Where do you think would be the best fit for Eric Bieniemy?
Charles: ”I like him with Deshaun Watson. He can bring out the best in Watson and the Houston Texans organization. Anywhere with a young quarterback — I think he’s better coaching young guys. He can coach older guys too, but with the younger guys he can get a hand on them and change their career.”
CB.com: So much attention gets put on their offense, but what is it about their defense that makes them a challenge?
Bitonio: They have playmakers at every level. Chris Jones and Frank Clark up front are kind of the guys that get it done on the inside. In my opinion, Chris Jones is one of the better D-tackles in the game. He has size, power, quickness. On the back end, Tyrann Mathieu, he makes plays for them and gets them in the right position. They’re opportunistic, too. They’re about the football. Sometimes they give up some yards, but when they have to make a play, they seem to make a play for that team. Until someone beats them, I’m sure they’re the favorites.
Of all the points of emphasis this weekend, when the Chiefs play the Cleveland Browns for a spot in their third straight AFC championship game, perhaps none is as consequential as this: Kansas City wants to start fast Sunday, something it failed to do in falling behind by double figures in all three of their playoff games last season.
“Yeah, our coaches brought it up: ‘Let’s not put ourselves in that same position we did last year,’” Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill said this week. “We just have to come out and have the same energy we’ve had all year.”
At 33, Kafka is still feeling his way in the coaching business. He’s been a quarterback coach for just three seasons in Kansas City, including 2020. Passing game coordinator was added to his title this year, and yes, he worked with Patrick Mahomes the last three years, but Kafka, really? Another branch sprouting from the Andy Reid coaching tree?
Lurie just can’t seem to sever his ties with Reid, who he hated having to fire after the 2012 season following a 14-year run with Lurie and Philadelphia.
The owner wanted to interview Kafka last year for the offensive coordinator job but Reid blocked it
Reid can’t block Kafka now, not for a promotion to be head coach, and it is Kafka who looks very much like the head coach Lurie wants.
The first key to this game is figuring out who the heck is allowed to play for the Browns. Head coach Kevin Stefanski returned to practice Thursday and will be able to coach in this game. The Browns also got cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson—both starters—back from the COVID-19 list. Those activations are crucial because backup cornerback Robert Jackson, who started against the Steelers last week, suffered a hamstring injury and is out for the season. Guard Joel Bitonio, Cleveland’s best lineman, is still on the COVID-19 list. His backup, Michael Dunn, started against the Steelers but also suffered an injury and is out for the rest of the playoffs. If Bitonio can’t play, the Browns will start Blake Hance, a.k.a. “Some guy named Blake.”
1) CLE@KC: The teams will combine for 14 or fewer points in the first quarter.
This is more about the Browns and their preferred playing style than anything else. Cleveland’s strategy should be to run the ball, chew up clock and keep Patrick Mahomes on the sideline. The Browns ranked 23rd in first-quarter scoring this season, and they’re not looking for a shootout here. Plus, the Chiefs did not start fast on offense during their Super Bowl run last season.
1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4
Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 1 | Blair: 1 | Filice: 1 | Parr: 1
2020 stats: 15 games | 66.3 pct | 4,740 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 38 pass TD | 6 INT | 308 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost
Next game: vs. Cleveland Browns | Sunday, Jan. 17 at 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS, CBS All Access, ESPN Deportes)
Parr: This should register among the easiest calls to make in QB Index history. Mahomes might have cost himself a second MVP trophy with a finish to the regular season that wasn’t up to his usual standard (a passer rating below 100 since Week 12, gasp). That said, anyone who would choose a different player for the top spot in this exercise is either being disingenuous or horribly misguided.
Ward might not change the result by himself, but Browns coach Kevin Stefanski knows their chances improve with Ward on the field.
“Denzel is very, very competitive,” Stefanski said. “I’ve been very impressed to watch him work. ... I think you’ve seen in the games, he’s made impactful plays when he’s out there, so that’s something that is very impressive to me.”
Top cornerbacks are huge advantages, but they aren’t everything in the consummate team sport.
Oddly enough, the remaining playoff team perceived to have the least dominant cornerbacks is defending champion Kansas City, the favorite to make it back to the Super Bowl. Yet Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland were solid enough to rank the Chiefs’ secondary in Pro Football Focus’ top 10, among other accolades.
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Watson’s tweet confirmed a recent report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter stating that Watson’s anger level has reached “a 10” — it was previously at “a 2” after the team traded All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals last offseason.
“I was on 2 then I took it to 10,” Watson tweeted Friday afternoon.
Along with confirming that he would not be parting with Easterby, McNair told the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain that he wants Watson to be part of the process as it relates to who will be the team’s next head coach. McNair also said that he has been texting with his Pro Bowl quarterback. The two did not communicate when Watson was recently on vacation.
“It’s no secret he’s disappointed in the (lack of) communication during the hiring process,” McNair said of Watson not being involved in the team’s hiring of general manager Nick Caserio, via NFL.com.
Smith, 38, replaces Dan Quinn, whom the Falcons fired along with general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Oct. 11 after an 0-5 start. Raheem Morris took over as interim head coach and led the Falcons to their only wins of the 2020 season en route to a 4-12 overall record.
The Titans ranked fourth in the league in scoring during the regular season, averaging 30.7 points per game under Smith. Tennessee finished the regular season averaging 396.4 total yards per game, good for third in the NFL. The Titans’ rushing attack posted 168.1 yards per game, second only to that of the Baltimore Ravens (191.9 yards).
Police in the southeast suburb of Denver confirmed Friday that Miller is under investigation, saying that “if the investigation determines a crime has occurred charges will be submitted to the DA’s office for their review.”
“We are aware of an investigation involving Von Miller and are in the process of gathering more information,” the Broncos said in a statement.
Miller did not respond to requests for comment.
A decision on whether charges are to be filed by police is not expected for a few weeks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Jones insisted that no one on the team has been, is now or ever will be bored.
“We expect to get everyone’s best. That’s just a part of the game. Everybody comes to Kansas City to play their best — because everybody wants to defeat Kansas City. It’s just a part of the game. We’re the reigning Super Bowl champions — and that’s a part of it.
“But ‘bored’ is an astronomical word to use [for] the level of focus our guys have. I think everyone is dialed in. Everyone [is] taking it a game at a time. You have to win these games in order to place yourself within the playoffs. Most importantly, we wanted to finish the season on a strong note [and] put ourselves in a position to get a bye week and have home-field advantage.”
#Browns Myles Garrett on Mahomes: I want him to be able to go home someday and tell his kids he went against Myles Garrett. I want to leave an impression on everyone I go against— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 15, 2021