During the offseason, attempting to “find voids” in his game, as he put it, Kelce identified a particular area.
More specifically, Kelce hopes to become a better run blocker. Even as Pro Football Focus grades Kelce as the best overall tight end — and by a considerable margin, at that — they haven’t been kind in his blocking snaps, rating him well below average.
He’s identified it, too.
“I always have to be better in the run game — be more accountable in the run game,” Kelce said.
Passing yards: 5,115
Kansas City Chiefs · QB
One of my favorite Mahomes stats — and there are a lot — is that he’s averaged a league-best 9.1 yards per attempt when facing the blitz since 2018, per Next Gen Stats (min. 1,000 attempts). No quarterback has been better when throwing off-platform in that time frame, according to computer vision. Mahomes edges out other top quarterbacks because of what has happened and forecasts to happen in the first 20 plays of a game and on first downs in this Chiefs offense. No team spreads the field vertically or horizontally more than the Chiefs. The downfield chances they take early on set up a different cadence for the rest of the game. With a revamped and improved offensive line, the opportunity to move the ball through the air increases. Mahomes is the only QB projected to average at least 300 passing yards per game.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has certainly noticed some differences in Hardman’s approach as he enters his third season with the team.
“Yeah with Mecole (Hardman), the maturity I guess you would say of how he practices, how he goes about his business is completely different,” Mahomes told reporters on Friday. “I mean we’ve always seen the talent; we’ve always seen the speed and the way he’s able to make plays happen. Him being so comfortable with the offense and with just how we do things, I think it’s going to take his game to a new level.
Patrick Mahomes throwing behind the back passes on the money at camp today pic.twitter.com/AmgWhj44ZL— Braiden Turner (@bturner23) August 3, 2021
Opposing defenses can’t possibly prepare for the eventuality of Mahomes throwing a pass behind his back, right?
Mahomes seems to prepare for any eventuality, so he could maybe use a fake behind-the-back pass as a way to fool the defense.
3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs may have the best wide receiver-tight end tandem in the league in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Hill is nearly unstoppable down the field; he could even dominate as a possession receiver if that was the desired role. Since 2017, Hill has over 700 more yards on deep passes than any other receiver in the league.
Kelce is one of the best mismatch weapons in the league and incredibly ranked second in the NFL with 1,416 receiving yards a year ago. The Chiefs rightfully use Kelce all over the formation, and he’s dominant both as a route-runner and after the catch.
The question in Kansas City is what happens after the big two. Mecole Hardman has sprinkled in his fair share of big plays out of the slot and on gimmick plays. Demarcus Robinson has 194 targets since 2017, but he’s yet to grade above 61.9 as a receiver. Byron Pringle also returns after grading at 63.4 and 55.3 as a receiver in each of the last two years, respectively. The Chiefs drafted Cornell Powell in the fifth round, and he has a legitimate opportunity to compete for snaps on the outside right away. He brings good releases and size to the equation and he graded at 75.1 overall last year at Clemson.
Complementing Kelce at tight end is also a priority, and Kansas City also spent a fifth-rounder on Noah Gray from Duke. He’ll battle Nick Keizer and Blake Bell for the backup role.
The Chiefs are as good as it gets at the top of the receiving depth charts, but their dominance will be determined by the development of reliable third and fourth options.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs | 2020 TDs: 5 | 2021 projected TDs: 10
“CEH” was one of fantasy’s biggest busts relative to ADP last season and a lack of TDs were partially to blame. Every back who touched the ball at least 205 times scored at least eight TDs last season ... except CEH, who scored five on 217 touches. The 2020 first-round pick (in fantasy and reality) is proof that landing with a great offense isn’t a free pass to the end zone, but he’s also a strong candidate for a massive rebound in his second season.
All concert guests will be asked to wear a mask when entering or spending time inside enclosed public areas of the stadium, unless actively eating or drinking. These areas include the CommunityAmerica Club Level, the Ford Founder’s Club, the Foolish Lounge, the Broadcast Lounge, the Signature Suite Lounge, the Locker Room Club and the Chiefs Pro Shop. Masks will be made available to concert guests who do not supply their own as they enter enclosed spaces of the stadium.
Around the NFL
“Relationships aren’t formed in a matter of a couple days,” Rodgers said Wednesday of Gutekunst, who has been the GM since 2018 and on the Packers scouting staff since 1998. “There’s time where the respect grows and the communication follows. I think the greatest relationships that you have with your friends and loved ones involved conversation and flow. You can not talk to a close friend for a few months and pick up right where you left off. There’s no break in communication, there’s no forced conversations or you’ve got to hit this person up because it’s on your to-do list that day.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians will be joining Brady at the enshrinement ceremony. Arians coached Manning in the quarterback’s first three professional seasons in Indianapolis, which included a rookie campaign in which Manning led the league in interceptions thrown with 28.
The struggles didn’t last long for Manning, who reversed his rookie-year performance by throwing 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while helping the Colts finish with a 13-3 mark in 1999. Arians and Manning parted ways after one more season, and it wouldn’t be long before Manning and Brady began a rivalry that would last for more than a decade.
Manning and Brady are only a year apart in age and two in draft class, yet Manning has been retired for five years, earning first-ballot status when he was selected to the Class of 2021. His choice was nothing but a formality, as he and Brady dominated the debate over who held the title of the best quarterback in the league during much of their respective careers. Often, it came down to one simple question: Manning or Brady?
Washington has banned fans from wearing Native American headdresses or face paint to games at FedEx Field this season, the team announced Wednesday.
Washington will hold a practice at the stadium Friday with approximately 20,000 fans expected. It will be the biggest crowd since the home finale in 2019, which means it will be the largest gathering in the stadium since the organization announced in July 2020 it was dropping its former name and seeking a new one. It will be known as the Football Team for 2021, with the permanent name being announced “early in 2022,” according to team president Jason Wright. He has said they don’t want to announce the name until they also have settled on a logo and a new branding of the organization as well as completing the trademark process.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Will the Chiefs run more gap-scheme runs like Guard-Tackle counter this season?
They should, at least.
The zone-run scheme is usually run by teams that may not have the most physically-dominant offensive line. Zone allows the linemen to get to a spot and be more of a blockade for the defensive lineman to get through rather than having to move the defender out of the way — especially as an interior offensive lineman.
That’s exactly why the Chiefs have been able to succeed with low-investment in their center and guard positions. This year, they flipped the script and signed one of the best, most proven guards in the league — Joe Thuney — and drafted strong, powerful players in center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith.
On top of that, they traded for left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.; not only is he a mountain of a man, he has experience as a puller in a gap-run scheme from his time with the Baltimore Ravens.
A tweet to make you think
"We're gonna be boxing. You and me, 95." Spags had the mic at practice. pic.twitter.com/VdjGLNbeAf— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 4, 2021