Don’t be surprised if ... This is the year Clyde Edwards-Helaire breaks out.
What I’m hearing: Yeah, yeah, I know ... how many years are we going to be saying this? Well, if it’s not this year, then I would say no more years after this. The Chiefs have to decide on Edwards-Helaire’s fifth-year option next May, and if he doesn’t live up to his 2020 first-round pedigree, it’ll be really easy for the Chiefs to cut ties after this year.
But the coaching staff remains high on Edwards-Helaire and what he can do in this offense. They believe his biggest issue so far in his career has been staying healthy, and that he has done a good job of that this offseason. He’s set up for a post-hype breakout kind of year.
1) Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · QB · +700
(12 votes: Battista, Chadiha, Filice, Grant, Hall, Mariucci, Parr, Rank, Shook, Smith, Tomlinson, Zierlein.)
2) Justin Herbert (+900) | 6 votes: Blair, Edholm, Hanzus, Patra, Sessler, Trotter.
T-3) Joe Burrow ( +1300) | 2 votes: Bergman, Warner.
T-3) Patrick Mahomes ( +800) | 2 votes: Rosenthal, Ross.
T-5) Derek Carr (+3000) | 1 vote: Bhanpuri.
T-5) Lamar Jackson (+2000) | 1 vote: Cersosimo.
T-5) Aaron Rodgers (+1000) | 1 vote: Reuter.
10 - Kansas City Chiefs
Score: 109 pts
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes — Rank: 5 (One game: 5 | 2022 prod.: 5)
Running back: Clyde Edwards-Helaire — Rank: 28
Pass catcher: Travis Kelce — Rank: 13
We’ve seen flashes from Edwards-Helaire, but it just hasn’t happened consistently enough for me to rank him above players with more production in recent seasons. Mahomes carries the Chiefs’ ranking, and even after losing Tyreek Hill, he’ll still be able to rely on Kelce, one of the game’s top tight ends. Like the Packers, the Chiefs have new challenges in 2022 after trading their top wide receiver. Both teams are equipped with coaches and quarterbacks capable of leading them through the uncertainty. If Edwards-Helaire can stay healthy for a full season, Kansas City will likely outperform this ranking.
Justin Herbert (7 votes), Patrick Mahomes (6), Josh Allen (5)
All hail the AFC. Everyone’s buying into Herbert’s laser-armed pocket passing for the Chargers, especially now that he’s got a loaded supporting cast on both sides of the ball. Mahomes and Allen, meanwhile, are the league’s big-play mavens, and everyone figures their Chiefs and Bills will meet again.
Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna was on the Woodward Sports Network last month in Detroit, and, sure enough, the Mahomes question was posed. That led to an interesting observation about the Chiefs’ team chemistry and how basketball plays a big part in it.
“He’s an exceptional leader man,” Danna said of Mahomes. “He’s modest, humble, one of the humblest dudes in the locker room. Everybody knows what he can do on that field, and I got a lot of respect for him because he’s an even better person off the field. He engages with everybody.”
Danna then mentioned why the Chiefs team chemistry is unique and how basketball unites them.
“Usually in the league, offense hangs out with offense. Defense hangs out with defense,” Danna said. “But in our locker room, everybody’s engaging with everybody and I think that’s because we got a basketball hoop in our locker room. So before practice, before meetings, we’ll be three on three, two on two, and it gets intense in there
“That’s our warm up before practice. We don’t need to stretch.”
Second Team: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
The NFL’s stable of impressive quarterbacks is as deep as it’s ever been. We’re amid a shift from the old regime of Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees to a group headlined by Mahomes and Josh Allen. The amount of talent at the position 27 years old or younger is incredible.
Mahomes gets the nod over Allen as the Chiefs impressed with their preseason display of a revamped offense without Tyreek Hill. Expect Mahomes to lead the NFL in attempts, which means his numbers will be as good as they’ve ever been. He’ll be rewarded after doing more with less around him.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
Now entering his fourth season as Maryland’s starting left tackle, Duncan has the athletic feet, balanced movements and mirroring skills to stay at left tackle at the next level. After designating Orlando Brown Jr. with the franchise tag this spring, the Chiefs were unable to work out a long-term agreement for Patrick Mahomes’s blind-side protector even though they “got really close.” If the Chiefs were to find themselves in a similar situation in 2023, Duncan would offer them an athletic tackle to develop as insurance.
Around the NFL
Baker Mayfield didn’t deny he wants to beat the Cleveland Browns in the Carolina Panthers’ Sept. 11 opener at Bank of America Stadium, but he did deny saying he wants to “f--- them up” after last week’s preseason finale against Buffalo.
That contradicted what NFL Network analyst Cynthia Frelund shared on Monday night’s “Around the NFL” podcast with Dan Hanzus, Marc Sessler and Gregg Rosenthal.
Frelund shared on the podcast and repeated to ESPN.com that she talked to Mayfield after the Panthers’ 21-0 victory and said that Mayfield repeated her words when she playfully told him to “f--- them up.”
Jalen Reagor did not live up to expectations for the Philadelphia Eagles since they drafted him in the first round in 2020, but he now has the chance to turn his career around elsewhere.
The Eagles traded the receiver to the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday, ending his tenure in Philadelphia after just two seasons. Philadelphia will receive a 2023 seventh-round pick and a conditional 2024 pick.
“It was just a practice. It was football,” Donald said Wednesday in an interview for an upcoming episode of the AP Pro Football Podcast. “I don’t really want to go back to nothing negative that happened and talk about something that happened in a practice. My main focus is Buffalo.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
But that game matters to those who are inside NFL buildings — and there may be no better proof of that than right here in Kansas City, where the Chiefs defeated the Green Bay Packers 17-10 on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium last Thursday. In that matchup, veteran running back Ronald Jones — who had been written off by nearly everybody that covers this team (including yours truly) — showed that he could provide the Chiefs some value at the back end of his position group.
Jones rushed eight times for 43 yards (5.4 yards per attempt) and caught a four-yard pass.
“I certainly think that last game was important for him,” said general manager Brett Veach via Zoom, speaking to the media on Wednesday after Jones made the 53-man roster. “We have long training camp days and coach [Andy Reid] does an amazing job of getting the most out of that time at St. Joe.
“We are a pass-heavy team, so a lot of St. Joe is dedicated to seven-on-sevens — and sometimes, it feels like we’re out there for hours and hours just doing seven-on-seven. But it’s all about the pass game and refining the quarterback. Every now and then, those days kind of blend together.
“[So] I think that last preseason game was a great reminder of how valuable Ronald Jones can be.”
Jones set the tone for the evening with his first touch of the game, a handoff on second-and-18 where he was met just after the line of scrimmage. Yet Jones powered through the defender for a 9-yard gain.
“I think we can all agree he ran with a lot of authority between the tackles — and we saw flashes of that at training camp,” added Veach. “I think Thursday was a good reminder of how important that role is within our offense — and I certainly think he took advantage of that. So when he got his number called, I think there was a sense of urgency that he ran with — and I think it’s a good springboard for him to continue to work and be a valuable asset for us.”