Super Bowl Win Probability: 14%
Highest-Graded Player: TE Travis Kelce (93.5)
Super Bowl Win Probability: 15%
Highest-Graded Player: QB Tom Brady (92.5)
Super Bowl Win Probability: 7%
Highest-Graded Player: QB Josh Allen (90.9)
“It’s probably one of my most important seasons,” Hardman said. “I think it’s up to me personally to do what I need to do and take advantage of every opportunity that’s given to me and gain the trust of the coaches, the rest of the staff and Pat and my teammates and just show them I can be a viable asset every Sunday or whatever day we’re playing on.
“It’s kind of that time to just take those challenges head on and try to prove myself.”
Kansas City Chiefs
Year 1: 13 games | 181 att | 803 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 4 rush TDs | 36 rec | 297 rec yds | 1 rec TD
The final pick in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, CEH came out of the gate like a bat out of hell to start his rookie campaign. Damien Williams opted out of the 2020 season, which created more opportunities for CEH, who led the NFL in scrimmage yards through Week 6 (682). His workload decreased significantly with Le’Veon Bell’s arrival in Week 7. He averaged 21.3 touches per game before Bell arrived and just 12.7 after he arrived. But with Bell now out of town and not looking back, CEH should be featured behind the Chiefs’ overhauled offensive line, a unit that projects to be better in the run game than in pass pro. (Sorry, Patrick Mahomes.) But opportunity is the name of the game in Kansas City’s loaded offense. Should CEH get a sizable number of touches, he’ll no doubt break 1,000 yards rushing. But it all depends on the play calls.
Don’t count the team on ESPN’s “Get Up!” among those people. Beckham was the subject of conversation late last week as Mike Greenberg and a team of analysts assessed whether OBJ’s return from injury makes the Browns a serious contender in the AFC.
“He makes the difference for the AFC,” said analyst and former football executive Mike Tannebaum. “He can make the one or two plays a game that can take Cleveland above Kansas City. He’s Tyreek Hill. He’s that dynamic.”
The sixth-round pick and the final pick of the Chiefs’ 2021 NFL Draft, Smith is so affordable because rookie contracts are slotted according to draft position.
His contract with the Kansas City Chiefs is a four-year deal worth $3.6 million, and this season he will earn a base salary of $660,000 and a signing bonus of $130,708. (The minimum salary for a rookie in 2021 is $660,000.)
Despite the Chiefs’ minimal investment, head coach Andy Reid said the consistency of the lineman drafted 226th overall led to him playing on the first-string team.
“He showed enough to legitimately be in that position for right now,” Reid said. “He’s done a nice job.”
1.09: Travis Kelce, TE, KC
1.10: Tyreek Hill, WR, KC
1.11: George Kittle, TE, SF
1.12: Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC
Elite Tight Ends Carry Elite Price Tags
The first big surprise of this draft came when San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle came off the board in Round 1. A healthy Kittle could challenge Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs for the title of fantasy’s top option at the position, but after missing half of the 2020 season, durability is a significant concern for the fifth-year veteran.
Around the NFL
The initial timeframe for recovery is a wide window between 5-12 weeks, per Reich. The massive range which could have him back by the start of the regular season or out until late October underscores the uncertainty in rehab.
“The 5-12 week spectrum is real. We don’t know,” the coach said.
Reich noted that Wentz had an old foot injury dating back to perhaps high school, according to doctors, and over time the broken bone came loose, causing pain. The surgery will remove the bone.
The decision to undergo surgery came a day after the Colts QB planned to try rest and rehab instead of a procedure. Less than 24 hours later, Wentz reversed course. The quarterback suffered the injury Thursday last week and met with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson to determine the course of action.
Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown missed his third straight practice Monday with a hamstring injury. He got through only one full team practice before leaving Thursday’s practice early for what was initially described as precautionary reasons.
“It turned out to be worse than what they told me it was going to be,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after Monday’s practice.
Harbaugh gave no timetable for Brown’s return, saying, “He’s out until he’s back.”
If Smith indeed misses more than a week, he’ll likely be out for the club’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 12.
Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner who led Alabama to a national championship last year, was selected No. 10 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Size and durability were the lone pre-draft concerns on Smith, a spindly 170 pounds on a 6-foot frame. He enjoyed a relatively healthy college career, although a finger injury suffered in his last college game prevented him from competing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. If there’s a positive in Smith’s absence, it’s perhaps the familiarity he has with Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts — the two were teammates at Alabama for two years.
Mayock, 62, is currently working from home.
“Very grateful that I am vaccinated as I could very easily be in a hospital rather than working comfortably from home,” Mayock said in a statement obtained by Rapoport.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Mike Hughes vs Deandre Baker
We think that L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward are locked in as the starting outside corners in the base defense — but after that, there’s plenty of intrigue. Both Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker are getting substantial opportunities to play on the outside when Sneed moves to the inside in subpackages.
Interestingly, incumbent Rashad Fenton is only seeing action as the slot corner on the second team. With Fenton, the Chiefs has shown a level of comfort that led many of us to believe he’d have a more substantial role this season. Perhaps Fenton is viewed as more of a known quantity; the team is just getting a good look at the newcomers.
Prediction: Sneed and Ward will be on the outside. When Sneed slides inside for nickel sets, Baker is the next man up.
And his position coaches: Dave Merritt and Sam Madison, whom he praised as ex-players.
“The biggest thing with those two guys is that they’re of one accord,” Parks noted. “It makes it easy for you to adjust your playbook — especially in a playbook like this — [and] it makes your job a whole lot easier.”
But most of all, Parks said he is enjoying the chemistry he’s seeing all around him.
“I think the best thing about being here is the camaraderie of the locker room,” he said. “It’s a lot of togetherness in there — a lot of guys with smiling faces every day. Guys come in and work. Being around Tyrann Mathieu [is] one of those things that’s kind of a joy to me. He’s one of my favorite guys in the league.”
In fact, Parks said that he’s been keeping a close eye on Mathieu for quite a while.
“I always watched his game — and quite frankly, he watched me play, too,” he said proudly. “So that’s exciting, having a guy like that say, ‘Yo, you can play football.’ We’ve been pretty much close ever since I came here through OTAs. I almost slept in his room two nights ago before curfew, too — so that’s just how much we’ve been bonding here. So I’m excited.”
A tweet to make you think
Willie Gay. That’s the tweet.— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) August 2, 2021