CHIEFS: We know what Patrick Mahomes can do, and this spreading-the-ball-around thing is working well so far. But what’s the deal with the run game? And more specifically, the run blocking. The starting unit produced 14 yards on seven carries last week against Washington. The backups weren’t much better in this department. But will the Chiefs’ starters even get much work (if any) in this one? That’s the rub. Still, backup OL jobs are there for the taking. One blocker who needs a strong showing: fifth-round OL Darian Kinnard, who isn’t guaranteed a roster spot.
Kansas City Chiefs: Signing WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Trading a singular talent such as Tyreek Hill is always going to be controversial. But the Kansas City Chiefs were unlikely to be able to give him the four-year, $120 million contract extension the Dolphins gave the 28-year-old.
Instead, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid are going to have to adapt with a committee of receivers who will divide up Hill’s 159 targets from last season.
Signing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a one-year, $3.3 million pact will help with that.
He’s dealt with multiple injuries, but this is a player who had 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns in his second season alongside a healthier Ben Roethlisberger. He’s also still only 25 years old.
Considering that’s how old Chicago Bears rookie receiver Velus Jones Jr. is, there’s still time for Smith-Schuster to post that kind of production again.
If he even comes close, he could be the best value in all of 2022 free agency.
“Every day in practice, I’m like, ‘Bro, we get paid for this? This is dope,’” Cook said with a smile. “Obviously, it’s a job. You have to take that into consideration and understand the high stakes of it. But it’s a blessing. I’ve been doing this since I was 4 years old, and I couldn’t ask for anything else to do in the world.”
Playing alongside Reid and Thornhill, Cook says, has helped him. He described Reid as an “energetic bowling ball” while believing those three have the potential to give opposing offenses many different looks.
“I’m trying to just match their energy, if not create my own,” Cook said.
Chiefs RB Ronald Jones
Two years removed from nearly a 1,000-yard season for the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, the former first-rounder is a forgotten man in Kansas City’s committee, and his paltry preseason work suggests he may well be cut. He’s been dinged for fumbling and mental miscues, but he remains a solid straightforward ball-carrier.
Around the NFL
Smith was hurt on a running play and went to the ground as he went to make a block on linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. He was able to walk to the locker room without any help, and the initial tests indicated the ACL in his left knee was intact.
More reviews to fully determine the severity of the injury are planned for Thursday, sources said.
Tyron Smith has missed 20 games in the last two seasons for the Cowboys, and the impact he has on the offensive line has been massive:
Smith was spotted leaving the locker room after practice and did not appear to be limping.
6 - Tyreek Hill
Miami Dolphins · Age 28
Hill’s insane speed makes him an absolute nightmare to defend. Defenses can put their fastest cover man on him — plus an extra safety — and still can’t stop him. With the Patriots, I played against Hill and the Chiefs twice in the 2018 season, including the AFC Championship Game. In the regular-season matchup, which was a Sunday Night Football game, he caught seven balls for 142 yards and three touchdowns. In one possession late in the third quarter, we got backed up into the red zone and actually thought we were in an OK position because Hill couldn’t beat us vertically. Then Andy Reid put Hill in the slot and the guy burned us to the corner of the end zone. In the fourth quarter, he supplied his typical downfield dynamism with a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown. His ability to accelerate to full speed immediately off the line of scrimmage is the best I’ve ever seen. That said, I appreciate the fact that Hill hasn’t just relied on his raw explosiveness in recent years; he’s continued to develop as a route runner. This will be great for Tua Tagovailoa in Miami.
Shaquem Griffin was waived by the Seahawks in 2020 and said Wednesday that his brother stayed with him and skipped practice the next day. His biggest worry was about how he would be perceived.
“I didn’t want people thinking, Aw, the one-handed player got cut. I don’t do sympathy, man. I don’t like people feeling sorry for me,” he wrote. “But at no point did I ever think that that was it for me in the NFL.”
Griffin, 27, was signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad after being waived and promoted to Seattle’s active roster later that season. He appeared in 46 games with the Seahawks in three seasons and had nine tackles, three quarterback hits and a sack. Griffin also had a sack of Aaron Rodgers in the divisional round of the 2019 season, leading to a memorable moment of Shaquem taking down the Green Bay Packers quarterback just before Shaquill arrived, then the brothers celebrating with each other afterward.
The Seahawks congratulated Griffin on his retirement Wednesday and tweeted: “Your story will be remembered for generations.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Hunt spoke of his hero worship in a way that will seem very familiar to many Chiefs fans.
“I think it was — to a large degree — the coincidence of my age and when Len was having so much success on the field for the Chiefs,” he recalled. “He was really synonymous with those early Texans and Chiefs teams that won three AFL championships and Super Bowl IV. So it was pretty easy for a six or seven-year-old kid to look up to Len and say, ‘Hey, that’s one of my heroes.’”
As the team owner’s son during that time, Hunt had a somewhat different perspective than many fans. Yet his recollections of Dawson during that era varied little from those expressed by other fans throughout the day.
“As a child, I just remember being on the Chiefs field and looking up to Len,” said Hunt. “Of course, as a child, all the players were huge; he was actually one of the smaller ones of the group. But he was the one that had the ‘it’ factor. He was the one who was the leader of the team. I remember looking at him like that.”
Thanks to a long career in sports journalism, Dawson was the person most readily associated with the franchise for decades after he retired from football in 1976, ending a 19-year playing career in which he threw for 28,711 passing yards, 239 passing touchdowns and 183 interceptions.
By today’s standards, those counting stats may not sound impressive. But to put Dawson’s career into the proper perspective, he threw a touchdown pass on 6.4% of his attempts. That’s a higher rate than modern-day passers such as Peyton Manning (5.7%), Tom Brady (5.5%) and Drew Brees (5.4%).
In fact, only one other pro quarterback has ever exceeded Dawson’s career touchdown percentage. It might be that you’ve never heard of Frank Ryan, who posted a 7% figure from 1958 to 1970 while playing for three different teams. But you’re likely to be familiar with the player who is tied with Dawson at 6.4%: Patrick Mahomes.
A tweet to make you think
We’re in a golden age of Chiefs football but the current team are standing on the shoulders of giants.— Arrowheads Abroad (@KCChiefs_UK) August 24, 2022
We lost another of those today. pic.twitter.com/ESFxtaGVQL