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Arrowheadlines: Looking back at the hiring of Andy Reid

Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, January 18

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Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The latest

How coach Andy Reid saved the Kansas City Chiefs | ESPN

In early 2012, the Chiefs were interested in signing Peyton Manning, then a free agent after being released by the Indianapolis Colts. But the organization was held in such low esteem that Manning ignored the Chiefs’ overtures, never returning their calls. Instead, Manning signed with one of their AFC West rivals, the Denver Broncos.

“I’m not sure — if I was in his shoes — I would have said the Chiefs were the best option, either,’’ team president Mark Donovan told ESPN.

The dysfunction wasn’t limited to the field. Before Reid’s arrival, there was often friction between the general manager and head coach, disagreements about trying to win now versus building something that could be sustained over the long term.

The situation was so toxic in 2011 that — despite having a shot at the playoffs — the Chiefs fired coach Todd Haley late in the season, in part because of a rift with general manager Scott Pioli.

“When you don’t have success, a lot of times it’s because people aren’t pulling in the same direction,’’ Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. “I think you can certainly look at the years that led up to the hiring of Andy that we had some different perspectives on the football side of the operation, and it was not helping us be successful on the field.”

Final 2022 NFL offensive line rankings | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (DOWN 2)

Week 18 Starters:

LT Orlando Brown Jr.

LG Joe Thuney

C Creed Humphrey

RG Trey Smith

RT Andrew Wylie

Andrew Wylie allowed a sack and three pressures against Maxx Crosby and the Raiders, earning a 23.4 PFF pass-blocking grade.

Wylie surrendered nine sacks and 49 total pressures over the season. His spot is an obvious area for Kansas City to upgrade in 2023.

Best Player: Creed Humphrey

The new gold standard at the center position when it comes to run blocking, Creed Humphrey also didn’t give up a sack all season and earned a 79.7 PFF pass-blocking grade.

Chiefs fans glad Carl Cheffers not assigned to KC playoff game | The Kansas City Star

Chiefs fans may not know every NFL referee by sight, but most know one in particular.

Carl Cheffers.

Cheffers has drawn the ire of Chiefs fans for years, including during two games this season. First, his roughing-the-passer call on Chris Jones’ strip sack of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, led to a rousing chorus of boos at Arrowhead Stadium that lasted nearly an hour.

Last month, the Chiefs were penalized 10 times to four for the Texans in a game worked by Cheffers in Houston.

An even more lopsided penalty disparity in Super Bowl LV had Chiefs fans angry at Cheffers, and then there was the 2017 playoff game against the Steelers. Cheffers flagged the Chiefs for holding, nullifying a game-tying two-point conversion. That irked fans and Travis Kelce (remember the Foot Locker rant?).

Biggest Question Mark for Every Remaining NFL Playoff Team Entering Divisional Round | Bleacher Report

Kansas City Chiefs: Turnovers

By just about every objective measure, the Chiefs are a decisive favorite over the Jaguars in the divisional round. They lead the league in both yards per game and points per game. Their young defense isn’t great, but the unit has allowed fewer yards per game than Jacksonville’s and paced the AFC in sacks.

With that said, though, there’s one issue that could keep the Jaguars in the game. It’s what kept them in it when these teams met in Week 10.

Turnovers.

The turnover bug has been biting K.C. all season long. After needing overtime to get past a woeful Houston Texans team earlier this season (a contest in which the Chiefs committed a turnover for the ninth straight game), quarterback Patrick Mahomes told reporters he was aware that the team needed to clean up its mistakes ahead of the playoffs.

“We know we have a lot to work on, to clean up at least with the turnovers and the penalties,” Mahomes said. “We have to continue to get better as a team so when we get to the playoffs, we’re ready to go to try to make a run.”

There was at least some improvement in that regard, including a turnover-free performance against the Las Vegas Raiders in the regular-season finale. But Kansas City is still 19th in the league in giveaways and has a turnover differential of minus-three (the worst among the teams still alive in the playoffs).

If the Chiefs fall short of the Super Bowl, it is just as likely because they beat themselves rather than being beaten.

And there’s no surer way to do so than turning the ball over.

2023 NFL divisional playoff picks: Cowboys upset 49ers, Giants shock Eagles, Bengals stun Bills | CBSSports.com

The Jaguars surrendered 1,087 receiving yards to tight ends this year and 13.1 yards per reception to tight ends, which were both the third-worst in the NFL. Travis Kelce might have 300 receiving yards by the time this game is over. If the Jags go all-out trying to shut down Kelce, then that will almost certainly open other things up for everyone else on the Chiefs’ offense. The Jags are going to have to pick their poison and it’s going to lead to a slow death, which brings me back to my original point: The only things guaranteed in life are death and Andy Reid winning off the bye, and taxes, I guess, but only if you actually pay them. (And if anyone from the IRS is reading this, I actually love paying taxes. It’s literally one of my three favorite things about living in this country).

THE PICK: Chiefs 31-24 over Jaguars

Record picking JAX-KC games this season: 1-0

Record picking Jaguars games this season: 8-10

Record picking Chiefs games this season: 16-1

Monster Jam Returning to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in May | The Mothership

The excitement begins at the Monster Jam Pit Party held on Saturday. Fans can see the massive trucks up close, meet their favorite drivers and crews, get autographs, and take pictures. New-for-2023 activities including the Sand Box play area, inflatable slides, Spin Master remote control truck course, coloring and temporary tattoo station, and new photo ops, including the chance to take a photo with the Series trophy. This fun-filled experience is the only place that allows people to get up close access to the Monster Jam teams and get an insider’s look at how these trucks are built to stand up to the competition.

Around the NFL

Chargers fire OC Joe Lombardi following playoff collapse vs. Jaguars | NFL.com

The Los Angeles Chargers fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi on Tuesday, three days after the team’s colossal playoff collapse in Jacksonville, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported, per sources.

Pelissero also reported Chargers passing game coordinator/QBs coach Shane Day has also been fired by the club.

The team later confirmed the news on Tuesday.

All signs point to head coach Brandon Staley staying put — he is scheduled to address the media on Wednesday — but change needed to be made following the Chargers’ 31-30 season-ending Super Wild Card Weekend loss to the Jaguars. Moving on from Lombardi is that change, and it’s not all that surprising following a disappointing offensive season for the Bolts that was punctuated by a listless final showing.

Tom Brady 2023 landing spots: What’s next for Buccaneers QB, who’s unsure of NFL future after playoff exit | CBSSports.com

Raiders

Derek Carr has already said goodbye in anticipation of a trade or release, marking the end of a long and gritty but mostly disappointing era of Raiders football. Who better to reset expectations as Josh McDaniels enters year two than the coach’s longtime partner in crime from the Patriots? Las Vegas will have money to spend thanks to Carr’s eventual split, and Davante Adams is already in tow as a No. 1 target, with Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller also due for rebounds. Making another title run wouldn’t be a cakewalk in the same division as the Chiefs , but in terms of system familiarity and big-market appeal, the silver and black make sense (and reportedly already plan to be aggressive in pursuit).

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs Playoffs: 5 statistics about Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones, Mecole Hardman, Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis | Arrowhead Pride

1. While targeting Mecole Hardman, Patrick Mahomes’ passer rating was 142.3

According to PFF, no other NFL wide receiver with 10 or more targets earned a higher mark on those targets. Kansas City wide receiver Kadarius Toney produced a 139.3 passer rating when targeted — the league’s third-highest mark.

It’s a simple way to show how impactful their skill sets are to the offense. Both have primarily been used as role players in the right situations — but they also had the talent to take full advantage. Jet sweeps, quick screens, crossing patterns and designed vertical shots are both maximized by Hardman’s top-end speed and Toney’s play-making in space. Toney has even shown flashes of real ability to win contested catches.

During the postseason, the duo could continue to get fewer opportunities than some of their offensive teammates — but based on the efficiency and creativity of their usage, they could end up making big impacts.

A tweet to make you think

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