Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receivers
Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs had to prove they could still be explosive on offense without Tyreek Hill.
They answered that question with a resounding yes, but JuJu Smith-Schuster was a large part of the equation. He saw 101 targets, which he converted into 78 receptions for 933 yards and three touchdowns. He was the clear No. 2 receiver behind Travis Kelce.
Kelce will return in 2023, but Smith-Schuster is now a New England Patriot. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is coming back as one of the team’s primary vertical threats, but there are questions as to how the rest of the roles will turn out.
Kadarius Toney caught a touchdown in the Super Bowl but has only played in 19 games in his first two years in the league and has missed a large portion of training camp with a knee injury.
Skyy Moore will try to rebound from a disappointing rookie season in which he had 22 receptions for 250 yards.
Justyn Ross has been the story of camp, but he’s not played in a game yet. Rashee Rice will also have a chance to make an impact as a second-round pick, but Moore showed us last season that rookie receivers aren’t guaranteed success.
The combination of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are able to cover for some deficiencies at wide receiver. But this receiving corps could test the limits of the duo this season.
Mitchell Schwartz, former right tackle (four tours): He has the reps just generally set up a bit different. The first week or two of camp, most coaches have reps more evenly spaced out. He just starts right away — the ones are getting eight reps, the twos are getting four or five reps and the threes are getting two reps. That catches people’s eyes.
Justin Reid, safety (second tour): I came in prepared this year. Last year, that first week or two, was just very fast. It’s mentally challenging. The practices are way faster than any of the games ever are.
Tranquill: He grinds you. Sometimes you just feel like a turtle walking off the field.
Nagy: Last year, (former receiver) JuJu (Smith-Schuster) was laying on the turf in the indoor field and tweeted out, “That’s the hardest practice I’ve ever had.” I was like, “Dude, that’s, like, nothing compared to what you’re about to walk into.”
Jones is four years older than Bosa and signed for four years and $80 million as a franchise-tagged player in 2020. The four-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler is under contract for $19.5 million this season before he can hit free agency next March.
He is coming off a season with 15.5 sacks, 29 QB hits and 17 tackles for loss. He also added two sacks during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run. Jones is now up to 65 career regular season sacks.
The Donald contract is also a benchmark Jones seeks to reach or exceed under an extension. It will be a bit risky for the Chiefs to pay Jones that much when he would be playing in his early 30s under his next deal. The 49ers would have no such concern with the younger Bosa as he enters his second contract.
Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals (Sat., 8 p.m. ET)
Chiefs: Richie James is starting to get first-team reps at wide receiver after a strong preseason opener, highlighted by a 43-yard reception and a touchdown catch to follow shortly after. James has had a good camp and injuries to Kadarius Toney and Justyn Ross have given him the opportunity, although Ross returned to practice on Wednesday.
Cardinals: Hard to think there’s an actual quarterback competition in Arizona, but Clayton Tune did go 13 of 23 for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception (70.0 rating). Colt McCoy is likely the starter until Kyler Murray returns, yet Tune may get an extended look this preseason as the franchise looks past 2023. The Cardinals like the fifth-round pick.
Our Weekly Tuesday Community Question usually gets most of you going.
But this week’s installment, really hit a nerve. Of course, the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium are hosting the Super Bowl on February 11, 2024. We asked this week what tea do you most not want to see win on that field next winter
Clearly, there was an obvious answer and it got many of you fired up. In no circumstance, can Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and the rest of those stinkin’ Kansas City Chiefs can hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Las Vegas. It just can’t happen, you all say.
Around the NFL
Stock up: the Daniel Jones-Darren Waller connection
Word out of Giants camp has been that Waller, the ex-Raiders star, is the real deal as Jones’ new top target. It sure looked the case against Carolina, with Jones feeding Waller four passes — and connecting on three for 30 yards — on the first drive alone. Durability, of course, is a long-term key. But it’s clear Waller still gets open with ease when healthy, even as a designated focal point.
The Baltimore Ravens announced on Friday they have reached a deal with Clowney. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Clowney’s deal is for one year and worth up to $6 million.
Baltimore becomes the fifth team for which the former first-overall pick has played in his nine-year career. Clowney isn’t going far, staying in the AFC North after spending the last two seasons in Cleveland.
The 30-year-old produced a positive return for the Browns in his first season with the team, recording nine sacks, 11 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. His second year with the Browns, however, did not go nearly as well, with Clowney finishing with just two sacks in 12 games played before his critical comments regarding the team’s defensive staff led to him finishing the season inactive and being released in March.
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was emphatic about the first part and admittedly somewhat nervous about the second when he spoke to reporters on Friday.
It was clear he wanted to silence any talk that Bakhtiari could join Aaron Rodgers and the cast of other former Packers with the Jets. Bakhtiari is one of the only players from Rodgers’ inner circle who is still in Green Bay, and the Jets might need help on the offensive line.
“First off all, we’re not going to trade David,” Gutekunst said. “So let’s just get that out of the way because I know there’s been a little bit of chatter about that, and it’s not going to happen.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
2. A pep in the secondary’s step
It’s may just be the preseason, but it was still a discouraging debut for the Chiefs’ back end in preseason Week 1.
The defensive front is dealing with the absence of star defensive tackle Chris Jones — which doesn’t help the secondary — but in Week 1, the starting off-ball defenders looked sluggish on their own.
Early on, safety Justin Reid was easily beaten by a tight end in man coverage — and then inexplicably abandoned his zone to allow the opening-drive score. Linebacker Nick Bolton allowed himself to be blocked out of several gash runs. Cornerback Trent McDuffie gave up multiple deep completions in man coverage — including a touchdown where he was out-jumped for the ball.
In the second or third season for many of these defenders, expectations are high. It could have simply been an energy issue in New Orleans — but a repeat in Arizona could raise further questions about these players.
A tweet to make you think
Todd Bowles is the only coach in the NFL with WORSE odds than Andy Reid to win Coach of the Year...— Price Carter (@ArrowheadPrice) August 17, 2023
2 Rings, 4 SB appearances, 10 Conference Championships, 22-16 playoff record..