Given the miscommunication on the kickoff with 13 seconds on the clock in the Divisional Round loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, which allowed just enough time for Patrick Mahomes to lead a game-tying field goal, the kickoff unit in Buffalo has been under scrutiny this offseason. As a special teams ace, Neal was asked about that miscommunication, but the 27-year-old said the locker room has moved on.
“Be curious,” Neal said, via the team’s official website. “We don’t have to discuss anything with the outside world if we don’t want to. And you know what’s crazy, we don’t even discuss it with each other. That was a play that happened back then. We’ve moved on from it.
“There’s a lot of things in that game that we could have done differently to get the outcome that game and that’s one thing that the staff does here. They put together a team, not just ballplayers. They put together, personality people. They have great personalities. And that’s one thing I love about my teammates. We haven’t got to talk about it.”
“My rookie year was a lot of mental ups and downs and overthinking it for sure,” Allegretti said. “Second year, I progressed a little bit and showed myself really what I can do. Then it’s really been a progression of treating every day like it is my job because it is my job but not stressing everything because I know I’m putting everything I have into every practice, every game, every meeting and knowing I’m living my dream out and having the time of my life on a daily basis. I know there’s a ton of stress that comes with it, but it’s all good stress and really couldn’t be happier to be playing football for a living.”
Kansas City Chiefs: -175
I mean, they have Patrick Mahomes, so it’s a pretty safe bet they’re going to be near the top of the division race yet again. Even without a star quarterback, the team has stars all over the place on offense with Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
They got some studs on defense too with and ranked 8th in the NFL in total defense a year ago. The defense held the team together during the start of 2021 too, as the offense really struggled to get anything going throughout much of the first couple of months of the campaign. Still, even with the slow start they only lost one game to a divisional foe all year.
As long as they can avoid a slow start again, this one could be wrapped up before it begins.
Daxton Hill S
I’ll probably have Daxton Hill to the Chiefs in every mock I do until I know what the future of Tyrann Mathieu holds. If Mathieu leaves Kansas City, Hill makes all the sense in the world as his logical replacement.
It seems very likely that the Chiefs will re-sign Orlando Brown, given what they surrendered to acquire him via trade and how well he played after a bit of a slow start to his first season with the team. If he somehow makes it to unrestricted free agency, he might get the largest deal of any tackle due to his combination of age and performance.
Around the NFL
Earlier this month, Front Office Sports reported Fox and Amazon made overtures to Brady, and ESPN also had interest, though that probably ends with Aikman’s move. Sports media reporter Michael McCarthy speculated a deal for Brady would “blow [Tony] Romo’s out of the water,” to the tune of $20 million to $25 million per year.
Fox, ESPN, Amazon and Brady’s representation at WME all declined comment at the time.
Former Auburn and San Diego Chargers running back Lionel James, who made a name for himself for being unstoppable despite his small stature, died Friday after a lengthy illness, the university said. He was 59.
Auburn announced the death of James, a 5-foot-6 player nicknamed “Little Train,” but provided no additional details.
James played five seasons with the NFL’s Chargers, who have since moved to Los Angeles, after being drafted in the fifth round in 1984. He set an NFL record with 2,535 all-purpose yards in 1985 after leading the Chargers in rushing, receiving and kickoff and punt return yardage.
He led the AFC in receptions that season with 86 while setting the NFL record for receiving yards by a running back with 1,027.
The Colts’ defense finished a decent 16th overall in 2021, but the pass rush was sorely lacking; Indianapolis tied for 25th in sacks (33) and 24th in pressures (157). As great as DeForest Buckner is, it’s not ideal when an interior lineman with seven sacks leads your team in that category. Ogbah, who’s spent the past two seasons in Miami, finished with the 14th-most pressures (54) in the NFL in 2021, per Next Gen Stats, and his 18 sacks over the past two seasons are tied for 10th-most in the league (matching pass-rushing studs like Joey Bosa, Brian Burns and Yannick Ngakoue).
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This sort of preparation and commitment has helped Bolton make a smooth transition from college to the NFL. In his first six games as a member of the Chiefs, Bolton lined up at outside linebacker, but when the Chiefs traveled to Tennessee to face the Titans in Week 7, Bolton got the start at MIKE (middle) linebacker because Anthony Hitchens was injured.
“The Titans game, things starting slowing down a little bit,” Bolton recalled. “I went back to playing MIKE; coming back from the outside, the game started slowing down when you go outside in... I was sinking in a little better, but I’m still trying to get better every week.”
Despite the Chiefs losing, 27-3, Bolton had a team-leading nine tackles in the contest. He finished his rookie season, leading Kansas City in tackles.
A lot of the success Bolton had in his rookie season, he attributed to linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
“Hitch has always been an extension of the coaches to me,” Bolton shared. “He’s been here and done a lot; he’s been here three years, so he already knows the subtle nuances of the scheme. Coming in every single day and learning from him, going out on the field and talking through things, seeing what he sees... Hitchens has been a great vet for me.”
He won’t have Hitchens to lean on next season, though.