Quarterback guru Tom House recently has dubbed USC quarterback Caleb Williams the second coming of Patrick Mahomes. Williams does not disagree with that assessment.
“It’s pretty cool, I’d say, just because everybody watches Patrick and sees all the cool things he can do,” Williams said, via Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio. “I always said even in high school that I don’t think there’s anything — obviously, he’s special, but I don’t think there’s anything that I can’t do that he’s doing out there.”
Williams will be eligible to enter the NFL draft in 2024. He could be one of the most soft-after players in league history.
Former (and future) NFL coach Sean Payton recently dubbed Williams a “generational player,” adding that Williams could be the player who helps spark a draft lottery. He also could be the next player to do what John Elway and Eli Manning did. But that will be the subject of another post.
The Broncos are the only team in the NFL that has not won a game in their division. Including this Sunday’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, three out of Denver’s last five games will be against divisional opponents, including the Los Angeles Chargers.
Surely Wilson would know what to say about the Chiefs’ continued bullying of the Broncos. That’s why the man was brought to Denver in the first place, to compete with Mahomes and be the next installment of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning in this era.
But like his head coach, Wilson’s underwhelming response made him sound oblivious to Kansas City’s 13-game winning streak.
“This game of football isn’t necessarily all about the past. It’s about the present,” Wilson said Wednesday at UCHealth Training Center. “That’s the great thing about the game. What can we do to go against a really good football team and get a win at home in front of our fans and for our team? It definitely matters to us. We have to set the tone early and often. It’s a four-quarter game, and we have to play all four quarters of it. They do a really good job of making their plays, and we have to do that, too.”
Forgive my frustrated and impatient tone — I need a translation of Wilson’s answer, please. The most consistent element of his first year in Denver has been talking about his past experiences and successes, yet the Broncos have only scored three touchdowns since Halloween.
Rank 1: Kansas City Chiefs — 9-3 · 1st in AFC West
Despite having dropped three straight games to the Bengals in 12 months’ time, the Chiefs remain a viable threat to supplant them as AFC Super Bowl representatives. With the most talented quarterback in the league, Andy Reid’s team can never be discounted. As a dynamic dual-threat quarterback with A+ arm talent and athleticism, Patrick Mahomes terrorizes opponents when operating on or off script. He forces the defense to defend every blade of grass, given his ability to make every throw in the book from the pocket or on the move. With a dynamic collection of playmakers on the perimeter — headlined by all-world TE Travis Kelce — the Chiefs have enough firepower to put up a 40-burger on anyone when the offense is rolling.
If Steve Spagnuolo’s defense shows up and shows out behind the stellar play of certified game-wrecker Chris Jones and emerging-star LB Nick Bolton, the Chiefs have the capacity to slow the game down and win a competitive matchup in the fourth quarter behind spectacular quarterbacking from a five-star playmaker in the clutch.
After spending time at Rice University as an offensive quality control coach, former Chiefs WR Samie Parker is set to join the North Alabama Lions football coaching staff under head coach Brent Dearmon as their wide receiver coach. The team announced his hiring on Thursday night.
“Samie will be a huge asset to our program and wide receiver room,” said Dearmon, via press release. “He is a former NFL player and is known for his wide receiver development.”
A fourth-round pick out of Oregon by Kansas City in 2004, Parker spent four seasons with the Chiefs. He started 31 games and appeared in 47, catching passes from Trent Green, Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle during his career. He’d finish his time in Kansas City with 110 catches for 1,529 yards and seven touchdowns.
Parker began his coaching career back in 2015 when he worked at Fort Valley State as the team’s WRs coach and special teams coordinator. He’s twice interned with the Chiefs under Andy Reid (2016, 2018). He’s also spent time at Whittier College as a WRs coach and passing game coordinator. In 2020, he was a coach with The Spring League, working with WRs, TEs and return specialists. In 2021, he worked at Washington State University as a recruiting assistant.
It’s hard to overstate just how bad the Broncos offense has been this season, and quarterback Russell Wilson has been part of the problem, not the solution. Wilson holds onto the ball too long but no longer has the elusiveness he once did to make it effective. He has the 10th most time to throw among all quarterbacks, yet he’s been sacked the second most. Which makes that the most intriguing matchup within the matchup, given the Chiefs just faced a quarterback who is sacked frequently and got to him just one time.
For all of the putrid metrics regarding the Broncos’ passing game, their running game is actually even worse. Football Outsiders ranks the Broncos as the eighth-worst passing offense and the fifth-worst rushing attack.
The defense tells a contrasting story, and if the Broncos have any chance whatsoever at an upset, you’ll have to point to the secondary as your reasoning. The Broncos are pretty stacked on the back end. Pro Football Focus grades Denver as the best coverage team in the league.
In other words, we have an explanation for why the over/under sits at just 44 points.
The Broncos will again be without one of their top playmakers Sunday against the Chiefs.
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton will not play after suffering a hamstring injury against the Ravens last week and not practicing this week. Denver has had a handful of injuries at receiver this season, with KJ Hamler possibly out for the season and Jerry Jeudy, who has missed two games. Jeudy is expected to play Sunday, but might be limited with a lingering ankle injury.
With Sutton out, the Broncos will turn to Kendall Hinton, Montrell Washington, Brandon Johnson and Jalen Virgil — three rookies and Hinton, who was undrafted in 2020 and has only been playing receiver for four years.
“They know the intent; they know the mindset,” coach Nathaniel Hackett said of the young receivers. “We just have to be sure we’re playing at a high level with these guys. They’re working their tails off. I seriously give them so much credit.”
The Broncos will also be without tight end Andrew Beck (hamstring) and linebacker Dakota Allen (hamstring). And linebacker Justin Strnad (knee), defensive tackle D.J. Jones (shoulder) and left guard Dalton Risner (shoulder/back) are all listed as questionable. Jones and Risner would obviously be key losses as starters — especially Risner, who is the only offensive lineman to start every game this season for the Broncos.
Around the NFL
Jackson is expected to be out “days to weeks” as a result of his injury, as Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters after the Ravens’ 10-9 win over the Broncos.
“It’s not a season-ending type of knee,” he said of Jackson’s injury. “We’ll get more tests tomorrow to let you know how long it’s gonna be. . . It’s gonna be a number. Day to weeks. We’ll see if he can go back this week. If not, it’ll be sometime after that shortly.”
That initial timeline was vague, but Harbaugh did give a slightly more definitive answer on Friday. Jackson was downgraded to doubtful on the injury report, and Harbaugh said it “looks like it’s going to be Tyler Huntley” Sunday vs. the Steelers.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Jackson has a sprained PCL, which typically sidelines players for one to three weeks.
So, it looks like Jackson will miss at least one game. Still, Ravens fans will take comfort in knowing that their quarterback should have a chance to return this season, barring a setback.
Per Anderson, the Gints are keeping their offer to Beckham the same. Another team is also involved in the Beckham pursuit, as the Baltimore Ravens put their end-of-week visit on hold while Beckham Jr. regroups and stays connected with the team.
Essentially, Beckham appears no where near close toward signing with a team or his market isn’t as strong as he once thought.
Beckham certainly didn’t help matters earlier this week. While appearing on “The Shop,” Beckham was asked if he’s already decided on a team, and if he’s ready to play after tearing his ACL 10 months ago in the Super Bowl.
"I'm not saying I couldn't step in and play regular season, but I don't see the point."@obj talks more about his playing future this season.— NFL On Prime Video (@NFLonPrime) December 9, 2022
: @Raiders vs. @RamsNFL#TNFonPrime | Watch #TNFinTheShop NOW on @PrimeVideo pic.twitter.com/RKGJrbsrq6
“I haven’t made the decision, and for me it’s like, I would like to be in a stable environment, get up [at] 6 a.m., leave at 6 p.m. for four weeks and then let’s talk about it,” Beckham said. “I’ve played football for a long time. I’m not saying that I couldn’t step in and play regular season, but I don’t see the point. I really don’t. I’d rather play when that pressure’s on. I’d rather play when the lights [are] on. I went through the whole playoffs and after having my first bad playoff experience, all I was ready for was to clear that off my name.”
This week’s NFL ratings will show that an average of around 8 million people watched Thursday night’s Rams-Raiders classic on Amazon Prime Video. But when Baker Mayfield started the Rams’ penultimate drive, down 16-3 with just over 12 minutes left in the game, the entire viewing audience probably consisted entirely of Rams fans, Raiders fans, desperate Thursday night gamblers and me … and I was paying about as much attention to the game as Al Michaels, who sounded like he was phoning it in from the Men’s Grill at Riviera.
And then, sports did what sports does, enrapturing all 38 of us still watching what had been, up to then, messy roadkill of a game. You wouldn’t watch a crappy three-hour movie on the off chance the final 10 minutes would be exceptional. You wouldn’t sit through a godawful meal hoping that a strong dessert would redeem it all. But a three-hour football game – four if we’re talking college – might deliver something we’ve never seen before ... like a quarterback leaping off the plane and rallying his new team to a dramatic victory.
Mayfield — who touched down in Los Angeles exactly 46 hours prior to kickoff — navigated the Rams over 173 yards in two drives that ended in touchdowns, the capper a brilliant 23-yard touchdown pass that nestled in Van Jefferson’s arms as gently as if Mayfield was handing over a baby. Just like that, the woeful defending Super Bowl champions had a most unexpected victory, and everyone outside of Raiders fans — and anyone who picked Vegas to cover — went to bed happy.
This was the second straight NFL game where a quarterback orchestrated a masterful comeback from a 16-3 deficit. But Monday night’s game had Tom Brady in the pocket, so the question wasn’t really if he’d come back to beat the Saints, just how much time he’d need to do it. (Two minutes and 20 seconds, as it turned out.)
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
What is the island?
The reason that most left tackles are paid so high in the NFL is that they protect their quarterback’s blind spots, but they also receive the least amount of help. This help comes from chip blocks from running backs or tight ends, which can help give their tackles more time to pass protect.
Deep ball attempt to 11 followed by the deep ball completion. 83 in to help vs 91 on the edge before releasing into his route. 57 pushes the edge past 15. Next play KC has six to protect, Cincy brings seven. 57 initially gets hands-on 91 but then goes to take the widest rusher. pic.twitter.com/EOq40mnZ6U— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) December 6, 2022
While reviewing the film and taking notes, I counted 11 instances in which Brown received some form of help from either a back or tight end in protection. This was 19% of snaps.
This is not totally uncommon for an average tackle, but the way he is perceived based on the contract situation from this summer does not do him any favors when it comes to evaluating his performance.
A tweet to make you think
Trent McDuffie this season:— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 10, 2022
• 200 coverage snaps
• 22 targets
• 12 receptions allowed (105 yards)
• 5 PD
• PFF’s 2nd highest graded rookie CB
The Chiefs rookie CB has been on LOCKDOWN pic.twitter.com/tXNvtXzDnc