Mahomes: "I only make good TV, that's what I do. You never see me win a blowout, I just keep it real close to the end." pic.twitter.com/w8CiU9bZRE— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) June 30, 2023
5. NFL reveals training camp dates for all 32 teams
Browns will also be reporting early. As the other team in the Hall of Fame game, the Browns are also allowed to report to camp early, but they won’t be showing up as early as the Jets. The Browns veterans will report to camp on July 21. Based on how Deshaun Watson looked at the end of last season, it’s probably for the best that the Browns get to report early this year.
Chiefs and Lions will report to camp on July 22. As the two teams playing in the regular-season opener, the Chiefs and Lions are also allowed to report early and they’ll both be taking advantage of that by having their veterans report on July 22.
No surprise here. Smith has been excellent since he arrived in the NFL two years ago. The Chiefs have remained elite thanks, in part, to the pivotal draft picks that helped them rebuild their offensive line prior to the 2021 season. Of course, having Patrick Mahomes at quarterback helps, too. Smith was one of those picks in 2021 and, as a sixth-round selection (226th overall), he’s already exceeded expectations.
During the game-winning drive of Super Bowl LVII, Smith-Schuster got the chains moving with a 10-yard reception for the Chiefs’ initial first down. He also drew the infamous holding call on Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry that provided Kansas City with a new set of downs and allowed the Chiefs to run off almost all of the remaining time before kicking the deciding field goal.
After leading Kansas City’s wide receivers with 78 receptions and 933 receiving yards, Smith-Schuster signed with the New England Patriots this offseason. Granted, tight end Travis Kelce is Patrick Mahomes’ preferred target. But the ability to consistently win on the outside makes the Chiefs’ offense more dynamic, as previously seen with Tyreek Hill tilting the field.
General manager Brett Veach signed Richie James in free agency and drafted Rashee Rice in this year’s second round, but the Chiefs’ top four wide receivers—Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Justin Watson—were already on the roster.
However, none of them managed more than 687 receiving yards last season.
Without the speed of Hill, or even Mecole Hardman, and Smith-Schuster gone, progression is needed. The young targets are aware of their situation.
“Coming into year two, I definitely have the hang of everything, just knowing the playbook, what Pat likes, Coach [Andy] Reid likes,” said Moore, whom the Chiefs selected in last year’s second round. “I knew what I needed to improve on. I found that out early in the season last year. I’ve been waiting for a long time because I knew what to correct.
“I just want to show (Mahomes), ‘If you look this way, you won’t be made. I’m going to be a reliable weapon for him.’”
Kelce remains the Chiefs’ top target, but more will be needed from Kansas City’s young wide receivers.
Around the NFL
Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry of the Indianapolis Colts and free agent Demetrius Taylor were suspended indefinitely — through at least the 2023 season — for betting on NFL games last season.
In addition, Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere was suspended six games for betting on other sports at the workplace. The four suspensions were announced Thursday by the NFL.
The Colts subsequently announced that both Rodgers and Berry have been waived as a consequence of their suspensions.
“The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance,” general manager Chris Ballard said in a statement. “As an organization we will continue to educate our players, coaches, and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations.”
CBS Sports announced the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year signed a multi-year deal to be an NFL studio analyst. Watt will begin the gig in Week 1 of the 2023 season.
“I love the game too much to be away from it entirely. I’m very excited to be joining CBS Sports to contribute across all their NFL shows and platforms, including working alongside and learning from JB, Coach, Boomer, Phil and Nate this fall,” said Watt. “Hopefully fans will enjoy the insights and knowledge I’ve gained over my 12 years in the NFL and if we’re lucky, we’ll share a few laughs along the way as well.”
A first-round pick by Houston in 2011, Watt earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors five times in a decade with the Texans. The 34-year-old spent the past two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before announcing his retirement in December.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The Chiefs traded for Toney right at the trade deadline. He played in only seven games, as he was limited due to injuries. Reports are that the coaching staff is high on Toney and believes the former first-round pick can be the go-to receiver. In his limited time with the Chiefs last season, he had 14 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Nothing about those numbers jumps off the page, but the reason for excitement comes from the tape. Reid will be creative in getting Toney the ball from traditional routes, quick screens and jet sweeps. The biggest question surrounding Toney is whether he can stay on the field. Until it’s proven that he can, the expectations have to be tempered.
Prediction: 70 receptions, 857 yards and seven touchdowns