5 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB
Mahomes has been a starting quarterback in the NFL for four seasons. In related news, Kansas City has at least made it to Championship Sunday in each of the past four seasons. Pat’s won a regular-season MVP and a Super Bowl MVP. His career touchdown-to-interception ratio (151:37) and passer rating (105.8) are video game numbers. And he should just be entering his prime, turning 27 in September. “The sky is the limit” is an overused saying, but it’s apropos with No. 15.
Mahomes is magical. You cannot miss a snap. His ability to make the impossible possible is second to none in the NFL. And I’m fascinated to see how his game evolves without the Tyreek Hill cheat code at his disposal. By the end of the 2022 campaign, Mahomes will be a better, more well-rounded quarterback. That’s a terrifying thought for the rest of the league.
“And a lot of guys when they get paid, they stop wanting to get better,” Hill told OutKick’s Armando Salguero. “And I feel like when the Kansas City Chiefs traded me I kind of took that personal. So now what really motivates me is I feel like they basically just threw me to the side, like I was trash or something.
“I take so much pride in this game and wanting to be the best and wanting to help my team win and have as much success as I can to where I’m not going to let it happen. I’m not going to be another guy who gets the bag and just stops working.”
Kansas City traded Hill after it was unable to come to terms on a long-term contract extension with the star wideout. The Dolphins gave Kansas City a haul to add Hill to their receiving corps, parting ways with five draft picks.
OT: Rashawn Slater (LAC), Garett Bolles (DEN)
G: Joe Thuney (KC), Trey Smith (KC)
C: Creed Humphrey (KC)
Slater stepped into the lineup and was an immediate start. He should be a fixture on this list for years to come. Bolles no longer has Mike Munchak as the Denver Broncos’ offensive line coach, but he’s become a good enough player that he’s worthy of a spot here, though you could easily swing over to Kolton Miller as the other tackle. Kansas City’s offensive line is now one of the best in the NFL, and the interior trio of Thuney-Humphrey-Smith is a huge reason why. It’s hard to go away from that group here.
Last season, Los Angeles went for it on fourth down a league-high 31.5 percent of the time, per Popper.
“The real football people understand that what I’m doing is playing to the strengths of our football team,” Staley told reporters after an overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in December. “What I’m doing is I’m trying to make the decisions that I think are going to win us the game.”
The Chargers play a game of ever-shifting percentages and make informed decisions based on what the numbers say in any given moment. To invoke the great Herm Edwards, they’re playing to win the game. In this case, they do so by placing themselves in the best position on a down-by-down basis.
This approach could backfire depending on the makeup of the locker room. That’s not the case in Los Angeles. The roster is all-in.
The veterans sent a message to Staley despite the disappointing end to his first season as Chargers head coach. According to Staley, they said, “Don’t you ever change. Don’t you even think about it.”
21. Kansas City Chiefs (via NE)
Trent McDuffie, CB
How he has fared so far: McDuffie has been a starter from Day 1. The Chiefs have used him mostly in outside coverage, but he has moved inside to cover the slot at times. McDuffie, at 5-foot-11, isn’t as tall as the team would prefer their cornerbacks to be, and he has had trouble at times in defending bigger receivers. McDuffie might wind up as the Chiefs’ primary punt returner when the regular season begins.
“He’s very comfortable out there at the corner spot as well as the nickel,’’ secondary coach David Merritt said. “The thing is that now we have a guy that can actually do dual roles.’’ McDuffie entered the concussion protocol during Thursday’s final preseason game. — Adam Teicher
Around the NFL
Smith was seemingly the frontrunner throughout the quarterback competition with Drew Lock and after Lock threw three interceptions Friday, Carroll made the announcement to begin his postgame news conference.
“He’s going to start the opener, and he’s earned it, he’s won the job,” Carroll said. “With the timeframes, it got messed up for us for Drew, he just ran out of time in making his bid for it. And so yeah, I’m cool about that, so I just want to let you know, so everybody knows, do you don’t have to ask me about it anymore.”
Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza, who was accused in a lawsuit Thursday of gang raping a 17-year-old girl when he was at San Diego State last year, did not dress for Friday night’s 21-0 preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Coach Sean McDermott said after the game that it was his call for Araiza to sit, and that the decision was reached on Friday.
McDermott said he learned some new information in the last 24 hours regarding Araiza and that he hadn’t slept much, but declined to go into specifics about what the organization previously knew, how thorough the team’s investigation was, and if he felt Araiza had lied to him and the team.
“I would say there’s been some [new information in the last 24 hours], and I’m not going to deny that, and that’s why I have more work to do on this,” McDermott said. “I’m more trying to be solution-oriented right now. And that’s where I’m headed. And that’s where we need to be headed.”
McDermott said the priority for the team is to “find the truth and do the right thing.”
In a statement released during the game, Araiza said, “The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press. I look forward to quickly setting the record straight.”
McDermott said he was aware of Araiza’s statement, but declined to comment on the specifics.
The Los Angeles Rams said any discipline for star defensive lineman Aaron Donald and other players involved in Thursday’s brawl during a joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals will be handled by the team.
“The incident will be addressed internally, and any discipline will remain in-house,” a Rams spokesperson said Friday when asked if Donald or other players would be disciplined.
After the first day of joint practices took place without issue, Thursday’s practice ended early after a fight broke out on the field during a drill between the Bengals’ first-team offense and the Rams’ first-team defense.
Multiple helmets came off during the fight, and a Cincinnati Enquirer photographer spotted Donald holding a Bengals helmet in each hand. After practice, a video circulated on Twitter appearing to show Donald swinging a helmet multiple times during the scrum.
Donald, who was scheduled to speak during practice, was not made available. He later declined comment through a team spokesperson.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
3. Darius Harris is good at playing football
The offseason is long. Every now and then, a little thought finds a way to burrow itself into your brain, laying little fear eggs that hatch and occupy your thoughts for the better part of the summer. In late June, I woke up one morning and thought to myself, “What are the Chiefs going to do if Nick Bolton gets injured?”
All offseason, I shuddered at the thought of Darius Harris playing meaningful snaps as Kansas City’s MIKE linebacker. But on Thursday night, that changed. Harris was a force of nature, racking up three tackles on a single series.
He looked every bit the part of the player the Chiefs need: a decisive enforcer in the middle of the field. Nick Bolton is one of the NFL’s best young linebackers — but if he goes down, Harris is looks like a pretty great insurance policy.
Tight ends (4): Travis Kelce, Jody Fortson, Noah Gray, Blake Bell
Blake Bell had hip surgery and is out for the foreseeable future, but the Chiefs haven’t placed him on injured reserve. Doing so before the 53-man roster cut would end his season. Since they haven’t made that roster move yet, I believe the Chiefs perhaps see Bell coming back down the road, so he will make the initial 53 before being placed on the Reserve/Injured (injured reserve) list, from which he can return as soon as the Chiefs have played four games. The Chiefs still have a lingering need for a veteran blocking tight end, so look for someone outside the building to possibly show up in Kansas City during the first few weeks of the season.
A tweet to make you think
Feels like this headline should have read:— DJ Jazzy Juris Doctor (@ChiefsfanCHI) August 27, 2022
“Seahawks concede season is over before Week 1”https://t.co/J7Vk4wdmAo