The week started with NFL Network’s Peter Schrager labeling Watson as his sleeper pick for a big season on “Good Morning Football.”
SCHRAGER: “Out of the University of Pennsylvania, Justin Watson,” said Schrager. “Why are we talking about Justin Watson at 8 a.m.? Because the buzz out of minicamp on Justin Watson is that this guy can make an impact. Now, look — he wore 17 for Tampa. He’s going to be wearing 84 for the Kansas City Chiefs, and I believe he will not only make the team. I think he’s going to play a difference in this thing. You think about what (Patrick) Mahomes can do, and then you put these different types of players. Instead of having one guy in Tyreek Hill, now you have eight different guys that you can throw the ball to, and of course, Travis Kelce at tight end. I don’t think anyone’s going to do what Tyreek Hill did, but I don’t think this team’s going to fall apart without him, and I think the Chiefs — still feeling that loss to the Bengals — have something to prove, and the fact that they are not the hunted right now and they are the hunters, I don’t think that bodes well for anybody, including the Buffalo Bills.”
Rocky Magana explored three possibilities for the Chiefs to improve their roster via trade.
Brandon Aiyuk: The Chiefs have Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling under contract for the 2023 season. Beyond that, all bets are off. The Chiefs could use another dynamic playmaker on the outside who can stretch the field and create separation — a guy like former first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk. The third-year receiver lined up on the outside 80% of the time in 2021. Trading for Aiyuk would allow Moore to move inside to the slot where the Chiefs could focus on getting the ball to him in space while having Valdes-Scantling and Aiyuk on the outside.
The football analytics site has been ranking position groups — and the Chiefs’ secondary came in at 14th in their latest.
Mike Renner used five tiers for his rankings: Where Do Offenses Even Attack? (tier 1), Minor Question Marks (tier 2), Ascending Units (tier 3), Serious Flaws (tier 4) and Too Much Uncertainty (tier 5).
The Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive backs fell into the Minor Question Marks tier (tier 2), ranking 14th of 32.
Renner’s commentary: While he’s been overshadowed by bigger names on the Chiefs’ roster, L’Jarius Sneed deserves some credit for his play since entering the NFL He’s had arguably the best start to his career of any cornerback from the 2020 draft class. While being asked to move between outside and slot cornerback, depending on where he’s needed, he’s been excellent through two seasons. He made the second-most defensive stops of any cornerback in the league last year.
Another year has passed since the Chiefs’ running back died attempting to save three children from drowning.
Sports Illustrated’s Franke Deford in 1983: There was a huge hole there, carved out of the earth some time ago. The hole had filled with water, and three boys waded in. They didn’t know it, but a short way out the bottom dropped off precipitously, and suddenly the boys were in over their heads and thrashing and screaming. There were all sorts of people around, but only Joe dashed to the pond. There was a little boy there. “Can you swim?” he asked Joe.
”I can’t swim good,” Joe said, “but I’ve got to save those kids. If I don’t come up, get somebody.” And he rushed into the water.
One boy fought his way back to the shallow part. The other two didn’t. Neither did Joe Delaney, 24. He was hauled out a few minutes later, dead. He gave his own life trying to save three others.
The quarterback’s trainer Bobby Stroupe posted a video on Instagram showing an impressive pass and catch between the two.
The “Rookie Conversations” series kicked off with our Stephen Serda interviewing Cincinnati co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Colin Hitschler.
One of the biggest things we’ve noticed about Cook’s game is that he’s not afraid to hit people. Is that something you guys noticed about his game immediately when he stepped on the football field?
Hitschler: “It’s awesome to hear you say that because when Bryan came to our program, he was a corner at Howard University [in 2017-18]. This is a kid that was a thin, smaller-framed kid coming out of high school and really only had one offer from Howard close to signing day. He grew from an FCS corner to a big-time all-American level safety–and changed his body through the development of our weight room program… He turned himself into a physical specimen that was obviously evaluated highly by NFL scouts. His style of play also became this physical, tough, hard-nosed mentality, and he put a lot of pride into that.”.
Ron Kopp Jr.’s weekly, summer series continues with a closer look at the offense’s run game.
Under head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs have never had this dominant of an offensive line — and frankly, they’ve never had as good of blockers at the wide receiver position. The team needs to buy into those specific strengths of their team. It could lead to more significant plays on the ground and create another layer of unpredictability for the opposing defense. Overall, the offense featuring the rushing attack will maximize the talent of the unit in its entirety.
The 2022 ESPY awards are now being voted on, and the “Best Game” award includes two local teams.
The Best Game nominees include:
The Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Buffalo Bills in an OT thriller (AFC Divisional Game)
UConn defeats NC State in double OT (Elite 8 NCAA Women’s Basketball)
Kansas’ 16-point rally — the biggest comeback in championship game history (NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship)
Bryce Young rallies Alabama to beat Auburn in four OTs (NCAA Football Iron Bowl)
Mark Gunnels does his weekly dive into some of the most unpopular takes in Chiefs Kingdom, highlighting the possibility of great defense in 2022 this time.
The potential is there.
When you look at the speed, athleticism and physicality of the 2022 Chiefs defense, it’s something to marvel at. Rookies such as Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis, Bryan Cook and Leo Chenal embody all those traits. Then you have younger players with experience in the secondary like Juan Thornhill, L’Jarius Sneed and Justin Reid.
There’s no doubt this defense will be flying around, but like any other year (especially those under Steve Spagnuolo), I expect the unit to start slow and get better as the season continues.
If this defense can surpass the 2019 unit, we might be looking at another Lombardi trophy coming to Kansas City.
Bryan Stewart went to the film to learn more about the former Marshall defensive back.
Johnson’s climb to making the final week one roster as the fourth safety on the Chiefs roster won’t be easy — but it also feels like his job to lose. Veteran special teamer Deon Bush will pose a challenge. If Johnson can outpace the likes of Bush by standing out on special teams and showing progression in his defensive role throughout the summer, he should become a much more familiar name within the fan base by winter.