NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport initially reported the news Friday. The team later announced the moves.
“I want to thank Tom and Brandon for their hard work, dedication and professionalism, and wish both them and their great families nothing but the best,” said Chargers owner Dean Spanos. “These decisions are never easy, nor are they something I take lightly — especially when you consider the number of people they impact. We are clearly not where we expect to be, however, and we need new vision. Doing nothing in the name of continuity was not a risk I was willing to take. Our fans have stood strong through so many ups and downs and close games. They deserve more. Frankly, they’ve earned more. Building and maintaining a championship-caliber program remains our ultimate goal. And reimagining how we achieve that goal begins today.”
The Chargers named Giff Smith as interim head coach and JoJo Wooden as interim general manager for the remainder of the 2023 season. Smith, the Chargers’ outside linebackers coach, has been with the club since 2016. Wooden joined the Chargers in 2013 as the director of player personnel.
Chargers defensive run game coordinator/defensive line coach Jay Rodgers was also relieved of his duties on Friday, the team announced.
6) Mahomes ranks 21st in yards per attempt targeting wide receivers this season (career-low 7.36). He’s averaging more targeting running backs and tight ends (7.44).
7) Mahomes has the same number of touchdowns to Toney as he does the other team when targeting Toney this year (one of each thanks to his Week 1 pick-six on Toney’s drop).
TE Noah Gray: While Travis Kelce is getting virtually all of the spotlight at the tight end position, the team’s No. 2 has also been quite productive this year: Noah Gray, who is a top-5 skill position player in snaps played as well as receptions (22; t-5th), receiving yards (246; 5th) and touchdowns (2; t-4th). With the Patriots likely focusing on limiting Kelce’s impact, they cannot forget about Gray.
OT Wanya Morris: The Chiefs have a stout interior offensive line — ex-Patriot Joe Thuney is one of the best left guards in the NFL; Creed Humphrey is as good a center as there is; Trey Smith is good at both run and pass blocking at right guard — but there are questions at the tackle spots. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor has had his ups and downs, with left tackle Donovan Smith uncertain to play on Sunday after missing back-to-back practices due to a neck issue.
If Smith is unable to go, the game against the Patriots would mark just the second time this season Kansas City would not have its top five up front available this season (a stark contrast to its opponent this week). It would also push Wanya Morris back into the starting lineup.
A third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma earlier this year, Morris is the nominal No. 2 at left tackle and started last week’s game against Buffalo. The 6-foot-5, 307-pounder did have some ups and downs, and gave up five total quarterback pressures. New England will likely see him as a player it can attack, so it will be interesting to see what Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo throw his way.
Week 13: Mahomes throws fourth-quarter interception
The Chiefs trailed the Green Bay Packers, 24-19, midway through the final period and had a first down on the Green Bay 49. But Mahomes threw an interception that killed the drive. The Packers eventually tacked on another field goal and held on for a 27-19 win.
Mahomes and his intended receiver, Moore, had different ideas about how the route was to be run. Moore briefly stopped his route as Mahomes was making the throw, indicating he believed Mahomes would throw to his back shoulder, away from the defender.
Mahomes threw the pass as if Moore would continue the route down the field. Mahomes wondered publicly after the game whether Moore was right and he should have thrown to his back shoulder.
“That’s a mistake on my part that you can’t make in that situation,” Mahomes said.
3 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 7
2023 stats: 13 games | 676.9 pct | 3,398 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 23 pass TD | 11 INT | 339 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles
The narrative in Kansas City is no longer deniable: Mahomes’ supporting cast isn’t doing its part. Much of this game was a typical Mahomes performance, and his touchdown pass to Rashee Rice seemed overdue, if anything. The negative side of Week 14, though, was the reminder that Mahomes is being asked to carry the Chiefs more than he’s been expected to at any point in his stellar career. I’m not sure he’ll be able to see them across the finish line, especially against defenses playing as well as Buffalo did Sunday. And I won’t even get into Mahomes’ mental meltdown in the final seconds of this game; that’s just frustration understandably boiling over.
OT Garret Greenfield and LG Mason McCormick, South Dakota State
“Aside from quick wins, Greenfield struggles as the down progresses due to disjointed footwork that saps his ability to redirect, transition his weight and stay attached with proper leverage, leading to falling off a lot of blocks clean. Greenfield’s size and athletic ability are enough to warrant a look at being drafted, but his draft cycle performances (Shrine Bowl and South Dakota State pro day) will go a long way at earning a shot to be drafted given how uneven his film was against middling competition.”
McCormick is a workmanlike interior blocker who helps grind out yardage in the run game but is limited athletically.
“The guard is a stiff, rigid mover on film,” Thorn said, “but packs a punch when he lines up his target, delivering several knockdown blows on the move to uproot and dump defenders as a puller. The 6’5”, 315-pounder also shows solid anchor strength with a firm clench and the lower-body strength to gradually absorb force to maintain the integrity of the pocket against the bull rush with active, alert eyes to handle basic twists and stunts.
“His middling quickness and inability to consistently recover when initially beat leads to a lot of clean losses that shrink his margin for error with technique, footwork and aiming points that will be difficult to overcome as a pro, but his square power and nasty demeanor give him a fighting chance at sticking as a backup.”
Greenfield’s Ideal Fit: Kansas City Chiefs
McCormick’s Ideal Fit: Baltimore Ravens
Around the NFL
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s availability for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets remains in question, coach Mike McDaniel said Friday, although he provided the parameters for whether Hill will play.
McDaniel said Hill will miss his third straight practice Friday, but that it’s not something necessarily worth reading into. The bigger qualifier for Hill’s availability is the conversation the coach will have with the NFL’s leading receiver about his injured ankle.
“Bottom line is we’ll have a conversation that will be based on — remember, this is Tyreek Hill’s career,” McDaniel said. “He’s a very experienced player. I handle very experienced players different than I handle younger guys, because they know what they signed up for and it’s his career.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Social media has not been kind to Watson’s teammate Kadarius Toney. During the team’s final offensive possession on Sunday, his alignment issue drew a flag that wiped out his go-ahead touchdown.
But according to Toney, he and his teammates can’t spend time thinking about that. They’re “moving forward.”
“We’re coming down [to] the final stretch here,” Watson reminded his listeners. “[There’s] four weeks — and the mentality has been just [to do] whatever we can do to get better.”
That includes a little extra work.
“I think everyone in the receiver room has been in a little bit earlier this week,” said Watson. “We’re watching film more with quarterbacks. So [it’s] just small things that you do anyway — just a little bit more of it.”
A tweet to make you think
Andy Reid confirmed WR Justyn Ross will not play against the Patriots. Like with Isiah Pacheco, the Chiefs are looking at next week for Ross' return.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) December 15, 2023