Regarding Edwards-Helaire, check out the first four plays of 11-on-11 practice Wednesday:
• Mahomes handed to Edwards-Helaire, through the right guard-tackle hole.
• Mahomes handed to Edwards-Helaire, around left end.
• Mahomes handed to Edwards-Helaire, over right guard.
• Mahomes handed to Edwards-Helaire, over right tackle.
On Thursday, Edwards-Helaire was back in the same spotlight. First three snaps of an 11-on-11 period, all handoffs to him. He ran a wheel route out of the backfield, Mahomes threw it slightly behind him, and the kid caught it in stride, one-handed, and headed upfield like he’d done this a thousand times before. Built low to the ground, with powerful-looking legs, sort of like Kareem Hunt, Edwards-Helaire could not have been much more impressive in the two practices I saw.
Now, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Reid’s going to use Edwards-Helaire as a rookie the same way Reid used Hunt as a rookie in 2017. Hunt touched it 325 times (remember his 246-yards-from-scrimmage demolition of the Patriots on opening night in Foxboro?) in that rookie season, winning the rushing title and becoming an instant threat in the passing game too. But this is practice, scripted from start to finish; maybe this is two days of getting timing down with Edwards-Helaire. But I doubt it’s just that. I say he’ll be a stud, a prime candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He appears a confident and sure runner who can make people miss, a better runner between the tackles than a 5-foot-8, 209-pound guy should be, and a smooth and assured receiver. Veach told me: “He’s on pace to have a big year, to be our primary ballcarrier.”
I think all the stuff I heard about Clyde Edwards-Helaire fitting K.C. and Andy Reid like a glove is already coming into focus. Take it from veteran LB Anthony Hitchens, who explained getting roasted by the rookie in the open field like this: “I kind of got rubbed by the tight end going vertical—had to work over the top, which is hard and then making a play on a guy like that in space makes it even harder. It’s a good play and setup for him. He made a quick move—a smart [move] because it was the two-minute situation. He got all the yards and he didn’t have to get out of bounds. He knew, and he was thinking of a situation, so he cut back across the field, and we eventually got him down, and they kicked a field goal.” So on the play, Edwards-Helaire showed his football smarts and awareness. And he also drew up the reason why he’s such a good fit for the team he’s coming to. Edwards-Helaire was a monster in space for an LSU offense that was able to create plenty with receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, and tight end Thaddeus Moss. In K.C.? Same sort of thing. Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and Travis Kelce can all get downfield, and take the defense with them, which should create the kind of open-field situations that Hitchens described. And if you’re having to get the diminutive rocket of a back to the ground and giving him the space required to account for all the speed K.C. has elsewhere? Good luck. That, by the way, is just the start. The other piece the Chiefs staff has seen is similarly logical. Taking all the above personnel into account, Edwards-Helaire’s likely to see a lot of lighter boxes, with more DBs, and fewer big people, on the field—and his physical run style should play well into that, too.
Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
Drafted: Round 1, No. 32 overall
This one feels like a layup in the wake of Damien Williams’ decision to opt out of the season. Kansas City’s passing game is obviously lethal, but having a credible rushing attack helps keep a defense on its toes, and Edwards-Helaire is the perfect fit of form and function for what the Chiefs want from that position.
Coach of the Year
Tier 2 long shot: Andy Reid, Chiefs
It’s even more unlikely that we see a perennially successful coach such as Reid compete for Coach of the Year honors. Reid has gone 207-128-1, won 10 or more games 14 times and won the AP’s Coach of the Year award ... once, back in 2002. Bill Belichick, who is a favorite to my eyes this season if he can lead a Tom Brady-less Patriots team to another division title, has only won the award three times. This trophy typically rewards authors of quick turnarounds as opposed to consistent brilliance.
What would it take for Reid to win Coach of the Year? My guess is that the Chiefs would need to dominate on offense and win at least 14 games. The first part should be pretty easy. The FPI has the Chiefs favored in 14 of their 16 games this season, only narrow underdogs in road games against the Ravens and Saints. We can’t assume Kansas City will win all of the games in which it is favored — Mahomes lost at home to the Colts and Texans last season — but it’s a sign of how dominant the Chiefs are expected to be in 2020. If the schedule does get reduced, I also think Reid could win if Kansas City were to go undefeated in a shortened season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tyreek Hill, WR
Denny Medley / USA Today Sports Images
Hill has once in a generation speed that completely changes the way defenses play the Chiefs. He’s made the Pro Bowl in all four of his seasons, averaging 70 receiving yards per game and also being used frequently on running plays. Hill’s absence was felt early last season when he missed four games due to a chest injury.
Ragland said the last time he returned a pick-six that far was last year when he was with the Kansas City Chiefs and intercepted Patrick Mahomes in practice.
“And you see how that turned out,” he said. “We ended up winning the Super Bowl. So hopefully the same thing can go on this year.”
One person’s omen is another person’s coincidence. But Ragland took it even further in drawing comparisons to the two teams.
“I see the same qualities in this team as in Kansas City,” he said. “We’ve got the pieces. We’ve just got to keep putting them together and just keep playing hard and being consistent and just keep finishing. I think we’ve got the guys to do that. We’ve just got to go out there and just play ball.”
Around the NFL
All 77 individuals also underwent additional point-of-care tests. Each came back negative as well.
The rash of positive tests led to several teams altering their workout schedules, including some cancellations to ensure the safety of players and staff. Once it was clear the issue was with the testing lab, not a bevy of positive results, some operations resumed. The Browns were one of the team affected and pushed their morning session to Sunday afternoon. Head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Monday he was one of the people on the team to have a false positive test.
Clark was punched by Thomas toward the end of Friday’s practice after the two exchanged words on the sideline regarding a blown coverage by Thomas, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Right now, as a team and an organization, we’re moving forward,” Clark said Monday in his first words since the incident occurred. “We’re putting that situation in the rear view.”
The 31-year-old Smith spent his first four seasons with the Seahawks. A seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft, Smith received eight starts in 2013 while helping Seattle capture its first Super Bowl win. Smith was named Super Bowl MVP as his Seahawks beat the Broncos; his 10 tackles, fumble recovery and pick-six of Peyton Manning helped lead Seattle to a 43-8 victory.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
When we first learned of Colbert’s pending arrival in Kansas City, it was easy to think of it as a move intended to protect the Chiefs if safety Juan Thornhill ended up being unable to play at the beginning of the season. But the next day, Thornhill passed his physical — and on Sunday, he returned to team drills.
Afterward, Thornhill appeared on the team’s in-house “Training Camp Live” online broadcast, telling hosts Mitch Holthus and Matt McMullen that in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, everyone is expected to be able to play any position in the secondary.
“Some guys just label themselves as ‘just a cornerback’ or ‘just a safety,’” said Thornhill. “But when you come into our defensive room, we’re defensive backs. So you can play pretty much anywhere — wherever coach (Andy Reid) asks you to play. If he wants you playing corner, you need to go out there and know what the corner’s doing; you’ve got to know what the nickel’s doing. So we don’t label ourselves as one specific type of player. We want to be able to do everything on the field.”
A tweet to make you think
My brothers keep me balance I keep them firing!!! https://t.co/XedIvnVz4A— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) August 24, 2020
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