Demarcus Robinson is ready to thrive with a bigger role.
Robinson had a career-high 59 targets last season, and that number should increase significantly in 2021.
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox even went as far as to label Robinson as Kansa City’s best-kept secret heading into this season. Knox also said, “The Florida product has made just 32 starts in five seasons but has produced at least 449 receiving yards in each of the past two. In 2020, he also returned two punts and two kickoffs while helping to provide a quarterback rating of 108.4 when targeted.
With Watkins departing for Baltimore in free agency, there’s a good chance Robinson sees an expanded role in 2021. Don’t be surprised if he makes more of a national name for himself.”
Worst: Edge defender Frank Clark — Five years, $104 million ($18.5 million in remaining guarantees)
Trading for Clark in addition to handing him this humongous extension makes the contract even more of a flop, with his $20.8 million per year average ranking fifth among edge rushers. Clark’s 59.6 pass-rush grade since signing the deal in 2019 ranks 117th among edge rushers with at least 100 pass-rush snaps. The other four edge rushers making at least $20 million per year over that same span?
Myles Garrett — 91.5 pass-rush grade (2nd)
Joey Bosa — 91.0 pass-rush grade (3rd)
Khalil Mack — 89.3 pass-rush grade (5th)
Demarcus Lawrence — 86.8 pass-rush grade (7th)
The Kansas City Chiefs are the 2022 Super Bowl favorites at SoFi Stadium, according to William Hill Sportsbook. The Chiefs, who failed to defend their Super Bowl title when they lost to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV last February, are the +500 favorites to reclaim the championship. Tampa Bay is a +650 favorite according to the latest 2022 Super Bowl odds.
The next tier of Super Bowl 56 contenders include the Buffalo Bills at +1300, and the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens all at +1400. The Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns are both listed at +1600, while the Tennessee Titans moved up to +3000 after acquiring wide receiver Julio Jones from Atlanta. Before making any 2022 Super Bowl picks based on the latest NFL odds, you need to check out the NFL predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
How can it be anyone else? Brady, Rodgers and Wilson offer more experience, but no one offers the tantalizing combo of youth (25), size (6-3, 230), effortless arm talent, early-career production (114 TDs, 24 INTs, 108.7 rating through 46 starts) and postseason familiarity (three AFC title games and two Super Bowls in three years as a starter) that he does. Like everyone else, he can be fooled into turnovers. But not often. Is he boosted by Kansas City’s elite weapons and coaching? Sure. But let’s not pretend Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater is pulling off what he does for Andy Reid. If Lamar Jackson is a magician on the ground, Mahomes is a magician everywhere else, pairing impossible throws with an inherent confidence. If you’re betting on any QB to win multiple championships starting in 2021 and for years to come, there’s no question it should be on No. 15.
1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB
Yes, I know Mahomes just hit the cover of Madden 20. I don’t care. Since then, he’s led the Chiefs to a pair of Super Bowls, nabbing the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy in half a century. Generational talent sells.
Don’t let the banged-up toe or the battered offensive line from this past Super Bowl fool you: Mahomes is the best player in the NFL. He’s a megastar, a real-life cheat code, routinely producing impossible throws and “wow” plays. Mahomes dominates with a million dollar smile and infectious intensity. With a mindboggling touchdown-to-interception ratio of 114:23 in his first three seasons as a starter, Mahomes has enjoyed the greatest start to a career ever at the quarterback position. He’s the face of the NFL — and constantly appears on your television as a product pitchman. This is easy. Let’s move on.
9. WR1 Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
10. RB9 Aaron Jones, Packers
11. WR2 Davante Adams, Packers
12. WR3 Stefon Diggs, Bills
13. RB10 Joe Mixon, Bengals
14. WR4 Calvin Ridley, Falcons
15. WR5 DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals
16. RB11 Cam Akers, Rams
17. TE1 Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Around the NFL
Sixteen of the NFL’s 32 teams have 51 or more players vaccinated, while the other 16 teams have 50 or fewer players vaccinated, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.
The magic number of 53 on an active roster is fair to consider alongside these numbers, but not entirely accurate at this time. Teams are currently carrying rosters that allow a maximum of 90 players on them, so the median of 50 isn’t nearly as close to full vaccination as one might think as of mid-June.
Coaching staffs and team personnel are much closer to full vaccination. Thirty of the league’s teams have Tier 1 and 2 personnel at vaccination rates of 95% or higher, while the other remaining two teams are between 90 and 95 percent vaccinated.
TNT’s Brian Anderson, who hosted the video conference, set up Rodgers with this: “You’ve really kept a low profile this offseason, I’ve hardly seen your name at all and you haven’t hosted any TV shows or been involved in any kind of controversy or anything. It’s been a nice, peaceful offseason for you, it sounds like.”
Rodgers’ reply was both deadpan and dripping with irony.
“It’s been one of those quiet offseasons you dream about, where you can kind of just go through your process on your own, quietly,” Rodgers said. “And that’s all you can ask for as an older player in the league and someone who’s been around for a long time and just enjoys that time to yourself, just relax, to not be bothered, to not have any obligations or anything going on.
You make a conscious decision to allow Steve Smith to reap havoc on your broadcast when you hire him to do something like this. This is a man who does not bury his thoughts behind what is “proper” or “acceptable.” No, he’s going to speak his mind, whether you like it or not — and hey, maybe he’ll make someone cry in the process.
Smith relished on making rookies sad by dominating them in training camp. When Josh Norman stepped to Smith as a rookie and said he was going to dominate him in drills, Smith proceeded to body him all day, while mercillesly teasing him in the process. THAT WAS HIS OWN TEAMMATE! So, do you really think Smitty is going to pull his punches if Sam Darnold trots out and stinks up the joint?
Hell no. That’s why this is going to be incredible. Smith is going to speak his mind every second of a broadcast, might drop an “Ice up, son” on somebody — and have a ball doing it. I’m sure this is just a trial to see how Smith likes the booth, and if the Panthers like him in it, but I can’t help but get excited to see if this broadens into more opportunities.
“I’d probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else,” Carr said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “I am a Raider for my entire life. I’m going to root for one team for the rest of my life — it’s the Raiders. So, I just feel that so strong in my heart I don’t need a perfect situation ... to make things right. I’d rather go down with the ship, you know what I’m saying, if I have to.”
Much of practice consisted of a torrential downpour, and the Dolphins never left the outside field. It was clear coach Brian Flores wanted them to play through the adverse circumstances.
“Today the emphasis for us, quarterbacks, we wanted to be aggressive today within the pass game. We wanted to see if we could fit throws in, see what throws we could make under these conditions. We wanted to push the ball vertical down the field,” Tagovailoa said. “There were some plays that didn’t go our way, but those are plays we can take away from in the film room.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
So when he appeared in a Zoom conference call after the team’s first mandatory minicamp practice on Tuesday, Kansas City reporters had a lot of questions for him — including what it had been like to not wear a football helmet for over a year.
“It’s been a pretty challenging year, I think, for all of us,” he said. “For me personally, I went back to help [in a] long-term care facility in different capacities. Sometimes I was a nurse, sometimes I was an orderly, a resident — I was basically helping where help was needed. And it was tough. We lost a lot of patients — and we know that long-term care facilities were pretty badly affected.
“But looking back at this year, being able to watch the Chiefs on Sunday was kind of the thing that was keeping me grounded, you know? It was fun to watch my teammates, fun to stay in touch with them throughout the season — even though I wasn’t there. I don’t regret my decision. I think I was in the right place at the right moment — and I was able to put my medical training to use. But for sure: [when] watching a game on Sunday, I couldn’t be prouder of the guys.”
A tweet to make you think
Remember in 2018 when people freaked out about #Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' training camp interceptions. Good times.— Charles Goldman (@goldmctNFL) June 15, 2021
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