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What we learned about the Chiefs this week

Taking a look at the week of September 24 on Arrowhead Pride...

Atlanta Falcons v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Julio Jones trade situation heats up; could Chiefs be in play?

On Monday, the Atlanta Falcons’ All-Pro wide receiver publicly said he was out of Atlanta, so fans across the league (including Kansas City Chiefs fans) began dreaming of acquiring him. John Dixon laid out the particulars.

While the Chiefs are definitely interested in finding a receiver who could replace Sammy Watkins’ role in their offense, they now has 13 wideouts (aside from Tyreek Hill) on the roster. That looks more like the action of a team that wants to develop such a player — not trade for one.

Still... there are plenty of Chiefs fans (and media members) who continue to say Kansas City should make a deal for Jones. And it could happen.

But given what we know... we can’t recommend holding your breath for it.

3 Chiefs make PFF’s top 32 lists of offensive linemen

Also on Monday, we covered the Pro Football Focus rankings of the league’s top offensive linemen for 2021, comparing them to those from 2020.

Based only on this information, it’s possible to argue that the Chiefs’ offensive line has taken a step sideways — or perhaps even half a step back. But you can also contend that based on the situation (salary cap space, draft position and so on), the Chiefs may have improved their offensive line as well as anyone could have reasonably expected.

Those arguments, however, only cover the quality of the starters. They will also be substantially younger — an important long-term issue. Furthermore, almost no matter who the offensive line’s starters turn out to be, depth should be substantially improved.

If the 2020 season taught us anything, those two things definitely count for something.

Travis Kelce hopes to see Buccaneers in Super Bowl LVI

On Tuesday, the Chiefs’ tight end appeared on ESPN for the first time since the Super Bowl, saying he’d love to see a rematch in 2021.

“Oh yeah,” Kelce quickly answered. “I’ll start off by saying, man, I hope I see those guys in LA (for Super Bowl LVI) at the end of the season, but we’re just going to take it day by day, game by game and see how the cards get dealt, man. You have to watch it. You have to watch the game. You have to be a man about it — figure out what you did wrong and how, if you get put in those situations again, how you can have success.”

3 former Chiefs sign elsewhere; Bears ‘interested’ in Breeland

On Wednesday we caught up with some signings of former Chiefs — and on the situation with former Kansas City cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

Three former Kansas City Chiefs have reportedly signed with new NFL teams. On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that tight end Ricky Seals-Jones has signed with the Washington Football Team, where he joins another former Chiefs tight end: Deon Yelder.

On Monday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that former Chiefs wide receiver Tajae Sharpe had signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

Also on Monday, the Las Vegas Raiders announced they had signed former Chiefs offensive guard Patrick Omameh.

Meanwhile, former Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland remains on the free-agent market. He was not signed by the Minnesota Vikings during his visit to Minneapolis on Thursday — but on Tuesday, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Chicago Bears have expressed interest in the seven-year NFL veteran, who started 26 games for the Chiefs in 2019 and 2020.

New ranking suggests Chiefs could make history in 2021

Then we covered Gil Brandt’s ranking of the defending division champions most likely to be toppled in 2021 — and the Chiefs were at the bottom of the list.

Like NBC Sports‘ Peter King and ESPN’s NFL beat writers, Brandt clearly sees the Chiefs as one of the league’s elite teams — one that is poised for a return to the Super Bowl. That journey begins in the AFC West, where no team is currently perceived to have a reasonable shot at winning the division.

That puts the Chiefs in a position to do something that no AFC West team has ever done: win six consecutive division titles.

Preseason expectations are often wrong; the coming season could very well play out much differently than anyone is predicting. But even after being humiliated in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs are clearly expected to continue their domination of their division — and the AFC.

Katie Sowers to coach with Chiefs during offseason

We had already learned that former Missouri receiver L’Damian Washington would coach with Kansas City during the offseason on a Bill Walsh Diversity coaching fellowship. Wednesday brought news that a former San Francisco 49ers assistant coach would also receive a Walsh fellowship.

Sowers played quarterback and defensive back in the Women’s Football Alliance for eight years as a member of the West Michigan Mayhem and Kansas City Titans, and she was selected as a member of the United States Women’s National Football Team in 2013. That team won the International Federation of American Football Women’s world championship.

She was the second woman in NFL history to hold a full-time coaching position, spending her time primarily with the wide receivers in her fourth and final year with the 49ers. She was on the sideline during San Francisco’s Super Bowl LIV loss to the Chiefs.

NFL.com analyst projects Chiefs’ starting roster for 2021

On Thursday, we covered NFL.com analyst Gregg Rosenthal’s starting roster projections for the AFC West, breaking it down point by point.

I‘m not sure this is a top-10 roster if you replaced Mahomes with Kirk Cousins and I’m not sure it matters. The Chiefs have the best chance to win the AFC of any team, but the gap appears narrower with the rest of the AFC in Mahomes’ fourth season as a starter.

Here, Rosenthal seems to be suggesting the Chiefs have taken a step back. He might be right that the gap between the Chiefs and the rest of the AFC’s contenders is narrowing, but I think that’s more about other teams getting better at what the Chiefs have been doing over the last three seasons. The challenge for the Chiefs will be to find new ways to be successful — so that they continue to force other teams to play their game.

Orlando Brown Jr. — a new jersey number, team and offensive scheme

Kansas City’s new left tackle spoke to reporters on Thursday, talking about the adjustments he’s been making since being traded to the Chiefs.

“With the adjustment to more true drop-back passes, I have to play an actual chess game out there on the edge,” he acknowledged. “I’m going to do my best to manipulate all of my blocks to the best of my abilities and keep Pat safe. It’s definitely a learning curve, a different system for sure, but football is football.”

Brown sounds confident, and so does his head coach. Andy Reid complimented his new left tackle on his ability to learn.

“He’s very coachable,” Reid shared with reporters in his own Zoom press conference. “Andy Heck is a phenomenal coach, so it’s great for Orlando fundamentally to work with Andy. There’s the initial footwork he has to take, he played half the season at left tackle so it’s not too big of a thing, but the things we do in our offense — little footwork things — he’ll get down and it’ll be second nature to him.”

Meet Dicaprio Bootle — a speedy defensive back from Nebraska

On Friday, Ron Kopp continued his rookie breakdowns — now focused on the undrafted free agents the Chiefs have signed — with a look at an explosive cornerback.

Bootle overcomes his smaller stature by playing with aggression and physicality. At his Pro Day, he ran an unofficial 4.38 40-yard dash — and the explosiveness it takes to run such an impressive time shows up on these plays. He also posted an unofficial 6.72-second 3-cone drill — which is in the 86th percentile for NFL cornerback prospects, per Mockdraftable.com.

In that way, he has a similar physical profile as another new Chiefs cornerback: Mike Hughes.

A particular set of three plays from 2018 — his redshirt sophomore season — showed Bootle’s natural feel for covering receivers deep down the field. He gets himself in a great position to cleanly wall the receiver off towards the sideline without being overly physical. With that leverage, he turns his head in time and makes effective plays on the ball.