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Arrowheadlines: Patrick Mahomes should build on 2021’s improvement from under-center

Chiefs headlines for Thursday, June 16

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NFL: AUG 20 Preseason - Chiefs at Cardinals Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The latest

The Next Phase of the NFL’s Scheme Wars Is Upon Us | The Ringer

The Bills went to heavier formations, with more fullbacks and tight ends; this forced defenses to play more base personnel, which meant more basic coverages that are vulnerable to deep shots. The Chiefs put Mahomes under center more often and called more runs from those looks. After averaging 7.8 under-center runs over the first half of the 2021 season, Kansas City averaged 11.8 over the second half, according to Sports Info Solutions. Mahomes also threw a career-high 71 passes from under-center snaps in 2021. Relatedly, last season also was his most efficient in the play-action game, as he set career highs in both total EPA (41.4) and success rate (58.1 percent), per SIS.

Buffalo and Kansas City’s offseason personnel moves suggest they could borrow from wide zone offenses even more liberally in 2022. The Bills said goodbye to Cole Beasley, who had a pivotal role in their spread formations, and brought in tight end O.J. Howard to play with Dawson Knox. Kansas City shipped away Tyreek Hill, who was all but a nonfactor when the Chiefs lined up under center, and replaced him with two wide receivers (JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling) who are both willing and able to block in the run game.

NFL Network analyst’s 2022 game-by-game picks have Chiefs going first to worst in West | The Kansas City Star

Rank picked the Chiefs to finish last in the AFC West. Here is how he sees the final division standings:

Broncos 12-5

Raiders 12-5

Chargers 11-6

Chiefs 10-7

The other three AFC West teams make the playoffs in Rank’s projection with the Broncos claiming the division title. “So for the first time in years the Kansas City Chiefs, despite winning 10 games, will not make the playoffs,”

Rank said in the video. “You heard it here first. Go ahead and light me up in the comments there. I don’t care.”

Who Is the Best Quarterback of This Era in Passing Situations? | Yahoo Sports

Mahomes Magic

With the historic pace Mahomes has set since entering the NFL, it’s no surprise the man leading the charge for ‘the new generation’ is atop the rankings.

Mahomes has racked up 18,707 passing yards over his first four seasons as a starter, comfortably surpassing the likes of Manning and Rodgers and putting him on track to go down as an all-time great.

His spread value of 6.429 is a product of Mahomes leading the NFL in EVE in three of his four seasons as a starting quarterback, including in a 2021 campaign that saw questions about his and the Kansas City Chiefs’ ability to excel against two-high safety defenses.

5 contenders who should trade for Robert Quinn, including the Chiefs and Ravens | For The WIn

Kansas City Chiefs

Without one of the league’s most explosive weapons, Kansas City will need to bolster other aspects of the roster. The Chiefs did some of that in the draft by adding George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie. And Justin Reid should be a solid centerfielder replacement for Tyrann Mathieu.

One more puzzle piece in a pass rusher like Quinn wouldn’t hurt. As much as the league starts to place more of a premium on corners and defensive backs, getting after the quarterback is still king. Chris Jones is great, but he needs a better, more reliable running mate than Frank Clark.

Getting Quinn in red and gold would be the perfect complement.

The Road to the Merger Part 2: The Founding Document | The Mothership

By the time the plane landed in Dallas, he had outlined general operating principles for the league including a basic profit-and-loss statement, estimates on equipment costs, and revenue from ticket sales.

He included cities to host teams, a schedule and a “split net gate 60% to home — with visitors having a choice of 40% or $35,000, whichever is larger.” Some of the cities he identified fell outside the NFL’s list of franchises bringing the game to a wider audience. At the time, the only professional football teams existed in the Northeast, Upper Midwest and California.

He included a college draft with each of his league’s teams having territorial rights for one player, then a 30-round draft. The cities in which he expected to have teams included, to no surprise, Houston and Denver, since he had heard that men there had an interest in owning a franchise, then Buffalo, New York, Los Angeles, and, of course, his hometown of Dallas.

Around the NFL

Steelers sign Minkah Fitzpatrick to new five-year deal; two-time All-Pro becomes NFL’s highest-paid safety | CBS Sports

Fitzpatrick’s new contract will include $73.6 million and $36 million guaranteed with an $18.4 million annual salary, as first reported by ESPN. Fitzpatrick was slated to earn $10.6 million this season as part of his fifth-year option.

“We are very excited to sign Minkah to a new five-year contract,” Steelers GM Omar Khan said in a statement. “Minkah is one of the top safeties in the NFL and we are thrilled he will be in Pittsburgh through at least the next five years. When we traded for him, we knew he was going to be an integral part of our defense and we look forward to that continuing as we prepare for the upcoming season.”

“I am very excited,” Fitzpatrick said shortly after signing the contract. “I am still kind of in shock right now. It’s a blessing. I am really excited. It’s just the beginning. I am appreciative. I am thankful. Now I just want to keep on chopping.

Ten best new veteran QB-WR combos heading into the 2022 NFL season | NFL.com

6 - Tua Tagovailoa - Tyreek Hill

The addition of Hill to an offense that already boasted Jaylen Waddle makes the Dolphins D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S in Mike McDaniel’s first season. Hill is a field stretcher who can win with the ball in his hands at any level. Perhaps more critical for Tagovailoa, he earns massive amounts of separation, making life easier for his QB. In two seasons, Tagovailoa has thrown into tight windows on 19.8 percent of his pass attempts — the second-highest rate since 2020 (behind Joe Burrow, min. 400 pass attempts, per Next Gen Stats). Hill has generated 3.4 yards of separation per route since 2016, which leads all NFL WRs (min. 300 targets).

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chris Jones reflecting on 2021: ‘I learned D-End is hard as hell’

While the team found little success in the move, Jones appeared open to continuing to play on the outside — though clearly in more select situations than as a full-time move. He expressed confidence that Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and defensive line coach Joe Cullen will put him in the best position to succeed.

“Every game plan is different,” Jones acknowledged. “Every team offers different schemes when you go in week by week. Once we get in the season, we can kind of scheme on that. Wherever coach Spags and Joe feel comfortable with me playing, I’m good there.

“I’d rather see more time at both (defensive tackle and defensive end) — wherever the coaches feel comfortable at. Once we know about matchups. If we have a tackle that’s light, I like to play D-end. If we have a guard that’s not as good or (in his) first year in the league, I like to take advantage of that. Wherever the advantage is at, I’m willing to play.”

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