Kansas City Chiefs: CB Charvarius Ward
Those who readily recognize Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward generally fall into one of two categories: They’re Chiefs fans, or they closely followed Kansas City’s playoff run last season. Ward was not a full-time starter prior to last season—he made two starts as a rookie in 2018—but he emerged as one of the most important members of the secondary.
“Last season was Ward’s first as a starter, and he was solid, if unspectacular, snagging a pair of interceptions and breaking up six passes,” Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo wrote. “He allowed just 48 percent of passes thrown into his coverage to be caught, and those passes yielded a 73.6 passer rating.”
While Ward is not yet a lockdown cover man, he is a player on the rise and could creep toward Pro Bowl status.
This is also a team that lost four of six games in the middle of the season and found themselves down by double-digits in all three playoff wins. I’m not saying Kansas City wasn’t a great team because they were — third in DVOA, an MVP at quarterback, several greats on defense — but our perceptions of a team sure do change after they win a ring.
Let’s say instead that the Chiefs blew those games against 3-12-1 Detroit and 5-11 LA. They go 10-6 instead of 12-4. They win the division but must host the Titans in round one and if they win that, must go on the road to play the Ravens or Patriots.
How scary does Kansas City look at that point, even though it is essentially the exact same team?
Their offseason surprised me in that they were somehow able to keep Sammy Watkins and Chris Jones while extending Mahomes. They even replaced Laurent Duvernay-Tardif with Kelechi Osemele at right guard, a probable upgrade. But I’m not fully sold that the Chiefs can’t be closer to .500 than everyone will predict.
QB PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The 24-year old received the largest contract in sports history last month, and he deserved every bit of it. Fresh off two seasons as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback, winning the 2018 NFL MVP and earning the Super LIV MVP, Mahomes is already in the conversation for best player in the league. In 31 starts, Mahomes is 24-7, completing 65.9 percent of his passes for 9,412 yards and 76 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. He has added 110 rushing attempts for 500 yards (4.5 average) and four touchdowns.
1 Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB
Of course. Did you expect anyone else? How could you expect anyone else. He’s the best player in the NFL. He’s the best show in sports. And now he has a half-a-billion-dollar contract to his name.
I can remind you of the 50/5,000 MVP campaign of 2018, his first year as an NFL starter. I can remind you that he just led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years, erasing double-digit deficits in all three playoff games and taking home Super Bowl LIV honors. But seriously, just watch this cat play and you’ll see it: He’s as special as can be. Related question: Do NFL players watch NFL games? That No. 4 ranking is a travesty.
Around the NFL
Brian Winters, the Jets’ starting right guard the past few seasons, was released by the team on Sunday, sources tell NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Winters played in just nine games in 2019 before landing on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury, which was the fourth instance the offensive lineman ended a season on IR. Winters was a third-round selection by the Jets in the 2013 NFL Draft and had 79 starts during his seven-year tenure.
As a result of the release, the Jets will clear $7.28 million in cap for 2020. Winters was on the final year of his contract entering this upcoming season and is now a free agent.
Asked whether he anticipated more opt-outs coming for the Patriots, Belichick said it remains a cloudy crystal ball.
“I think everybody’s got to make their own individual decisions on that, and they have to weigh their own situation. Each one of us is unique and we all have different lives, situations, families, environments, so forth and so on,” added Belichick. “There’s no two situations that are the same. Everybody will have to make their own decision on that. The crystal ball is kind of cloudy right now, so I have no idea what will happen along those lines. I think everybody in the league, every team in the league, every player, every coach, everybody in the league is involved in that to some degree. We’ll just have to see how it turns out.”
According to Pelissero, Pederson is asymptomatic and will continue to lead the virtual meetings. Assistant head coach Duce Staley will handle the on-site duties during Pederson’s absence as things pick up in the early stages of training camp.
Saints head coach Sean Payton revealed that he contracted the COVID-19 virus in March, when the ongoing global pandemic first struck the United States. Payton has since been cleared of the virus.
In addition to Minshew, the team also placed running back Ryquell Armstead, tight end Charles Jones, receiver Michael Walker and safety Andrew Wingard on the list. A player doesn’t have to test positive for the coronavirus to be placed on the list; he also could be quarantined after being around an infected person.
NFL teams are not permitted to disclose results of virus tests. Minshew, Walker and Wingard share an apartment together
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Brendan Daly got the most out of an injury-riddled group in 2019, so simply having healthy bodies should make for an easier task in 2020. He was able to maximize the talents of Frank Clark, Chris Jones, and Derrick Nnadi. Each player returns with a better understanding of the scheme, and Clark and Jones could have a healthier year to help increase production.
Daly doesn’t have many new players to work with along the line. The most notable addition this offseason is Mike Danna — admittedly a Daly pet project. However, Daly was able to develop raw players in Tanoh Kpassagnon and Khalen Saunders and was able to turn castoffs in Emmanuel Ogbah and Mike Pennel into major contributors. Based on the returns from last year, it’s reasonable to expect that Daly is doing to help his defensive linemen climb every developmental rung that they can in 2020.
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