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Arrowheadlines: Chiefs must re-imagine defense, says Gregg Rosenthal

Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, February 9

NFL: JAN 30 AFC Conference Championship - Bengals at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The latest

How each AFC team can supplant the Bengals at Super Bowl LVII | NFL.com

The Kansas City Chiefs must: re-imagine the defense.

The Chiefs did a great job fixing their offensive line last year. While left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is a free agent, they should be able to re-sign him or use the franchise tag. The defense is the bigger issue. Frank Clark is a strong candidate to be cut because of his contract and declining play. Tyrann Mathieu, Jarran Reed, Melvin Ingram, Charvarius Ward and Daniel Sorensen all played starter snaps for the Chiefs and are headed for free agency. Expect a lot of turnover, with Mathieu a priority to re-sign.

Why lateral step may be best for Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy | Kansas City Star

At this point of having done the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results — a definition of insanity — this could be the best way for Bieniemy to proceed:

Be willing and ready to leave the Chiefs and go perform the same job for another NFL team.

And the Chiefs should help him do that.

Mostly because a lateral step now could reconfigure his chances of a giant leap later.

This is why: It’s a widely held perception that this offense is blueprinted and animated by Reid, not Bieniemy, whose role gets murky in the collaborative nature of play design and vagueness over who calls what plays when.

Any potential employer has to wonder how much of what we’ve seen is Bieniemy’s craft and how much is carrying out the vision of Reid, long understood to be an innovator.

Moreover, when you consider that Bieniemy’s four seasons as offensive coordinator have coincided with Patrick Mahomes’ four sensational seasons as QB1, it’s reasonable to wonder what begins and ends where.

Re-draft of the 2021 NFL draft: New picks for the first two rounds | ESPN

58. Kansas City Chiefs (via BAL)

Original pick: Nick Bolton, LB
New pick: Spencer Brown, OT

In this draft, the Chiefs can’t get Bolton or either of their two rookie offensive linemen, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. So the pick here is Brown, who had a promising rookie season for the Bills and could fill a void on the Kansas City line.

63. Kansas City Chiefs

Original pick: Creed Humphrey, C
New pick: Baron Browning, LB

Because the Chiefs can’t get Nick Bolton in this scenario, they go for linebacker help in Browning, who had 58 tackles for the Broncos as a rookie.

Ranking every Super Bowl QB matchup | CBS Sports

1. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes, Super Bowl LV
Feb 7, 2021: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9

No, this is not a prisoner-of-the-moment situation. And though the game didn’t play out as one of the best, the QB matchup is our No. 1. Widely considered to be the NFL’s best quarterback, Mahomes is the youngest player in NFL history to win regular season and Super Bowl MVP trophies. And while he didn’t make it back to the big game this season, Mahomes was named to his fourth Pro Bowl while leading the Chiefs to a fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance.

The 44-year-old Brady capped off his career with a jaw-dropping 2021 season that saw him lead the league in passing yards and touchdown passes. A member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, Brady is widely considered to be the greatest quarterback who has ever played the position. He’s also the greatest Super Bowl quarterback of all-time, with 10 appearances, seven rings and five Super Bowl MVPs to boot. His three touchdown passes in last year’s Super Bowl propelled the Buccaneers to an upset win over the defending champions.

9. Bart Starr vs. Len Dawson, Super Bowl I
Jan. 15, 1967: Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10

The first Super Bowl featured two of the best quarterbacks of their era. The NFL’s MVP that season, Starr won his first of two consecutive Super Bowl MVPs after leading the Packers to a 35-10 win over the Chiefs. Starr won five titles in Green Bay and is the last quarterback to lead his team to three consultive titles. Dawson, who won MVP honors in Kansas City’s win over Minnesota in Super Bowl IV, was a three-time AFL champion and a seven-time Pro Bowler. Both quarterbacks are members of the Hall of Fame.

Biggest Super Bowl turning point in each of the first 55 | CBS Sports

Super Bowl LIV: Chiefs 31, 49ers 20

In what was their trademark, the 2019 Chiefs capped off their Super Bowl run with one last comeback against the 49ers. Down 20-10, Patrick Mahomes’ 44-yard completion to Tyreek Hill opened the door for a 21-point fourth quarter. Mahomes’ two touchdown passes gave Kansas City the lead, while Damien Williams’ 38-yard romp with 1:20 left capped off the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl win in 50 years.

Super Bowl LV: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9

As he did many times during his career, Tom Brady made the opposition pay at the end of the first half in what was his final Super Bowl. Aided by a 34-yard pass interference penalty, Brady gave the Buccaneers a 21-6 halftime lead with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, Brady’s third touchdown pass of the half.

Super Bowl IV: Chiefs 23, Vikings 7

With their offense stuck in neutral, Minnesota’s defense begrudgingly allowed three Jan Stenerud field goals in the game’s first 23 minutes. But the Vikings’ defense — led by future league MVP Alan Page — finally gave up a touchdown after Charlie West’s fumble on Kansas City’s ensuing kickoff following Stenerud’s third field goal. Mike Garrett’s 5-yard touchdown on a play called “65 Toss Power Trap” gave the Chiefs a 16-0 lead that proved insurmountable.

Around the NFL

Giants hiring Don ‘Wink’ Martindale as defensive coordinator | NFL.com

The Giants are planning to hire Martindale as their defensive coordinator, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources informed of the situation.

Martindale was New York’s first external choice, per Rapoport, and after Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left for Las Vegas, New York turned to Martindale. The former Ravens defensive coordinator parted ways with Baltimore after 10 seasons with the team in late January, leaving him free to seek employment elsewhere.

He’ll resume his coaching career with a Giants squad that finished 21st in total defense in 2021 and is taking its first steps in a new era under head coach Brian Daboll. New York’s defense was the better part of its team in the last two seasons, finishing 12th in 2020 before taking a step backward in 2021, and it promises to be more aggressive under Martindale in 2022.

Jaguars plan to hire Buccaneers’ Mike Caldwell as defensive coordinator | ESPN

Caldwell, 50, will become the first coordinator hired to new head coach Doug Pederson’s staff, and a deal between Caldwell and the Jaguars should be done within the next several days.

The news was first reported by NFL Network.

Caldwell has spent the past 15 years as an assistant coach in the NFL after spending 11 years in the league as a linebacker with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears. He was drafted in the third round by the Browns in 1993.

Caldwell spent the past three seasons with the Bucs under coordinator Todd Bowles. Caldwell was Bowles’ assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach when Bowles was the head coach of the New York Jets 2015-18.

Steelers to interview Louis Riddick for general manager position | NFL.com

Former Pitt Panther Louis Riddick is in the running to return to Pittsburgh as general manager of the Steelers.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Riddick is scheduled to interview for the Steelers’ GM job, per sources informed of the situation.

The current ESPN commentator last worked in the NFL as the Eagles director of pro personnel in 2013.

Riddick played as a safety at Pitt before being selected late in the 1991 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. After his NFL playing career ended, he joined Washington’s front office for seven seasons, beginning in 2001, before jumping to Philadelphia, where he was with the Eagles for six years [including time there with Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid].

Jalen Ramsey ‘of course’ lobbying to shadow Ja’Marr Chase in Super Bowl LVI | NFL.com

Asked Monday if he’s lobbied to shadow Chase, Ramsey replied, “Of course,” but noted he’s ready for whatever the coaches ask.

“It’s me now, it’s me, keep it real,” Ramsey said, via ESPN. “Of course, that’s what I’m asking for. That’s what I want. Whoever you think their best man is, put me on him. Let me help the team win this game. That’s what it’s all about.

“There are different areas where we might have to do something different because it might put the team in a better position to win. So, wherever the game may take us, it will take us and we are going to do what we’ve got to do from there. But you’re going to get to see that matchup, you’re going to have the opportunity to see it, and I’m going to be ready for it.”

Tom Brady ‘happy’ with decision to retire from NFL, but ‘never say never’ | ESPN

“I’m just going to take things as they come. I think that’s the best way to put it, and I don’t think anything, you know, you never say never,” Brady told Jim Gray on their “Let’s Go!” podcast Monday. “At the same time, I know that ... I feel very good about my decision. I don’t know how I’ll feel six months from now.

“I try to make the best possible decision I can in the moment, which I did this last week. And, again, I think it’s not looking to reverse course. I’m definitely not looking to do that. But in the same time, I think you have to be realistic that you never know what challenges there are going to be in life. Again, I loved playing. I’m looking forward to doing things other than playing. That’s as honest as I can be with you there.”

The comments by Brady, who would still be under contract with the Bucs if he did opt to return in 2022, came six days after he announced he was retiring. They also came on the one-year anniversary of him winning the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

How the Chiefs can bolster their defensive line this offseason

Teams can truly never have enough pass rushers — it isn’t hyperbole. When we examine Super Bowl champions and even runner-ups of the past decade, these rosters almost always include six, seven or even eight good defensive linemen by the time the playoffs begin.

This is brought up because even if Veach does add several good defensive linemen during the initial phases of free agency, it doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t still be a top priority early in the draft. Early indications are that this draft class is relatively deep with quality defensive linemen as teams work through the entirety of the first round. Every year, it is challenging to find dynamic pass rushers after the first 40 to 50 picks.

If Kansas City is open to taking an edge rusher or defensive tackle when they pick in the first round — currently slotted for pick No. 30 — some names to watch include Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State), Travon Walker and Devonte Wyatt (Georgia), David Ojabo (Michigan), Cameron Thomas (San Diego State), Boye Mafe (Minnesota), Kingsley Enagbare (South Carolina), and Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State).

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