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Arrowheadlines: Could this be the year Mecole Hardman makes a name for himself?

Chiefs headlines for Friday, July 16

Atlanta Falcons v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The latest

Kansas City Chiefs offense primed to roll out Mecole Hardman edition | Sky Sports

So often Hardman would prove capable of getting himself open, only to be reminded he is playing with a quarterback in Patrick Mahomes that could trust his arm talent to take a shot downfield or make the risky off-script throws into traffic to weapons in Hill and Kelce with the elite separation and contested catch prowess to haul them in.

A desire for immediacy had been fuelled by post-Draft Hill comparisons. Hardman ran a 4.33 30-yard dash, Hill ran a 4.29; both hail from Georgia; both are 5ft 10in. There were similarities, but to expect the converted cornerback to waltz in and compete with his fellow speedster’s numbers would have been unfair. He needed refining and Andy Reid knew it.

“I feel like I’m myself, you know?” Hardman said in May 2019, having been asked how he matches up to Hill. “I think I’m Mecole Hardman. I think I can do the things I want to do.”

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson once planned epic TD celebration in KC but it fell through | Kansas City Star

“We were playing the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City,” Johnson said, “and I’m not sure if people watching at home ... remember the Easy Button from the Staples commercial, and when you press it, it said, ‘That was easy.’ I think everyone in corporate America had one at their desk. So I put one under the north and south end zones.

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“And I was hoping to score that game and pull the Easy Button out and run to Carson (Palmer, the Bengals quarterback) and have him hit that button, and it’s very unfortunate I didn’t get a chance to score in that game.”

This is the Easy Button:

The reason Johnson didn’t get to pull off that celebration? The Chiefs crushed the Bengals 37-3 in the game on Jan. 1, 2006. Palmer didn’t play the entire game as Cincinnati had a playoff game the following week.

Report: Tony Gonzalez leaving FOX Sports for Hollywood | 247 Sports

Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez is reportedly leaving Fox Sports. According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Gonzalez is making the move to focus on television and film projects.

The former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons star made an immediate transition to broadcasting following his retirement from the NFL at the end of the 2013 season. He has worked as a Fox Sports studio analyst on the “Fox NFL Kickoff” pregame show since 2017, as well as Fox’s Thursday Night Football pregame show for the last two years.

Prior to joining Fox Sports, he spent three years with CBS as an analyst on “The NFL Today” pregame show.

Fantasy football draft: Where to target Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill | The North Western

Where should you take Tyreek Hill in your fantasy football draft?

Hill isn’t just an elite wide receiver, he’s an elite offensive weapon and fantasy force, period.

In 2020 PPR scoring, only New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara (377.8 points), Adams (358.4), Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (337.8) and Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry (333.1) totaled more fantasy points among position players than Hill’s 328.9.

It’s the road-runner speed that sets Hill apart as he can take a short pass in the flat or a simple end-around the distance for a 70-yard TD in a matter of seconds. To that point, Hill had at least 13 rushing attempts in four of his five seasons and only two other true wideouts ( Curtis Samuel and Robert Woods) finished with more rushing yards than Hill’s 123 last season.

On the flip side, there is some touchdown regression to worry about with Hill as only Kamara (21) and Adams (18) found their way into the end zone more often in 2020. It was the second time Hill totaled more than 9 TDs in a season - he had 13 in 2018 - and 9 was precisely his average over his first four seasons.

AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs | Bleacher Report

Brad Gagnon: Kansas City Chiefs

Brent Sobleski: Kansas City Chiefs

Gary Davenport: Kansas City Chiefs

The AFC West should simultaneously be one of the NFL’s most competitive divisions and among the easiest to predict.

The Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders are all capable of finishing with winning records, but the Chiefs are clearly the division’s best team, as well as the best that the AFC has to offer.

Kansas City represented the conference in each of the last two Super Bowls. The second appearance didn’t go as planned, though. The Buccaneers destroyed Kansas City’s front five on its way to Patrick Mahomes, and even the NFL’s best quarterback couldn’t do enough to offset that amount of pressure. As a result, the Chiefs attacked the offseason with an unmatched fervor.

Kansas City Chiefs: Is there a chance the team brings back Alex Okafor? | KC Kingdom

Could the KC Chiefs bring back Alex Okafor?

First of all, Okafor has familiarity. We’ve already established that he played for Kansas City the past couple years so he knows the system. Sometimes I feel like that “knowing the system” is a bit of an overstated reasoning but I do think there’s some weight to that statement because defensive line coach Brendan Daly and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo run some very complicated stunts and packages that take some time to learn.

Around the NFL

Tom Brady led Buccaneers to Super Bowl LV win on completely torn MCL | NFL.com

Tom Brady’s knee ailment, which was described as minor and addressed with an operation that was referred to as a “clean-up,” was actually much more serious than the quarterback and the Buccaneers led everyone to believe. Brady dealt with a fully torn MCL during the Bucs’ 2020 Super Bowl-winning season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, per sources informed of the situation.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud was the first to report Brady had sustained an MCL injury.

Despite the injury, Brady still threw for 4,633 passing yards, posted a 65.7 completion percentage and a 40-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the regular season. He followed that up with another 1,061 yards and a 10-3 TD-INT ratio in the playoffs, leading the Buccaneers to a resounding victory over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV while wearing a brace on his left knee.

Carolina Panthers, OT Taylor Moton reach four-year, $72M extension, NFL sources say | ESPN

The Carolina Panthers and offensive tackle Taylor Moton agreed to a mammoth four-year, $72 million extension that includes $43 million guaranteed at signing, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.

The blockbuster deal, announced by the team only as a multiyear extension, beats Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline for franchise players to sign extensions.

Moton became the fourth of the 10 players to receive the franchise tag this year to reach a long-term contract, joining the Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons.

Free-agent CB Richard Sherman released, now facing four misdemeanors | NFL.com

Richard Sherman, a free-agent cornerback and 10-year NFL veteran, has been released from King County (Wash.) Correctional Facility following a King County judge’s order of his release without bail Thursday.

Sherman is now scheduled to appear in court Friday at 8:30 a.m. PT for a second hearing to face four misdemeanor charges — criminal trespass (domestic violence designation), malicious mischief, DUI and resisting arrest — stemming from a Wednesday arrest.

Justin Houston receives interest from numerous teams in free agency | Arrowhead Addict

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston was one of the team’s most feared pass rushers for several years before being allowed to leave in free agency just a couple years ago. Now in the twilight of his career, a reunion with the Chiefs could make sense to rebuild some bridges and meet a team need.

Then again, other teams are certainly willing to get in the way.

According to NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, Houston has no shortage of suitors right now. Despite waiting around in free agency to sign with a new team, Houston is apparently taking a patient approach himself. In short, we shouldn’t be so quick to read into the absence of a signing on his part. Of course, all of this is likely agent-speak to La Canfora, who is parroting talking points to make it sound as if Houston is in great demand.

Five NFL quarterbacks at risk of taking a big step backward in 2021: All eyes on Derek Carr, Matt Ryan | CBS Sports

Derek Carr

The typical NFL quarterback sees a fairly dramatic drop-off when operating under pressure, compared to what he does from a clean pocket. Over the last four seasons, the league average quarterback rating has dropped 34.6 points when the passer was pressured, according to Tru Media. Carr’s passer rating, however, has dropped 41 points in the same situations. He’s been more turnover prone than the average pressured quarterback — and less likely to throw a touchdown.

On top of that, the Raiders just traded or cut three of his five starting offensive linemen, despite the fact he was being pressured at a below-average rate in each of the last four seasons. (And far below average last year.) The Raiders also have one of the league’s weakest pass-catching groups outside of star tight end Darren Waller. (Who is this team’s No. 1 receiver? Is it Hunter Renfrow?) Jon Gruden is a good play-caller and should give Carr some opportunities, but this roster is not one that is very well positioned for Carr to succeed.

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