Kansas City Chiefs: OT Lucas Niang to Ravens
The Kansas City Chiefs’ plan to rebuild their offensive line began a year earlier than it actually occurred.
The organization chose Lucas Niang with a third-round pick in 2020, but he opted out of his rookie campaign because of the pandemic. Niang returned the following season with Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith comprising a new-look front five.
Niang endured plenty during his first NFL campaign. He started nine games at right tackle but also dealt with shoulder and rib injuries before his season ended with a torn patellar tendon. In his stead, Andrew Wylie filled in admirably.
This offseason, general manager Brett Veach signed veteran Geron Christian and drafted Darian Kinnard in the fifth round. Both can play right tackle. Niang’s standing is suddenly in question after only one year.
The Ravens are much older on the right side. Morgan Moses and Kevin Zeitler are 31 and 32, respectively. General manager Eric DeCosta did select Daniel Faalele in this year’s fourth round, but the Ravens experienced so many injuries along their offensive front the last two years that a small investment in another middle-round talent will give them even better depth.
The Athletic asked 50 people in the NFL to place NFL quarterbacks into tiers, and all but one had Mahomes in the top tier. It was a defensive coordinator who said Mahomes only takes his first read and then improvises.
“We love Mahomes because of his unorthodox throws, not because of his natural pocket presence,” the voter told the Athletic. “And when that disappears, that is when they lose games. I don’t think that is a 1. I think that is a 2. Nothing against the guy. I love the kid. But take his first read away and what does he do? He runs, he scrambles and he plays streetball.”
In what was to be his way, Lynch showed no disappointment moving easily to outside linebacker, and he and Lanier remained fast friends until his death, dining together just weeks before his passing.
“I feel so blessed to have played almost my entire career with two of the greatest ever to play the position,” Lynch said late in life.
His career ended in 1977, all spent in Kansas City, but from its start, he saw life as more than football and soon became a partner with Daniel Thomas Hogarty in the food-brokerage business, with a primary attention to food-packaging technology.
The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen wrote a story with the headline, “Who will win AFC West? Projecting various paths for the QB-driven division.”
Here is an excerpt: “Defensively, the Chiefs lost edge Melvin Ingram and cornerback Charvarius Ward. They used their two first-round picks to replace both players. With the 21st pick, the Chiefs selected Trent McDuffie from Washington. Because McDuffie doesn’t have elite size or speed, some thought he would play nickel, but he will reportedly get a shot to play outside first. Ingram provided the Chiefs with a much-needed physical presence when he was acquired via trade midseason. To replace him, the Chiefs drafted George Karlaftis out of Purdue with the 30th pick. Karlaftis is a physical, power rusher that only had five sacks in his final college season. Karlaftis doesn’t have to finish with a high sack total to make an impact. Ingram only finished with one sack as a Chief, but he was disruptive, good against the run, and allowed Chris Jones to stay inside. McDuffie and Karlaftis are young but they’ll be playing integral roles for a team with championship aspirations.”
Around the NFL
The seven-time Pro Bowler gives soon-to-be 45-year-old Tom Brady another weapon in Tampa, Florida, as Jones looks to rebound from a down season with the Tennessee Titans.
Julio Jones leads the NFL in receiving yards since 2014 and Mike Evans leads the NFL in touchdown catches, and they’re both now on the same team.
Jones joins a receiver group with the Bucs that includes holdovers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Breshad Perriman, and welcomed Russell Gage — like Jones, another former Falcon — this offseason. Godwin had offseason surgery on a torn ACL suffered late last season. The Bucs opted not to put him on the PUP list to start training camp, but a source told ESPN that they will be cautious with him before letting him practice.
Ultimately, the neck injury will not allow Carson to get back on the field. Given the physical nature of football and the seriousness of the injury, he becomes the latest player to see his career prematurely ended by a neck issue.
“It’s a big disappointment,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. “We took it as long as we possibly could with him, he saw a number of specialists, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to pass our physical.”
Geno Smith vs. Drew Lock
Smith enters training camp with the edge over Lock after filling in for Russell Wilson last season. Smith played well in three starts, generating a 108.4 passer rating. He can run the type of offense Pete Carroll prefers and knows the system. But the upside isn’t there with the 31-year-old. That’s where Lock, 25, acquired from the Broncos as part of the exchange for Wilson, could make up ground, if he shows the ability to cut down on errors, processes more quickly than he did in Denver and creates explosive plays. The 2019 second-round pick owns the talent to sling the ball but lacks consistency. This competition will ultimately come down to who Carroll trusts better to guide the offense and not make the big mistake.
Deshaun Watson gets suspended for 12 games
The predictions on the polarizing Browns quarterback’s expected suspension have ranged from light to historically severe. But if the NFL has pushed for an indefinite ban, as many reports have indicated, it stands to reason Watson won’t escape without discipline that affects most of his 2022 campaign. Consider other starting QB suspensions stemming from sexual assault allegations: Ben Roethlisberger got four games (after an initial six-game ruling) and Jameis Winston got three, but they resulted from single incidents, whereas Watson at one point faced civil lawsuits from 24 different women. A 12-game suspension would deal a major blow to Cleveland’s prized addition without totally erasing his chance at a fresh start late this year.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
And in this particular training camp, Humphrey says he and his fellow offensive linemen have a simple goal.
“We want to be known as one of the most physically-dominating lines in the league,” he declared. “We have the pieces. We have the guys that can do it. So really, that’s our whole outlook: letting the physicality show through — and make teams know that when they’re playing us, they’re going to be playing a physical offensive line that finishes through the whistle.”
Humphrey acknowledged that in an Andy Reid offense — chock-full of Run-Pass Option (RPO) plays — that can be a little challenging.
“You have to balance it some,” he admitted, “because you can’t be downfield when the ball is thrown on those RPOs. But the way we think of it, we’re going to be coming off physical. We’re going to play it like we’re running the ball every single time.”
A tweet to make you think
There are several things we'll be keeping a close eye on during #Chiefs training camp–but the pass rush has to be at the top of the list.— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) July 26, 2022
#APOutOfStructure@Ron_Kopp | @stagdsp pic.twitter.com/uLX06f3cDN