And although he’s only a few months younger than Gronkowski (both were born in 1989), his trajectory indicates he’ll have more playoff and Super Bowl opportunities than Gronk in the years to come.
In other words, the path is there for Kelce, and all he and the Chiefs have to do is maintain their current momentum for a few more seasons. He’s already made more Pro Bowls (six) than Gronk (five), and he’s just one first-team All-Pro honor behind Gronk’s four.
That doesn’t change the fact that many will continue to view Gronkowski as the more dominant player, and it would be fair for those in his corner to point out that we might not even be having this conversation if injuries didn’t wear Gronk down in his prime. He missed a combined 17 games in 2013 and 2016 and retired for a year in 2019.
Receiving touchdowns — Randy Moss, Patriots — 23
Again, if Aaron Rodgers plays this season, Davante Adams would be primed for record breaking numbers if he can stay healthy. Last year he ended up with 18 touchdowns, tying him for third all time behind Moss and Jerry Rice. He was injured early in one game and missed two games due to that injury. If he had played fully and for 17 games, his touchdowns could be extrapolated to 23.5.
Touchdown numbers like these, even in the passing era, just aren’t that common. When Patrick Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns in 2018, Tyreek Hill led the team with 12 touchdowns while Travis Kelce was at 10, then 10 other Chiefs’ players got in on the touchdown action. Even with just the two dominant targets on the Chiefs, the numbers were spread out. That’s why Adams should by far be the favorite to top the record.
If Rodgers doesn’t play with Adams, Hill is probably the favorite, while A.J. Brown would likely be just behind him as long as the Titans don’t trade for Julio Jones. While a tight end like George Kittle or Kelce would also have good odds to take the record.
Quarterback – Southern Methodist University
Let this explanation be prefaced with this anecdote – Chad Henne certainly had his moment in last year’s playoffs, as he helped seal the deal at the end of the Chiefs – Cleveland Browns game.
But that was likely the final moment left in his tank, as the former Michigan Wolverine star and now 35-year-old QB fills the role of clipboard holder better than NFL-level QB. While Buchele certainly would have a lot to learn making the jump from the NCAA to the NFL, his skillset projects well and looks to be a favorite of the KC front office.
Most UDFAs earn a standard contract that provides them with a signing bonus (as a thank you for joining the team) as well as a guaranteed salary for coming into camp, so there is a least a bit of meat on the bone. But for Buchele, his services were in high demand after the draft, so much so that the Chiefs won the bidding war by handing the former SMU product a $15,000 signing bonus and a massive $160,000 base guaranteed salary.
3) 1984 AFC West | 51-29 (.638) with 3 playoff teams
The 1984 AFC West the only division post-merger to finish with a combined 50 wins or more. The division was led by the Broncos at 13-3, with the Seattle Seahawks (12-4), the Los Angeles Raiders (11-5), the Kansas City Chiefs (8-8), and the Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) following.
The 1984 AFC West stands out because they sent three teams to the playoffs in an era where the playoffs contained just five teams in each conference. Unfortunately, none of them would progress past the Divisional Round. Regardless, making up 60% of the playoff teams in the conference is impressive.
There a few choices for my saddest memory as a Niners fan. The horrifying Richard Sherman tip in the closing seconds of the 2013 NFC Championship game remains a touchy subject. The rivalry between the two franchises was at its peak that season, and it was widely thought that the winner of that game would win the Super Bowl.
The 2019-season Super Bowl loss felt more like a slow death than anything. The ticket prices or the San Francisco - Kansas City Chiefs showdown were way too high, so I decided to make the trip up to the Bay Area.
Around the NFL
It should be noted that Rodgers’s execution of these winking public appearances is fantastic. His trade request was reported on the first night of the draft; days later, he went to the Kentucky Derby, where he was photographed wearing a name tag that said “Turd Ferguson.” That’s a reference to Saturday Night Live’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketch, and that reference both was funny and served as a reminder that Rodgers has potential career paths outside football—he was a guest host on Jeopardy! this spring and has said he’s interested in being Alex Trebek’s full-time replacement. I don’t need you. I can be on TV. In case you forgot, I’m engaged to Shailene Woodley. There should be chapters on Aaron Rodgers in communications textbooks.
Other players have followed a similar lead. Falcons receiver Julio Jones has also reportedly requested a trade. Jones caused a stir in May when he took a photo with a fan in Dallas while wearing a Cowboys sweatshirt. That photo was never likely to remain private and did not. It was ultimately what prompted Jones’s Undisputed interview last week, when he told Shannon Sharpe he was done playing for the Falcons and wanted to go somewhere he could win, while not entirely seeming like he knew he was on live television.
9 - Kendall Fuller
Passer rating allowed: 65.5
Catch rate allowed below expectation: -6.2%
Tight window pct: 25.4%
Target rate: 16.4%
Average separation: 2.4 yards
Targeted expected points added: -13.7
Fuller’s enjoyed a significant turnaround in his return to Washington last season, going from allowing a +14.6 percent catch rate over expectation with the Chiefs in 2019 to a catch rate below expectation of -6.2 percent in 2020 with the Football Team. Instead of occupying the slot a majority of the time, Washington entrusted Fuller with perimeter coverage in 2020. He shifted from a slot alignment rate of 58 percent from 2016-2019 to just 5.4 percent in 2020, instead spending 85.4 percent of his snaps at right corner. That meant Fuller had to run with receivers downfield, but he allowed only one reception on eight deep targets in 2020 after allowing a reception rate of 50 percent on 18 deep targets from 2018 to 2019. With all of this information in mind, it’s not a surprise his numbers improved dramatically, especially his passer rating allowed and catch rate allowed. Now it’s just about continuing this positive momentum into 2021.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Tennessee has agreed to terms with wrestler Adam Coon, who missed out on qualifying for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The 26-year-old Michigan native is attempting to play football for the first time since he graduated high school in 2013.
Coon is getting his shot on the offensive line, a unit that has been instrumental in Derrick Henry leading the NFL in rushing the past two seasons. The All-Pro running back topped 2,000 yards last year, although the Titans took a step backward in pass protection.
Newton was visited by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and veteran receiver Nelson Agholor, among others, as he watched the rest of practice. Owner Robert Kraft also had a chat with Newton.
After practice, Agholor was asked what he saw when Newton showed him his hand. He said: “I’ll let Cam speak on that.”
Asked how much the Patriots miss Newton’s energy and presence at practice when he is sidelined, Agholor said: “He’s still around. He still talks to the wide receivers, talks to his teammates. You still feel him, man. That’s why he’s a great teammate.”
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For football writers, talk-show hosts and even casual fans, predicting the team’s starting five offensive linemen has become a near-obsession. And when asked about it, Heck would only commit to getting it figured out as soon as possible.
“We’re going to need all hands on deck,” he declared. “That’s been my experience in the long haul: that by the end of the season, you’re going to have to have a number of guys ready — not just five guys. So that’s part of it.
“But as soon as we can, we want to figure out what that combination is going to be. In this type of an environment — an OTA where the emphasis is on learning the system, communication, learning some of the fundamentals and techniques — these serious position battles may not really be underway until we get the pads on.”
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