guess at the most likely replacement, I’d have to lean toward Wylie. In terms of a one-to-one replacement, Wylie makes the most sense for not only the experience but also being able to match the athleticism that the Chiefs lose with Duvernay-Tardif.
The downside with Wylie replacing Duvernay-Tardif at right guard is that he simply took a step backward in 2019. Moving across the line of scrimmage to a new position likely didn’t help. His inconsistent technique was a liability. Too often, Wylie’s feet would just come to a stop, and he’d be left reaching for a defender. It resulted in more than a few quick pressures up the middle.
As Chiefs players rolled into training camp on Saturday, the Super Bowl MVP made it clear that he was ready to go.
“I’m ready to get back after it, that’s the biggest thing,” Mahomes said. “Once we hit this first day, it’s all starting over — and now it’s about doing it over again.”
It has become obvious that the Chiefs are all-in on repeating as Super Bowl champions — and some players couldn’t help but publicly imagine further into the future. In the past week, defensive tackle Chris Jones targeted five or more championship rings before wide receiver teammate Tyreek Hill ratcheted the goal to seven.
These self-set expectations didn’t bother the star quarterback. He has seen the work his fellow Chiefs have put in. He also expressed his own belief that it shows their commitment to the long-term vision of the organization.
“You love the goals — that they want to win championships and they don’t want to be average,” he said.
On Sunday, we learned that the Chiefs had another idea to help make up for Duvernay-Tardif absence: signing veteran guard Kelechi Osemele.
Osemele, 31, has eight years of NFL experience with the Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Osemele first entered the league when he was selected by the Ravens (out of Iowa State) in the second round (60th overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft.
He started at right tackle for one season in Baltimore before switching to left guard after his rookie season. There he remained for three more seasons with the Ravens before the Raiders signed him to a five-year, $60 million contract in 2016, where he made the first of two consecutive Pro Bowls and was also named a first-team All Pro.
On Monday morning, we reviewed the personnel transactions the team had made on Sunday evening.
First, the Chiefs have waived defensive back Javaris Davis and wide receiver Cody White. Teams are required to reduce their rosters to 80 players by August 16.
The Chiefs have officially signed all six of their draft picks — running back Clyde Edwards Helaire, linebacker Willie Gay Jr., offensive lineman Lucas Niang, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, defensive lineman Mike Danna and cornerback BoPete Keyes.
Just before the Denver Broncos’ general manager took the podium for a press conference on Tuesday, news broke that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had purchased a piece of the Kansas City Royals.
“Well, first of all, I hope they hire him in the [Royals’] front office,” quipped the Chiefs’ longtime nemesis. “He can spend half his time over there with the Royals. That would be fine with me, too — or spend all of his time over there.”
But then Elway adopted a (somewhat) more serious tone.
“Obviously, with his contract, he’s the best football player in the league,” he admitted. “I think it’s a well-deserved contract. They way he’s played the first three years — or two years as a starter — he’s a guy that represents the league very, very well. A tremendous player.”
After that, Elway allowed himself another smile.
“I’m happy with the fact that he got that contract — and as an AFC West opponent, I wish he’d have got more. I think they underpaid him.”
Mahomes wasn’t wasn’t done shopping, either. On Tuesday, we also got a look at his new car.
Then late on Tuesday night, we learned the Chiefs had signed veteran safety Tedric Thompson.
Thompson — the younger brother of former NFL safety Cedric Thompson, who played for the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnatti Bengals — went to the University of Colorado, from where the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the fourth round (111th overall) in 2017. He stands at six feet and weighs in at 204 pounds, running a 4.6 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine.
Over three seasons, Thompson appeared in 29 games for Seattle — starting 16 of them — collecting 80 tackles (52 solo), five passes defensed, three interceptions and a forced fumble. Two of the picks were last season, in which Thompson started only six games before sustaining a shoulder injury that put him on injured reserve for the balance of the year.
Wednesday brought more roster changes, as the Chiefs waived six to bring the roster to 80 players. But late in the day, there was big news from the team’s presumed starter at running back.
“As an organization, we certainly understand and respect Damien’s choice, knowing it was made in the best interest of his family,” general manager Brett Veach said. “He means a lot to our football team as a player and a person, and we’re going to miss having him around this season.”
Williams registered 111 rushes for 498 yards and five touchdowns in 2020, as well as 30 receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns. His best work over the past two seasons has come in the playoffs. In the Chiefs’ five postseason games from 2018-19, Williams had 81 carries for 355 yards and six touchdowns and 21 catches for 185 yards and four touchdowns.
Williams was a candidate for the Super Bowl LIV MVP award (which ultimately went to Patrick Mahomes). Williams had 133 yards in the game and two scores — the first to put the Chiefs up 24-20 and the second to seal it at 31-20.
On Monday and Tuesday nights, we had been dutifully covering the release of the annual NFL Top 100 list on NFL Network. Five Chiefs had made the list: Frank Clark, Chris Jones, Tyrann Mathieu, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, But on Wednesday — when it was announced that Mahomes was ranked fourth — something... uh... snapped.
After Wednesday night’s results, we have made the (easy) decision at Arrowhead Pride to no longer cover NFL Network’s yearly “NFL Top 100” list.
In 2019, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the first player in league history to win an MVP award, Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP in his first two seasons as an NFL starting quarterback.
There is not one player in the league better than Mahomes, let alone three.
There had been a lot of speculation about why the team’s starting running back had decided to miss the 2020 seaason — not all of it kind. But on Thursday, we learned why.
“For me, it was kind of cut, straight, simple, right to it,” said Williams. “I’m dealing with a family matter — my mom was just diagnosed with cancer, and it’s stage IV.”
“With everything that’s going on, she was the only one there for me. I never had the opportunity to have my dad there. My mom is my rock, my everything. During a hard time like this, I think I should be next to her every step.”
On Friday, we brought you the right tackle’s thoughts on how the team was responding to Duvernay-Tardif’s absence.
Schwartz also said he is confident about the position group’s new players.
“Obviously, KO [Kelechi Osemele] has had an awesome career — and Mike Remmers has, too. Those are guys who understand how to play with people — and next to people. That’s something that I’m not too worried about. Martinas Rankin played great last year. I was really excited to see him keep progressing. It was a bummer [that] my injury kind of made him get hurt as well because he had to move to right tackle.
“We’ve got a lot of good players,” he said. “I think our offensive line is going to be awesome this year.”