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Pro Football Focus names Chiefs’ most ‘underrated’ playerby Pete Sweeney on May 27, 2020 at 7:22 pm
Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images It’s the team’s starting right tackle, Mitch Schwartz. Football analytics website Pro Football Focus named the most underrated player for all 32 NFL teams on Wednesday. When it came to the Kansas City Chiefs, the site went with starting right tackle Mitch Schwartz. Here is the writeup from PFF author Ben Linsey: LINSEY: Schwartz is another name in the category of, “This guy should definitely have a Pro Bowl appearance.” He has graded at 72.0 or higher overall in each of his eight NFL seasons, and he’s coming off a career year in 2019 where his 89.3 overall grade ranked second at the tackle position to only Ryan Ramczyk. The fact that Schwartz allowed just one pressure (a hurry, at that) in 134 pass-blocking snaps during the Chiefs’ postseason run is hard to overstate. That’s impressive, impressive stuff. Maybe 2020 will finally be the year Schwartz receives that ever-elusive Pro Bowl recognition. The PFF nod comes just a week after Schwartz was named the 41st-best player in the league by CBS Sports, so perhaps the tide is turning for the right tackle when it comes to the league-wide notoriety it takes to be voted to the Pro Bowl. His recent Instagram cooking takeover on NFL’s The Checkdown probably did not hurt, either. As PFF notes, Schwartz did not allow a sack in Kansas City’s postseason run that led to a Super Bowl title. “We have a ton of respect for him here and all that he does,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Schwartz in early February. “That’s what’s made him so good with his stop here in Kansas City. He’s a big part of this thing and why we’ve had success. It doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s just how he’s wired. He’s a brilliant guy and loves to play the game.” The 30-year-old is one of the best in the league at his position, and the Chiefs have him under control through 2021 after signing him to a contract extension last summer. Schwartz has started every game of his eight-year career dating back to his time with the Cleveland Browns. He played 7,894 consecutive snaps before missing a few plays against the Tennessee Titans in November. If no, weigh in with your answer below.
2018 Re-Draft: Who should the Chiefs have taken instead?by Kent Swanson on May 27, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images Making some new selections for the Chiefs in the 2018 NFL Draft based upon what we now know on episode 153 of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory. Yes, it’s a little to early to re-draft the 2018 NFL Draft. However, after Monday’s episode of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, when we discussed how many selections from that draft class are at risk of not making the roster, we decided to do a re-draft of the class on the Wednesday episode. Here is what I went with — and yes, we are using the beautiful gift of hindsight. (Note: The only rule we had is that we could only take the players in between the Chiefs’ next pick. So for pick 46 we could only select the players taken between 46 and 75.) 46. WR D.J. Chark Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports Another strong candidate here is Fred Warner (who Matt and Craig both went with), but if I’m going to start banging the drum for the Chiefs taking offense early and often every year, I’m kicking it off here. Warner made this conviction rather difficult to adhere to, especially since I had him in the top 50 in my draft rankings, but Chark is no slouch either. The wide receiver is coming off a breakout sophomore year that saw him surpass 1,000 receiving yards with shaky quarterback play. Chark would fit in nicely as a vertical threat that has the ability to develop into much more as a receiver — including a chance to play some at the X spot. 75. DT Derrick Nnadi Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports He can stay. There aren’t many players I’d argue for outside of Nnadi. 100. RB Nyheim Hines Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports Hines was tailor-made to play in Kansas City. He has plus ability out of the backfield in the passing game and home-run hitting ability in the run game. He has more receiving yards in his career than rushing yards. The Chiefs could utilize him in a more efficient De’Anthony Thomas role, although he provides much more than he ever did. Hines also had two punt-return touchdowns this past season on special teams. Frank Reich is looking to increase his role in 2020, and Philip Rivers is the guy to do it. 124. CB Tre Flowers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images The Seattle Seahawks took a college safety and moved him outside to play in their press-heavy scheme, and Flower thrived. Steve Spagnuolo has catered his defense to allow Charvarius Ward to press at the line of scrimmage a lot. Why not add a 6-foot-3, 203-pound corner into the mix as well? Flowers has 30 regular-season starts under his belt and finished his sophomore campaign with three interceptions and eight passes defended, two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 82 tackles. He could fit in nicely in Spagnuolo’s defense. How to listen to Arrowhead Pride podcasts Arrowhead Pride podcasts are available on Amazon Alexa, Apple, Google, Spotify and Stitcher. Please rate and review, as this help us grow AP Radio to reach more Chiefs fans all over the world! Up next: The Arrowhead Pride Editor’s Show on Thursday. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
The onside kick alternative rule proposal language has been updatedby Pete Sweeney on May 27, 2020 at 1:59 pm
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images ...as first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. We have been covering the Philadelphia Eagles’ rule proposal to give NFL team’s an onside kick alternative (twice a game) extensively here at Arrowhead Pride — ever since Patrick Mahomes hinted that he did not seem to think fourth-and-15 provided much of a challenge. We confirmed last Wednesday that teams did not have to be trailing in order to use the alternative, and word broke this Wednesday that there have been some slight changes to the proposal. Here is the update, as first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer: NFL coaches received revisions to Philly's 4th-and-15 onside-kick alternative this AM with 2 major addendums, I'm told. Those are ...• The option is for regulation only. Can't be used in OT.• It will be an untimed down.These clean up some expected unintended consequences.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 27, 2020 And NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero chimed in with official language: Clubs received updated language on the proposed onside kick alternative that (as @AlbertBreer noted) clarifies it can only be used in regulation, not overtime, and is an untimed down. Also note the language on post-score penalties. Virtual meeting tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/NWrbrazEuz— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 27, 2020 The regulation-time note prevents teams from using the play to end the game if they hit a field goal and try to keep possession. The “untimed down” means teams can’t use the play to drain the last few seconds of a game if they are winning. We saw this type of play in Super Bowl, when Mahomes threw the ball up on fourth-and-25 rather than punting so that the clock would hit zero and the game would be over. Now that the rule’s language is set, NFL owners will vote virtually on Thursday. 24 of 32 owners will need to approve the rule for it to pass.
Chiefs should prioritize offense every year of Patrick Mahomes’ careerby Kent Swanson on May 27, 2020 at 12:15 pm
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images A new approach to making the most of what the Chiefs have in their long-awaited franchise QB. I bought a brand new car back in 2012 and have had it ever since. The owners manual gave me a long list of things to repair and maintain at various milestones in the car’s life. Change this at 50,000 miles, recharge this at 100,000, etc. Most of us don’t do all of those things and prefer to be reactionary when something breaks down. Yeah, we’ll change the oil and perform basic maintenance, but we’re going to get more miles out of that air filter than they say we can. In the case of the Kansas City Chiefs, I think they should go above and beyond to maintain the fine-tuned engine they have offensively. They should be as proactive as my Scion’s manual wants me to be — even if it seems excessive. In the last three drafts, I’ve been an advocate for the Chiefs addressing the defensive side of the football with their first pick in the draft — specifically at cornerback. The Chiefs have largely neglected the position be it in free agency or the draft — no cornerback has been taken outside of day three of the draft. The last two drafts have seen general manager Brett Veach address offensive skill players with his first selection — something I always understood but would have preferred a different approach. Before the 2019 draft, my co-host on the AP Draft Show, Jacob Stack, introduced the #Score100 movement — continually adding on offense to keep the offense humming and take it to new heights. I’ve never been completely opposed to the idea — just have historically preferred a different approach. A new perspective finally hit me this week on the idea of investing early assets on the position that made me both understand and become an advocate for it. Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images Patrick Mahomes makes the difference I’ve always viewed the idea as a discussion about creating an offense with the highest ceiling. What resonated with me is when I finally looked at it as maintaining an extremely high floor offensively. The goal should be to give Patrick Mahomes more than enough to keep this offense in the top three. You could argue that won’t take much, but you also can never have too many pieces around a generational talent like the Chiefs now have in Mahomes. When I look at it as maintenance instead of getting greedy offensively, I like the philosophy more. Even though Veach has yet to address cornerback with an early pick, his first two drafts saw the Chiefs take at least two defensive players with their first three picks. This past draft, the Chiefs took two offensive players with their top three picks — running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and offensive tackle Lucas Niang. I will advocate for offensive picks early and often like they did this past April. The Chiefs should take an approach of being a year early at any major offensive position. Having a player with at least a year under his belt before stepping into a critical role offensively isn’t a bad approach and one they are doing with Niang if they keep him at tackle. Maintaining an offensive strength in a scoring league is the best way to maintain a championship team and get the most out of the best player in the world. It’s not that Mahomes needs all the help in the world; it’s that he doesn’t have to carry the burden by surrounding him with day three picks on offense. Give him as much help as you can and he’ll reward you with greatness for the next 15 years — even when you’re having to pay him handsomely. Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Embracing the downsides There are downsides to this approach, sure. But that’s where Veach and company will get creative. The Chiefs likely are going to be in the bottom five spending at a position I’ve wanted them to address early in the last three drafts — cornerback. They’ve gotten creative by getting exceptional safeties to help support the position — another creative way to help stay cost-controlled outside. If you’re going to be top-heavy offensively in the first two days of the draft, you’ll have to take more swings defensively on day three. The Chiefs smartly double-dipped at cornerback in the fourth and seventh rounds of this past draft with L’Jarius Sneed and BoPete Keyes. Cornerback is a critical-but-fickle position, and the Chiefs gave themselves two great lottery tickets with minimal investment. The fantastic staff the Chiefs have built on the defensive side of the ball will go a long way in helping them deal with lesser assets if they continue to feed the pipeline on offense. Andy Reid prioritized his defensive staff in the turnover from Bob Sutton, and his group was able to make do with a lack of talent in some areas of the defense. What they lacked in talent, they made up for in assignment football. This isn’t to say the Chiefs should ignore that side of the ball, either — they just might have to do it with less draft capital. As attrition occurs on defense, that pipeline will have to continue to be fed. Mahomes is going to get the most out of everyone in the huddle with him — the Chiefs should keep filling that huddle with premium picks. He will help them reach their potential, and Kansas City will be primed to reap the reward of compensatory picks for any players they have to move on for budgetary reasons. If the Chiefs keep loading up offensively, they’ll have a group that score on anyone and will be in contention for a Super Bowl every year. They made it within six inches of the final game with one of the worst defenses in the league. With a good staff and some development from lesser draft picks, they can still maintain a good enough defense for championships (plural).
Arrowheadlines: Willie Gay Jr. is under more pressure than most rookiesby Tom Childs on May 27, 2020 at 10:30 am
Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, May 27 The latest Five rookies who most need to succeed in Year 1: Heat on Chiefs LB | NFL 1. Willie Gay Jr., LB, Kansas City Chiefs As much as people touted all the things Kansas City’s first-round pick, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, will do in Andy Reid’s high-octane offense, Gay is the player who will determine how successful this Chiefs draft class really is. The first thing to know is that the former Mississippi State product can flat-out fly. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine (second-best time among linebackers) and he plays just as fast when he’s on the field. It’s no secret that Kansas City’s major weakness on defense was at linebacker, where it lacked athleticism and dynamic playmaking ability. Gay can offset those troubles because he’s known for his range, blitzing and coverage potential. The major concern about Gay, and it’s a big one, is character. He served an eight-game suspension in 2019 because of an academic scandal and he was ejected from two games over his last two seasons for personal fouls. He also reportedly broke the orbital bone of a teammate during a fight after a practice late last year. The Chiefs say they weren’t daunted by those issues, as they obviously see more reward than risk here. The fact is that Kansas City won its first Super Bowl in 50 years because its defense turned into a strength instead of a weakness last season. If Gay is as good as advertised, he’ll be a major asset for a team hungry to repeat. Ex-Chiefs coach Herm Edwards calls NFL incentive for minority hires ’bad for football’ | Kansas City Star However, teams will be required to interview at least two minority candiate from outside their organization for a head coaching opening and at least one for an open defensive or special-teams coordinator job. One minority candidate must be interviewed for a vacant general manager’s job, too. “Perhaps if the new rules work, they will become known as the ‘Bieniemy Amendments’ to the Rooney Rule,” columnist John Feinstein of the Washington Post wrote. “Eric Bieniemy, the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, was considered a near-lock to get a head coaching job this past season. Instead, he was passed over.” Ranking the NFL’s defenses from worst to first | Touchdown Wire 13. Kansas City Chiefs Yes, the Chiefs are led by Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s most explosive offense, but Andy… Yes, the Chiefs are led by Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s most explosive offense, but Andy Reid’s team wouldn’t have won Super Bowl LIV without the efforts of two new additions — defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who played at a Defensive Player of the Year pace through the entire season. Things could be even better in 2020 and beyond, as there appears to be a total belief in Spagnuolo and Mathieu as the defense’s schematic and emotional leaders, star defensive lineman Chris Jones got franchise-tagged, safety Juan Thornhill should be recovered from the torn ACL that cost him the postseason, and Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr. adds much-needed athleticism to the position if he can stay out of trouble. Eight Things The Kansas City Chiefs Could Use To Replace Fans In Arrowhead Stadium | Arrowhead Report Cardboard cutouts of fans The Chiefs could hold a contest on Twitter where fans send in full-body photos of themselves and the winners get to be turned into full-sized cardboard cutouts in Arrowhead. Fans DM-ing the Chiefs full-body photos of themselves is a plan with exactly zero holes in it. Chargers 2020 schedule: Predicting every game, matchup odds, opponent win totals, record projection | CBS Sports Week 2 vs. Chiefs Line: Chiefs -10 Opponent win total: O/U 11.5 Prediction: L.A. went 0-2 against the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs last season and their first matchup of 2020 is more of the same. Patrick Mahomes does Patrick Mahomes things and the defense — led by defensive tackle Chris Jones — forces multiple turnovers to secure the win and cover the double-digit spread. Chiefs win 26-10. Projected record: 1-1 5 greatest rivals in Las Vegas Raiders franchise history | Clutch Points 2. Kansas City Chiefs The Kansas City Chiefs and Raiders were the first two representatives of the AFL in the Super Bowl, and every time they face off, there is a chance for fireworks. Even though it dates back a while, the last few years the rivalry has taken a new turn with Patrick Mahomes under center for the Chiefs. If Derek Carr starts to become a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback, or the Raiders find someone to lead them to a lot of success while Mahomes is still under center, this rivalry could become even more intense. The Chiefs lead the all-time series 67-53-2. Bet on Tyreek Hill to Lead the NFL in Receiving Yards | Number Fire The Negatives The glaring eyesore for Hill here is that he’s not usually targeted at the level of some of the game’s other top receivers. In 2019, Hill garnered just 6.4 targets per game, compared to marks of 11.6 and 10.5 for Thomas and Jones, respectively. In 2018, things were better as Hill saw 8.6 looks per game, but that was still nearly three targets per game fewer than what the league leaders got. That matters a great deal when looking at an accumulation stat like total receiving yards. Hill somewhat makes up for it, though, with his big-play ability. He averaged 16.6 yards per catch in 2018 and 14.3 this past season. For reference, Thomas has been at 11.4 and 11.5 the last two years while Julio has been at 14.1 and 14.8. Also, the addition of Clyde Edwards-Helaire doesn’t help Hill’s volume outlook. The KC passing game has mostly been reliant on Travis Kelce and Hill the last two seasons, but CEH is going to eat into some of that. Edwards-Helaire was a pass-game monster in college and will likely play a signifcant role in the passing game right away in 2020. 15 enticing NFL playoff and Super Bowl matchups | Touchdown Wire Possible Super Bowl: Chiefs-Eagles Andy Reid against former assistant Doug Pederson would be a great professor-pupil game to watch. Around the NFL Flacco aims to help Jets, be someone ‘Sam can lean on’ | NFL.com The quarterback underwent a neck procedure in April that will sideline him beyond what Flacco referred to as “Day 1” on Tuesday, but that didn’t stop the Jets from signing him to a one-year deal last week. He’s focused on getting healthy enough to play, which isn’t exactly in anyone’s plans when talking about a backup quarterback, but is always a possibility when occupying the No. 2 role on the depth chart. More importantly for the Jets, he’s out to lend his veteran wisdom to franchise quarterback Sam Darnold as the youngster enters his third professional season. “I want to first and foremost help the team in any way possible, but also be a guy that Sam can lean on and that [he] can learn from,” Flacco said, via Newsday. “Those are the two most important things: Help out the guys on the team and help out Sam to do all they can.” Will the Texans’ Mistakes Matter If They Ace the Deshaun Watson Negotiations? | The Ringer Watson is not the most high-profile quarterback negotiating a contract extension in his own state. Dak Prescott’s negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys have gotten more buzz, but the Cowboys are unlikely to make inroads with Prescott before the July 15 franchise-tag deadline. If that day comes and goes without a deal, Prescott will play on the franchise tag for 2020 and the Cowboys will have to wait to sign him to a long-term extension in 2021. Next year may also be the timing for Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs may alter the dynamics of the quarterback market with a potentially record-setting extension for Mahomes that may breach $40 million per year, but the Chiefs have no timetable for Mahomes’s negotiations. The Texans, however, reportedly want to extend Watson before the season begins, and several league executives believe Watson is next in line for a deal. All of Houston’s wild moves have been building to this moment. A new deal may make Watson the highest-paid player in league history. Comparing Brett Favre to Michael Jordan; Backlash to Proposed Rooney Rule Expansion | SI During my time working for the Packers, although Brett Favre was obviously our best player and face of our franchise, I sensed the perception of our team as “Brett Favre and the rest” did not sit well inside our building (there were other similarities between Jordan and Favre’s lives as Brett also hung out with our security guys and—unable to go outside—was trapped in his hotel room on the road). Our public relations staff would chide the media to do stories on players beyond Brett; our scouts wanted more recognition about uncovered gems; our coaches wanted more appreciation for our success rather than relying on Brett’s magic. Greg Olsen, Julius Peppers among Steve Smith’s top five teammates | NFL.com 3) Terrell Suggs, OLB, free agent Suggs was Smith’s teammate from 2014 to ‘16 with the Baltimore Ravens. Suggs was my locker-mate when I went to Baltimore, and one of the things I learned about him was how dedicated he was to his passions, whether that’s football or the film industry. He always had a movie set up in his locker, and those films played throughout the day. He studied those films the way he studied the game: very detail-oriented and tirelessly. Suggs is a talented football player — you don’t make seven Pro Bowls if you’re not — but his playbook of quarterback tendencies put him at a whole other level. That playbook had everything, including how each QB audibles, so T-Sizzle was always one step ahead of his opponents. I mean, you don’t get to eighth all-time in sacks (139.0) by just guessing what guys are going to do. Suggs also had a way of throwing people off, especially the media. He’d be loud and obnoxious on purpose to give a reporter a certain perspective of him, but the thing was, it wasn’t necessarily him. He wanted people to think a certain way about him, and you would leave thinking it. That’s the way he was on the field, too. Suggs always made quarterbacks think twice — sometimes three times — about what he might do on a play. Vince McMahon says in court filing that he won’t try to buy back XFL | ESPN “I don’t know why that’s out there, making me out to be the bad guy, [that] I’m going to buy the XFL back for pennies on the dollar, basically,” McMahon said in the deposition. “That helped me move into the direction of, ‘I’m not going to be a bidder, not going to have anything to do with it.’ I do hope that someone will pay a lot of money for it, and I do hope that it will survive.” In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride The two Chiefs players we’re most excited to watch next season John: Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. I’ve said all along that linebacker is where the Chiefs need the most help on defense, so I’m excited to see what this talented player — on whom the Chiefs were able to get a good deal because of the circumstances of the draft — can really do. You’ll remember that even as last season began, Steve Spagnuolo was saying that he was still figuring out what his defensive players were capable of doing — so with these abbreviated practices, it will be tough for Spagnuolo to see what he has in Gay. But that’s why I’m excited to see what he can do. A tweet to make you think One of my favorite series on AP. Click here for the full catalog: https://t.co/C18ti1IFWh https://t.co/NcRdtEpytW— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) May 26, 2020 Follow Arrowhead Pride on Social Media Facebook Page: Click here to like our page AP Instagram: Follow @ArrowheadPride AP Twitter: Follow @ArrowheadPride AP Editor-in-Chief: Pete Sweeney: Follow @pgsween 610 Sports Twitter: Follow @610SportsKC