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Arrowheadlines: NFL.com writer calls the Chiefs defense “top-heavy”

Chiefs headlines for Friday, May 28

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The latest

AFC West projected starters: Chiefs remain in driver’s seat, but is gap narrowing? | NFL.com

The top-heavy nature to Kansas City’s roster doesn’t only exist on offense. Just look at defensive end, where the Chiefs have one of the highest-paid players at his position (Frank Clark) complemented by Taco Charlton, who’s on his third team. This may be the thinnest position group on the team and is begging for a veteran addition.

The Chiefs need to start developing their own defensive talent. Off-ball linebacker Willie Gay Jr. improving in his second year or Nick Bolton earning a big role as a rookie would be a start.

3 Chiefs players who could be post-June 1 cut, trade candidates | Chiefs Wire

RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Savings: $2.75 million (Trade) | None (Cut)

Dead money: $2 million (Trade) | $4.75 million (Cut)

It’s tough to predict what the Chiefs will do with Duvernay-Tardif. On one hand, he’s a beloved teammate, leader and community member in Kansas City. On the other, you’re looking at a player who hasn’t played since Super Bowl LIV. You can hardly blame him for opting out, but the reality is that he’s still a year removed from playing the game and he wasn’t even playing his best football back then. He’s also only ever played the right guard position. If he’s not your starter at right guard, can you really afford to keep him on the roster?

One potential problem that has been floated about a post-June 1 trade for Duvernay-Tardif is a no-trade clause attached to his restructured contract. Well, players are capable of waiving those clauses and if it was the difference between a starting opportunity and a backup job, it might be something the good doctor wants to consider. As for a post-June 1 cut, you’d have to eat nearly five million in dead cap space with no savings just to says goodbye. Waiting for a trade to materialize might be the Chiefs’ best bet here.

Ranking 2021 NFL divisions from first to last: NFC West loaded with playoff contenders, AFC South not so much | CBS Sports

3. AFC West

The Chiefs are quite likely the best team in football with that rebuilt offensive line and with a generational QB just entering his prime. That alone is going to carry some weight in this exercise. I am buying the Chargers as a playoff team given Justin Herbert’s remarkable rookie campaign and the moves they have made on the offensive line. Denver’s defense is going to be a problem for other teams and Teddy Bridgewater will provide a baseline of professional quarterbacking long missing there. I see them as a potential wild card if Teddy protects the football as he has most of his career. The Raiders will be bad again because of that defense but at least can do some fun things on offense sometimes. And they play really well against the Chiefs, which has to count for something. (Notice a trend here with which conference is superior?)

One unanswered question facing each NFL team in 2021 | YardBarker

Kansas City Chiefs: Has the offensive line been fixed?

Patrick Mahomes suffered two injuries during the playoffs and was running for his life in the Super Bowl behind a banged-up offensive line. The Chiefs completely revamped their offensive line during the offseason to fix the problem, and could potentially have no starters at all five spots. Additions Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Creed Humphrey look great on paper, but only time will tell if the new faces make a difference.

Top 10 wildest fan-on-the-field moments of sports history | Yahoo Sports

‘Streaker’ rushed the field at Super Bowl LV

NFL fans were finally allowed back in the stadium just in time for the Super Bowl LV matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. One fan in particular felt the need to make his presence known during the fourth quarter.

Sports broadcaster Kevin Harlan was on the radio call, and delivered an entertaining play-by-play of the incident:

Around the NFL

Trade offers for Julio Jones and an accepted deal: Where the WR could land, potential return, more | ESPN

San Francisco 49ers

Nick Wagoner’s offer: The 49ers would send a 2022 second-rounder and 2023 fourth-rounder.

Why make this offer? The 49ers have two exciting young wideouts in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but that duo combined to play 19 games last season as injuries and COVID-19 issues kept them on the sideline. Adding Jones — who knows Kyle Shanahan and his offense well — would offer the opportunity to protect Samuel and Aiyuk while adding the big outside receiver the Niners lack. The move also puts Jones on a contender, which he expressed as a personal priority.

Jones would be an immediate starter as the X receiver and provide a needed deep threat, allowing Aiyuk to line up opposite him and Samuel to work from the slot. The Niners would boast the type of weapons whoever is playing quarterback would need to thrive.

Next Gen Stats’ top 10 disruptors of 2020: Aaron Donald ranks high, but not No. 1 ... | NFL.com

2 - Joey Bosa

Los Angeles Chargers · DE

Disruption rate: 17.6%

Sack rate: 2.4%

Total disruptions: 54

Sacks: 7.5

We can count on a few guarantees in this life: death, taxes and one of the Bosa brothers ending up on this list. Nick Bosa made it last year, but this time around it’s older brother Joey, who finished with a career-high pressure rate (15.6%; third-best in the league). With Justin Herbert occupying so much of the national attention when it came to the Chargers, Bosa quietly put together a stellar season in just 12 games, posting the second-highest disruption rate in the NFL (17.6%). Like his younger brother, Joey wins with power and efficiency. His average time to hurry (3.06 seconds) and average get-off (0.80) ranked in the middle of the pack among the players on this list. That means Bosa doesn’t waste steps or pass-rush moves, leading to his 54 disruptions and 7.5 sacks. Those numbers aren’t as gaudy as some of the others on this list, but again, Bosa played in just 12 games. He made the most of those dozen contests.

Sportsbook sets TD prop of 2.5 for Jacksonville Jaguars TE Tim Tebow, with early money on under | ESPN

Last week, after the former Heisman Trophy winner signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end, Station Casinos in Las Vegas put the Tebow touchdown prop on the board and took instant action, including a $2,000 limit bet on the under. Station’s sportsbook has had an over/under prop on passing touchdowns for new Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford since late March. In just one week, the amount wagered on the Tebow prop had already eclipsed the handle on the Stafford prop.

“The interest has absolutely exceeded my expectations,” Station Casinos sportsbook director Chuck Esposito told ESPN.

As of Thursday, the overall bets on the Tebow prop were split equally on the over and under, but according to Esposito, about five times as much money had been wagered on the under. The price to bet the under, which opened at -125, is now -165.

Top 25 NFL players under 25: Lamar Jackson headlines 2021 list, which features three Buccaneers, two Steelers | CBS Sports

25. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs (23)

Bruising bell-cow running backs are mostly a thing of the past, but Jacobs has been a justified centerpiece of Las Vegas’ offense since entering the NFL. Durability might be a long-term area of concern, but 2,600+ yards from scrimmage through two years is a rock-solid start. If you ever need hard-earned yards or a crunch-time carry, he’ll get the job done.

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

For the Chiefs’ defense, 2021 is all about improving in the red zone

“Our number one thing right now is that we fell short in the red zone last year,” Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens told reporters in a Thursday conference call. “I think we were top 10 the year we won the Super Bowl — and last year, it was 32nd, if I’m not mistaken.”

Hitchens wasn’t wrong. As our own Ron Kopp noted in these pages on Monday, the unit fell off a statistical cliff inside the 20-yard line during the 2020 season. And to the eighth-year veteran, the impact was obvious.

“You give three points up instead of seven? That’s a four-point swing right there,” he noted. “I mean, there were times when a team would get in the red zone three times and score three touchdowns. That’s 21 points. We can easily cut that in half — or less than half. So we’re just working on that right now. We had two red-zone days — back-to-back — the first two days.”

In fact, Hitchens said that it was one of the first things defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo brought up in their opening meeting.

“Spags put up — if I’m not mistaken — I think there were three criteria that led to bad downs in the red zone,” recalled Hitchens. “Some of them were physical, some of them were just mental — not doing a blitz correctly or not running in the correct coverage that was called — and some of them were scheme-related. He said he put some on himself — [where] he made some bad calls as well.”

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