The Chiefs added many new names on the offensive line with hopes of solidifying the position. The new teammates are still building chemistry together in the early days of training camp, but Duvernay-Tardif feels they’ll be better as padded practices begin next week.
“I mean, it’s still a process. It’s always a process, especially because of the fact that I haven’t played for the last year, but I feel pretty good,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “Today was a good day and we just keep on building, and next week we’re going to put the pads on. And I’m looking forward to that. It’s really when you know where you’re at, you know?”
After a year away from the game, Duvernay-Tardif is finding it a bit more difficult to get back into the swing of things. But what is the most challenging to the eight-year veteran in his return to play?
“Everything, to be honest,” Duvernay-Tardif explained. “It’s always a challenge. Training camp is hard, physically and mentally. We’ve been pretty lucky that we’ve had some pretty good weather, other than it was a little hot at the beginning. It’s just making sure you compete every day. Show up with a great attitude. We have a really competitive group this year, and I think that it’s my job to show that I can still play, and I want to play.”
If the Chiefs are about to move away a bit from inside and outside zone to more of a power/counter/trap/pull man-on-man series of blocking schemes, they couldn’t have done much better from a personnel perspective than Brown and Humphrey. Last season, per Sports Info Solutions, the Ravens ran more straight-up man-on-man stuff, and power blocking with pulling guards, than any other NFL team, and it wasn’t particularly close — 363 snaps.. The Patriots ranked second with 256 overall. In the run game on those concepts, Baltimore led the league with 313 rushing attempts for a league-leading 1,899 yards, a league-leading 862 yards after contact, a league-leading 105 first downs, and a league-leading 15 touchdowns.
The Chiefs weren’t even in the ballpark — they had 102 rushing attempts on such concepts for 497 yards, 201 yards after contact, 31 first downs, and three touchdowns. Obviously, Baltimore’s run game is more complex, and far more of a staple than Kansas City’s, but you can’t blame Andy Reid for wanting to flip the script, if that’s the idea
24. Lucas Niang, OT, Kansas City Chiefs
Age: 23 | Drafted: 2020, pick 96 | 0 offensive snaps
Coming out of TCU, Niang was regarded as pro-ready and a “help-now” right tackle prospect by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. Niang didn’t work out at the combine but had 75th percentile or better rankings at 6-foot-6 with 34 1/4-inch arm length and 10 1/2-inch hands. He didn’t do any draft workouts after surgery to repair a torn hip labrum but was still considered a top-100 pick and roughly a back-of-the-top-10 tackle by most draftniks.
Niang comes back this year, along with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, to a team that has gone hog-wild on offensive line this offseason. We know that Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney are starting, and Niang is likely battling with Kyle Long and Mike Remmers at right tackle. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid complemented Niang at OTAs by saying “He has these beautiful feet. I look forward to getting him back in the pads at training camp and moving around and doing what offensive linemen do, the real football part of it.” There’s a lot of missed time to make up for, but Niang has the talent to emerge as a starter from that group.
The future at wide receiver
As the team moved on, the Chiefs also made it clear they weren’t set at the position. The team re-signed Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson to remain in-house alongside Mecole Hardman. However, they also chased JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency, and reports had them tied to T.Y. Hilton and Josh Reynolds as well. All three chose other teams.
Since then, the Chiefs have signed fringe roster players (Dalton Schoen, Daurice Fountain, Chris Finke, Darrius Shepherd) and drafted another in the sixth round (Cornell Powell). While some fans are bullish on Powell’s potential, it feels foolish to assume that Veach is suddenly disinterested in a major upgrade at the position after losing out on a few key free agents. At the same time, Veach also didn’t touch a single elite receiver in a deep draft class.
Tom Brady once again comes out on top of the NFL pyramid
The NFL player claiming the #1 spot is undoubtedly the GOAT, Tom Brady. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar led his franchise to their second-ever Super Bowl win and in turn claimed his record-setting seventh Super Bowl ring.
But not far behind him was last season’s Super Bowl runner up Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs QB and Brady have dominated sales dating back to October 2018 with either of the two always claiming the top spot.
Around the NFL
Chubb’s $20 million in guaranteed money is the seventh-highest total in the league among running backs. He will be a free agent again at age 29.
Chubb has been the backbone of the Cleveland offense the past two seasons, averaging 5.25 yards per carry during that span. In 2019, he came within 47 yards of besting Derrick Henry for the rushing title. Last season, Chubb missed four games because of a knee injury, but he still finished seventh in the league with 1,070 rushing yards.
Freeman, 29, visited the team Saturday prior to signing.
The Saints certainly know him well having faced him twice a year as a divisional opponent during his peak years with the Atlanta Falcons. Freeman posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in Atlanta, each ending with a Pro Bowl, in 2015-16. He saw just four starts and 54 carries in his only season with the New York Giants last year, having spent time on the injured reserve list with ankle and hamstring injuries.
At times in the past Edmunds could tend to be too hard on himself. His desire to be great is real. His work ethic is elite. The system and his responsibilities remain unchanged. And his time, quite likely, is coming.
“I’m still a young guy, I’m still just 23, man,” Edmunds told me. “So the sky is the limit as far as how strong I can get, and in the mental aspect of the game I’m still learning. I haven’t reached my full potential yet. I’m still getting stronger. That’s my main focus everyday – continue to improve my numbers in the weight room, improve my mental side out here on the field and in the classroom and just continue to take it day by day.”
This is a significant move for the Ravens, who added the best available pass-rusher to address the biggest hole on their team. Houston, 32, is a four-time Pro Bowl defender who has recorded at least eight sacks in each of the past four seasons.
“He’s a proven player,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I got a chance to talk to him. He really wanted to be here. We have a role for him. He’s got a chance to really help us.”
The Ravens don’t expect Houston to get on the practice field immediately. Houston has to first get vaccinated, Harbaugh said.
“It’s going to be a while,” Harbaugh said.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
FS – Deron Cherry, 1988
It turns out that a lot of bad Chiefs teams have had excellent safeties. Undrafted out of Rutgers, Cherry makes a case to dethrone Brian Waters as the best undrafted player in Chiefs history.
In 1988, Deron Cherry was at the top of his game — and was the best free safety in football. A first-team All-Pro selection, he picked off seven passes and recovered six fumbles. When he was in his prime, there was not a better player at the position.
In 1990, Cherry was selected by Pro Football Hall of Fame voters as a member of the NFL’s 1980s all-decade team. His 50 career interceptions rank third all-time in club history.