Peter Schrager believes Justyn Ross will ‘break out’ in 2023
My top 5 breakout Wide Receivers for 2023. Have at it. pic.twitter.com/fjuRYRxcCw— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) June 5, 2023
Kansas City Chiefs · TE
After notching his seventh straight 1,000-yard receiving season, Travis passed Rob Gronkowski for second-most postseason TD receptions (16) all-time during last year’s Super Bowl run. It’d be kismet for him to succeed Gronk as only the second tight end to receive the Madden nod. He has the boisterous personality the game deserves, something he made evident with his recent Saturday Night Live hosting gig.
Bonus idea: Make it twice as nice by including Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce, who just happens to be Travis’ older brother. They shared the game’s biggest stage in February, as well as the one at SNL’s 30 Rockerfeller Plaza in March (Jason made a cameo). Why not share a cover, too? Officially declare 2023 the year of the Kelces.
Super Bowl: Kansas City Chiefs 38, Philadelphia Eagles 35
Nothing could stop this new-age QB duel—not even a dominant defense or a brilliant game plan.
That Mahomes played well, even against an elite defense, was hardly a surprise. As good as Philly’s defense had been throughout the season, it wasn’t terribly complex. It had an unblockable pass rush that led the league in sacks, so then–defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon didn’t need to do anything fancy in coverage to get his team to the Super Bowl. Against Kansas City, Gannon used a lot of the two-high coverages that had given Mahomes fits in the past, but he didn’t go out of his way to disguise them. And after a slow start to the championship game, Mahomes and Andy Reid figured out Philadelphia’s scheme and bent it to their will.
That the Eagles even had a chance of keeping pace with the NFL MVP is a testament to Hurts’s value and Philly’s loaded roster. Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had put together an awesome plan to limit Philadelphia’s QB-powered run scheme while still not leaving his corners on an island against A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. He did it by using the techniques Macdonald and Staley had used against Cincinnati and Miami—only instead of using pre-snap disguises to disrupt the passing game, Spagnuolo used them against the run.
Kansas City Chiefs: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Everything you just read about Chaisson holds true for Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The No. 32 pick in the 2020 draft has shown a few more flashes than the Jaguars pass-rusher, but he hasn’t been the elite running back the Chiefs hoped they were getting.
Through his first three seasons, Edwards-Helaire has 2,199 scrimmage yards, 17 touchdowns and one Super Bowl ring. He’s also missed time with various injuries, appearing in 13 regular-season games as a rookie and only 20 over the past two seasons.
The Chiefs, unsurprisingly, declined the fifth-year option on his contract.
With Isiah Pacheco establishing himself as a starting-caliber back last year, and Jerick McKinnon back for another run, Edwards-Helaire projects as a complementary piece, at best, in 2023.
Trying to get a pick or two back instead of losing the 24-year-old in free agency next year would be the sensible play.
While the market for an oft-injured running back wouldn’t be high, Edwards-Helaire has enough dual-threat ability—and that fabled first-round status—that some running-back-needy team would likely be willing to bet on him at a bargain price.
Around the NFL
With years put into coming to an agreement with New York state and Erie County on a deal, there was no time to waste on beginning construction on the new stadium grounds in time for the 2026 season.
On Monday morning, however, those came to a pause with gold shovels, a stage and all the proper tools for a celebration to hold the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bills stadium. The agreements include a 30-year lease and a non-relocation agreement that makes it difficult for the team to leave Buffalo, the second-smallest NFL market (larger than only Green Bay).
“While Buffalo isn’t one of the larger NFL markets, the days of us operating as a small-market team are in the past,” EVP/chief operating officer Ron Raccuia said. “On the field, we’ve become a national brand, gaining national attention and attracting national opportunities. Our fans stretch across the country and the world, and as an organization, we carry this banner with commitment and pride.”
Indianapolis Colts player Isaiah Rodgers is under investigation for potentially betting on sports in violation of the NFL’s gambling policy.
The NFL has declined comment on the matter when reached by USA TODAY Sports on Monday, while the Colts acknowledged the matter in a statement to the Indianapolis Star.
“We are aware of the NFL’s investigation, and we will have no further comment at this time,” the Colts said.
Rodgers released a statement on Twitter, taking “full responsibility for my actions.”
“I know I have made mistakes and I am willing to do whatever it takes to repair the situation,” Rodgers wrote. “The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be a distraction to the Colts organization, my coaches, and my teammates. I’ve let people down that I care about.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Saturday morning on SportsCenter that Tagovailoa is “completely healthy” right now after suffering multiple concussions last season, and he’s been a “major voice” for the Dolphins in OTA practices this week:
“I’ve checked on his health, I was told he’s completely healthy now. Not only that, but he’s been working on that Jiu-Jitsu that you’ve heard about; how to fall forward, how to protect his head in the pocket. Well, I was told the Dolphins actually implemented some of those Jiu-Jitsu workouts with their quarterbacks before practices. So, trying to get everybody used to falling down and being able to protect yourselves. I was told Tua is also taking some leadership steps recently. There was a practice where it was a little bit sloppy. He stopped the whole thing, sort of talked to the offense, maybe even laid into them a little bit. I was told that’s something Tua would not have done a couple of years ago, but now he’s a major voice in Miami.”
After not adding to the defensive line in this year’s draft, the Bills signed defensive tackle Poona Ford to a one-year, $2.25 million deal, including $1.5 million guaranteed, in May. Defensive tackle Ed Oliver also agreed to terms on a four-year, $68 million extension with $45 million guaranteed on Saturday.
Floyd, 30, adds another veteran presence to a Bills pass-rushing group that includes his former Los Angeles Rams teammate Von Miller, who is coming off a major right ACL injury suffered on Thanksgiving that has about a nine-month recovery window, putting his availability in question for the start of the season. The Bills have also invested heavily in recent drafts at the position with second-round picks A.J. Epenesa (2020) and Boogie Basham (2021) and first-round pick Greg Rousseau (2021).
Herbert, who is under contract through the 2024 season after the Chargers exercised the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option this past April, maintained his commitment to the franchise on Monday despite not having an update on the situation.
“They’ve done such a great job of taking care of us and my message really hasn’t changed,” Herbert said, via Thiry. “It’s been an honor to be a part of this team. It’s great to come to events like this and whatever happens, happens and it’s out of my control at this point.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Greater volume of receptions
While this has more to do with how the coaching staff chooses to use Pacheco, his 13 receptions from 2022 are something to build upon.
Head coach Andy Reid’s screen game requires near-perfect timing from everyone: the offensive line, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the running backs themselves. For a young player, the intricacies of this kind of play can be a challenge.
But as his rookie season progressed, Pacheco was able to take some screen passes — with highly effective results.
I would like to see Pacheco's role expanded in the screen game in 2023. Getting the timing down is the big key to success. Only 52 gets a clean release but Pacheco uses the block to cut to the outside where he breaks one tackle and speeds ahead for more yards. pic.twitter.com/kCwmifUeee— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) May 24, 2023
On this play — which owes a lot to tremendous downfield blocking by center Creed Humphrey — Pacheco catches the ball, eludes tacklers and shows off his game-breaking speed.
A tweet to make you think
Travis Kelce wanted to get on the mic at the White House....— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) June 5, 2023
Patrick Mahomes got him outta there pic.twitter.com/gsCi1ygsnd