Creed Humphrey was part of the Chiefs’ transformation from the worst offensive line in football in 2020 to one of the best in 2021. He allowed just one sack and 12 pressures in his rookie season (1,394 snaps), grading as the top center in football by Pro Football Focus.
While Humphrey’s rookie season was one of the best for a center over the last decade, his 2022 season could be even better as a protector for Patrick Mahomes. If the Chiefs running backs can up their game this year, Humphrey’s dominant run-blocking ability will be on full display.
Kezirian: Kansas City Chiefs to miss the playoffs (+200). Patrick Mahomes is a human cheat code and can win games by himself. However, outside of their elite QB, they probably have the division’s worst roster. Losing Tyreek Hill is really going to cost them. Mahomes could make it work, but I think +200 is worth a shot. The defense is still weak, regardless of last year’s narrative that it had improved. Things just went their way as they faced poor quarterbacks.
Now, the official times and dates of the matchups are officially in the books. Kansas City’s three-game exhibition slate, which consists of one road game and two home games at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, is as follows:
Saturday, Aug. 13: Chiefs at Chicago Bears with a noon kickoff
Saturday, Aug. 20: Washington Commanders at Chiefs with a 3 p.m. kickoff
Thursday, Aug. 25: Green Bay Packers at Chiefs with a 7 p.m. kickoff
All three games will air on KSHB (Ch. 41) in Kansas City.
Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Frank Clark
The Kansas City Chiefs have won the AFC West each of the last six years and hosted the last four AFC Championship Games. But last year, only three teams had fewer sacks than they did (31).
The Chiefs made an effort to bolster their front seven in the 2022 draft by spending the No. 30 overall pick on Purdue edge-rusher George Karlaftis. But what the Chiefs really need is for veteran Frank Clark to get in gear.
Clark has made the Pro Bowl for three straight seasons, but he managed only 22 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 14 games last year. Both of those were his lowest output since his rookie year.
The Chiefs have a new defensive line coach this year in Joe Cullen, and he told reporters that he expects both Clark and tackle Chris Jones to bounce back in a big way in 2022.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, those are two of my favorite guys,” Cullen said. “I was at another place when they were coming out. I mean, I expect those guys to have career years and play the best they have in their career. And if we do that, that will elevate the whole team.”
Around the NFL
The Walton-Penner group’s winning bid was for $4.65 billion, NFL Network’s James Palmer reported.
“We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos!” a statement from Rob Walton on behalf of the Walton-Penner family ownership group read. “Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans.
“Having lived and worked in Colorado, we’ve always admired the Broncos. Our enthusiasm has only grown as we’ve learned more about the team, staff and Broncos Country over the last few months.
With the new program, the NFL isn’t merely dipping its toe into Africa, Umenyiora told Andscape. The league is diving in — and the former star pass-rusher says it’s the right thing to do.
“This is incredible, just the NFL’s whole approach to get started, and going in like this is the best way to do it,” Umenyiora, who was born in London to Nigerian parents and spent seven years of his childhood in Nigeria, told Andscape.
“You see the number of athletes we have in the NFL right now of African descent. There are a lot, and the winds are blowing even stronger in that direction. We’ve seen what the NBA has done in terms of its investment in Africa. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be in full force on ground there also. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
The list of 66 includes the 24 women who have filed lawsuits against Watson, including two in the past week; a woman who sued Watson, but then withdrew the complaint; two women who filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not sue him; at least 15 therapists who issued statements of support for Watson at the request of his lawyers; at least four therapists contracted with the Texans; five women identified by the plaintiffs’ lawyers during the investigation for their civil suits; and at least 15 other women whose appointments with Watson were confirmed through interviews and records reviewed by The Times.
A few of these additional women spoke publicly for the first time to the Times. One woman, who did not sue Watson or complain to the police, told The Times that he was persistent in his requests for sexual acts during their massage, including “begging” her to put her mouth on his penis.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“Very confident. Very confident,” Brown told Mike Garafolo and Shaun O’Hara when asked his level of confidence in regard to a deal getting done. “Especially simply based off the things that have come into effect within our division, the type of defensive ends that have been brought in, the type of players and all of that type of stuff. It’s not the year to go into the season with a backup left tackle. So, I’m very confident that the Kansas City Chiefs will get that done.”
Brown is correct that the other three AFC West teams aggressively targeted pass rushers this offseason. The Los Angeles Chargers acquired Khalil Mack, the Denver Broncos signed Randy Gregory and the Las Vegas Raiders signed Chandler Jones. The newcomers to the division will be paired with Joey Bosa, Bradley Chubb and Maxx Crosby, respectively.
While a confrontational tone may be inferred from Brown’s opening remark, he spoke glowingly about his first year with the team — praising Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and offensive line coach Andy Heck for the success of the totally rebuilt offensive line. He also commended quarterback Patrick Mahomes for being able to work with a new set of blockers.
“What (offensive line) coach [Andy] Heck was able to do with us as a unit, what we were able to do as a unit on the field as far as production, and the comfort that Pat was able to develop — it all was a tribute to the success of us as a whole. The way that coach [Andy] Reid was able to call plays and really use his personnel that we have up front to the best of his abilities. I’m sure as time goes, those things will continue to get better.”