Gates, meanwhile, helped to redefine the tight end position while forcing front offices to rethink how they evaluated certain prospects. Despite not playing a single down of college football, the 43-year-old was an All-Pro by his second NFL season and wound up with 11,841 receiving yards and 116 touchdowns across 16 years.
Jamaal Charles, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson, Haloti Ngata, T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton and Max Unger are the other first-time nominees.
Given how close he got in 2023, fans will be eager to see whether Hester’s impressive production as a return man will be justly rewarded. He returned five kicks and 14 punts for touchdowns
Kansas City Chiefs
Issues at the tackle position: Both Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith have had their problems through two games, which could be a significant problem for the Chiefs come January. Taylor has allowed just one pressure in 88 pass-blocking snaps through two games, but had five penalties in Sunday’s win (he got flagged twice for false starts, and twice for holding and once for illegal formation). The Chiefs actually sat him for a bit after the fourth penalty. Smith has allowed seven pressures through two games and three quarterback hits, with a pressure rate allowed of 7.8%. Those numbers aren’t good, as the only reason Smith hasn’t allowed a sack is because Patrick Mahomes gets rid of the football quickly. Only two games have been played, but the Chiefs need to clean things up with Taylor and Smith.
4 - Chiefs
The world is not ending, Chiefs fans. None of your receivers can get open or catch the ball, but it’s not all over (yet).
Patrick Mahomes is still the league’s best quarterback. Hell, he’s still the best football player on the planet. He is the reason why even after an ugly Week 1 showing against the Lions, the Chiefs are still Super Bowl favorites. Travis Kelce will be back in the starting lineup soon enough. Star defensive tackle Chris Jones is already back on a one-year deal. And it quite literally can’t get any worse than what we saw from Kadarius Toney on Thursday night. It’s clear that there might be growing pains with Toney and Skyy Moore as the team’s top receivers, but Mahomes and Andy Reid will iron out the kinks soon enough. (They have to, right!?) —Austin Gayle
PICK NO. 31: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: EDGE FELIX ANUDIKE-UZOMAH
Overall Rookie Grade: 71.1 (Rank: 2/12)
Principal Opponent: Walker Little
Week 2 Snaps: 16
Week 2 Grade: 69.0
Anudike-Uzomah fits into the Chiefs’ defense nicely as a situational pass rusher. On 15 pass-rush snaps in Week 2, he collected a hurry and an odd sack of Trevor Lawrence during which he was credited with a forced fumble. Nevertheless, his ability as a speed rusher is evident and he is firmly in the Chiefs’ rotation while he refines his other skills behind the scenes.
Around the NFL
Chase, however, isn’t fretting about the lack of production.
“Be patient. Tee (Higgins) had the hot hand, so you know I just do my job, do what I can do, and let Tee eat,” he said Monday, via Joe Danneman of FOX 19.
Through two weeks, Chase’s longest reception went for 13 yards. He has seen just one pass his way of 20-plus air yards and three over 15-plus yards — all going incomplete. The two-time Pro Bowler said the Bengals need to push the ball down the field more moving forward to open the offense.
“Got to get some go routes in there — just get some downfield shots,” Chase said. “That way, we can come back to anything else underneath.”
Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is expected to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery Tuesday morning to repair a broken fibula.
“It’s hard to put that into words,” Panthers coach Frank Reich said when asked what he’ll miss most about not having his veteran leader. “We talk about a brotherhood — he is just a close brother. This is a warrior. This is a guy who knows how to practice, he knows how to play, he’s a team-first player.
“I was texting him last night. He’s talking about ways he can get back before he gets all the news [about needing surgery], trying to figure out a way he’s going to help the team. These injuries hurt.”
Replacing Thompson, who led the team in tackles last season with 135, a week after losing starting cornerback Jaycee Horn (hamstring) for an extended period won’t be easy.
3. New England Patriots
Two losses at home. Great coach, albeit one in (still fairly) unfamiliar (post-Brady) circumstances. Three of the next four on the road. Very tough division. They seemingly stand to benefit from AFC playoff hopefuls like the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns already suffering catastrophic injuries. (Worth noting, the last time the Pats started 0-2 – in 2001 – they won the Super Bowl.)
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“I took him [Jawaan Taylor] out for a couple plays,” said Reid. “Stepped back. This is home — not only home, but also where he played. You know: just [step] back — and let’s get you back out there. He had some big blocks later in the game there; [he] did a nice job finishing.”
Reid took Taylor off the field after two offensive holding calls were called on him in a three- play sequence. Taylor returned on the next drive to finish the game.
“I mean, through social media he knew some of this was going to get called,” explained quarterback Patrick Mahomes after the game. “He’s going to continue to get better and better. They’re cracking down on some of the alignment stuff — but we’re playing football, man... He’ll get closer [to the line of scrimmage] so they don’t call it — and we’ll continue to work on the snap counts. But he’s a great player. He’ll continue to play and get comfortable. And it’s hard — when [you’re] getting picked on a little bit — to keep playing your game, but I have all the confidence in him in the world.”
A tweet to make you think
Per PFF, Leo Chenal had 8 snaps as a pass rusher Sunday, the most he’s ever had in a game— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) September 19, 2023
He tallied 4 pressures, all hurries, in those 8 snaps