Chiefs OT Darian Kinnard vs. Lucas Niang, Andrew Wylie
Kinnard was one of the more effective offensive tackles in the SEC. Known for mauling defenders in the run game, the Kentucky product was projected to move inside at the next level. Kansas City provides an opportunity for him to compete at right tackle, however. Wylie’s past features a lot of exposure to the interior offensive line whereas Niang’s has been defined by inconsistency. His senior season at TCU was ended prematurely due to a torn hip labrum. He accepted the NFL’s offer to opt out of his rookie season in 2020. Earning his first meaningful playing time in nearly two years, Niang made nine starts.
Patrick Mahomes is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here, perhaps more than ever before. Paired with his gunslinging and Andy Reid’s oversight, there’s little doubt newcomers like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will put up numbers. But there’s no replacing Tyreek Hill’s pure electricity, so the onus is even more on Mahomes and longtime favorite Travis Kelce to keep the train moving. It helps that Kansas City’s line is still rock solid, with Orlando Brown Jr. back at left tackle.
First-rounders George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie will be key to the team’s development at pass rusher and cornerback, respectively, mostly because they’re Day One starters by default. It’s certainly possible K.C.’s secondary will take a dip, depending on the health and consistency of safeties Juan Thornhill and Justin Reid, replacing Tyrann Mathieu. But again, as long as No. 15 is under center and Reid is shepherding this roster, how can you write them off?
Brandon Bair never found glory during his brief time in the NFL, but he did after his playing days ended.
Bair, who was briefly with the Chiefs in 2011, soon will receive a Carnegie Medal, which says it is “North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism.
” It’s fitting that Bair will receive the medal, because he saved a man’s life last year in Idaho.
Here is the description of Bair’s quick-acting efforts, via the Carnegie website:
“Steven W. Jenson, 25, remained pinned and severely injured in the driver’s seat of a semi-truck that, in a May 6, 2021, accident with a train in St. Anthony, Idaho, overturned onto its driver’s side and was propelled about a quarter-mile along the railroad tracks before coming to a stop. As fire burned at the truck’s front end by the front of the train and dark smoke issued, Jenson was unable to free himself. Among those who stopped at the scene, retired NFL defensive end Brandon Bair ... responded, hearing Jensen calling out.
The Chiefs have a historically difficult slate of games this season, and that seems to play a factor in these predictions. Fans might not like the results that NFL Network came up with here.
Here’s a full game-by-game win-loss rundown below:
Week 1: Chiefs at Cardinals
Prediction: Loss (0-1)
Week 2: Chiefs vs. Chargers (TNF)
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Loss (0-2)
The Ravens have the second-easiest schedule in the NFL behind the New York Giants, according to NFL.com. Baltimore and the Giants meet in Week 6. In addition to their division schedule, Baltimore gets to play the AFC East and NFC South, which is a mixed bag with talent. The Ravens also avoid the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time in four years. As a result, Baltimore should have a good opportunity to get back into the playoffs.
Around the NFL
Entering his second season, Parsons has high hopes for both himself and Diggs, a pair he thinks can rival that of Donald and his Los Angeles associate, Jalen Ramsey, in the near future.
“It’s hard to say we’re the best because I know we’re young and we still make mistakes,” Parsons told Jori Epstein of USA TODAY Sports. “It’s hard to put us over Aaron Donald, the greatest defensive player in history, with Jalen Ramsey. So I won’t do it yet.
“But I think we can become them or even better if we learn together and stick together.”
Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera viewed receiver Terry McLaurin as more than just a receiver who needed to be extended. He was a key player for an organization trying to rebuild its image amid a congressional investigation.
“He’s an organizational signing,” Rivera said. “It impacts not just the football side but the business side. It tells people we want to retain young men of this stature; we want young men of this magnitude out there representing our organization.”
The Panthers will pay $4.85 million of Mayfield’s salary while the Browns will pay $10.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Mayfield has agreed to forgo the remainder of his $18.8 million salary to facilitate the deal, which is pending a physical, the source said.
The Browns will receive either a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024, depending on Mayfield’s playing time in Carolina.
The news was first reported by NFL Network.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
What we know
As I noted last week, the Chiefs’ primary running game has felt like more of a time filler than a featured part of the offense during recent seasons. Naturally, opponents have started disrespecting it — which has impacted the effectiveness of Kansas City’s play-action passing game.
In 2021, Patrick Mahomes earned 6.7 yards per attempt on play-action passes. This was not only the lowest mark of his career (by over a yard) but also the third-lowest rate among full-time starters. He was one of only three quarterbacks who had a lower yards-per-attempt rate on play-action passes than on direct dropbacks.
Still, Mahomes led the NFL with 17 play-action passing touchdowns, while also earning the fourth-highest adjusted-completion percentage among starting quarterbacks.
These numbers paint a picture of an offense that had the downfield elements of its play-action passing taken away by its opponents — but was still able to use it as a key part of its scoring.
So how do they get closer to the 8.5 yards per attempt Mahomes averaged on play-action passes in 2020? Let’s try to get to the bottom of it.