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Arrowheadlines: Patrick Mahomes details how he recovered from the first ‘slump’ of his career

Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, August 9

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The latest

The Lessons Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs Learned From Their Weirdest Season | The Ringer

Mahomes listed off a few games from last November when he was trying to emerge from the first real slump of his career: the Giants, the Packers, and the Cowboys. “We were winning, but I wasn’t playing my best football, and the defense was helping us out,” Mahomes said. “Then I kind of got in that groove again, I’m getting the ball out and stuff started getting better and better.” The groove consisted of five games starting on December 12: Twelve touchdowns, one interception, a 114.5 rating, and a 70.6 percent completion percentage.

“You saw me get the ball out faster,” Mahomes said. “And then once I started to ball fast and people realized I would do that, they came up and I was able to hit some of the deep shots.”

By January, Mahomes was nearly perfect, and he threw for 782 yards, eight touchdowns, and just one interception in playoff wins against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. In that win over the Bills, one of the best quarterback duels of all time, Mahomes didn’t even attempt a pass longer than 20 yards.

What, I asked Reid, did he learn when Mahomes wasn’t throwing the deep ball?

“He can do all that stuff,” Reid said of being able to throw deep or short, in the understatement of the year. “It’s just a matter of seeing it and doing it.”

Will Josh Gordon make Kansas City Chiefs roster? Here’s what he thinks of his chances | Kansas City Star

So what is his confidence level that he’ll be part of the team’s 53-man group heading to Arizona for Week 1 on Sept. 11?

“There’s no telling. There’s no telling,” Gordon said Monday at Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western. “I’d say cards are close to the vest I think, as they should be for everybody, for important reasons. More importantly, I just want to go out with the opportunities I get, give them 110%. The cards fall where they may, and see what happens.

“But I do not have an answer for that, to be honest. I don’t. I wasn’t a starter last year, so I’m fighting for a spot just like everybody else.”

Top 10 most underrated NFL players: Justin Tucker, Keenan Allen deserve more recognition |

7 - Juan Thornhill

Kansas City Chiefs · S

I like that Thornhill has All-Pro-level expectations for himself this season, but I love that it seems like all he needs to get back to top-end safety status is consistency with his straight-line and change-of-direction speeds — like what we observed from him prior to his ACL tear late in the 2019 campaign. From the training camp footage I have measured thus far, Thornhill’s change-of-direction and hip-adjustment speeds are closer to what we saw in his rookie year, as opposed to 2020 or last season. Yes, it’s only camp — and a teeny sample size, at that — but I’m looking for clues here! I do think the logic is sound, though, because we saw up-and-down play from him last season that lined up with when his speeds were and weren’t at 100 percent. The pairing of him with Justin Reid this season reflects a smart strategy for how to best implement two-safety shells.

Top 25 NFL free agents in 2023: Prospective class headlined by Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady |

6 - Orlando Brown

Kansas City Chiefs · OT · Age 26

Brown will play this year under the franchise tag. He said he wants to stay in Kansas City long term, but was looking for more guaranteed money from the Chiefs. A second tag would be expensive next season.

Weaknesses of best NFL teams in 2022: Achilles’ heels for 14 Super Bowl contenders, including Packers, Bills, Rams, Cowboys | ESPN

Kansas City Chiefs

Chances to make the playoffs, per ESPN’s FPI: 54.6%

Achilles’ heel: Cornerback

The Chiefs, the kings of playing it cheap at cornerback, went against their usual habit of acquiring dismissed first-round corners from other teams by using one of their own top picks at the position. Trent McDuffie, the No. 21 overall selection in April’s draft, will be given the opportunity to start as a rookie if he’s up to the task. The Chiefs will be happy if McDuffie matches the last notable cornerback they drafted with a high pick out of Washington: 2015 second-rounder Marcus Peters intercepted eight passes and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year for Kansas City.

Even if McDuffie is a Week 1 starter, the Chiefs have questions. L’Jarius Sneed probably needs to stay in the slot, where his 30 defeats were seven ahead of any other cornerback in the league. A former safety, Sneed’s physicality and tackling are a plus in the interior.

Around the NFL

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker signs four-year extension through 2027 season |

The Baltimore Ravens and Justin Tucker have agreed to terms on a four-year extension worth $24 million with $17.5 million guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday. The team later officially announced the signing.

The money is well spent. Tucker owns a career field-goal conversion rate of 91.1 percent, is both a five-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, and he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s.

He’s still drilling kicks better than the rest. The 32-year-old Tucker added to his sparkling resume by resetting the NFL’s record for the longest converted field goal, crow-hopping into a 66-yard attempt inside Ford Field and skipping it off the crossbar to send the Ravens to victory and Tucker’s uniform to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

MRI reveals more serious knee injury to New York Jets’ Mekhi Becton than initially thought, source says | ESPN

An MRI exam of Mekhi Becton’s right knee revealed a more serious injury than initially anticipated, a source told ESPN on Monday night, raising fear that the New York Jets’ starting right tackle could be sidelined indefinitely.

The 2020 first-round draft pick injured the same knee that required season-ending surgery in September, but this was described as a “different” injury, the source said. Becton will have additional tests on Tuesday to determine a diagnosis, but the Jets’ concern level was elevated after receiving the MRI results. One source said the assumption is that Becton, 23, will miss significant time.

A source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Becton sustained an injury to his patella (kneecap).

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Nick Bolton is processing the game faster — and is ready to help his teammates succeed

“It’s a dog day,” said Kansas City MIKE linebacker Nick Bolton of Sunday’s weather.

But he went on to say that it’s in these kinds of tough moments that you bond with your teammates the most.

“That’s when we really come together as a team — and as a unit,” Bolton told reporters. “I’m proud of where we’re at. It was a good day today — but we’re still not where we want to be, so we’re working every single day to try and get better.”

One thing that sets Chiefs training camp apart from those of some other NFL teams is that head coach Andy Reid uses long-drive scenarios to practice situations where the defense will be on the field for an extended period of time. Although it’s challenging, Bolton enjoys it — because it simulates an end-of-game scenario where you have to find a way to get off the field.

“We got to dig down deep and find a way to get stops,” he noted. “So I think it’s beneficial for us.”

Sunday’s long-drive scenario lasted for 16 plays — and Bolton doesn’t expect his head coach to shorten them.

“They keep getting longer,” he said, “But it’s one of the things that I like about this camp.”

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