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  • Terez Paylor and Charles Robinson think the Chiefs will win the AFC West — and the AFC
    by John Dixon on July 18, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images The two analysts talked a lot about the Chiefs in their AFC preview on the Yahoo! Sports NFL podcast On Tuesday’s Yahoo! Sports NFL podcast, Charles Robinson and friend-of-the-site Terez Paylor spent more than an hour on a fascinating preview the entire AFC — division by division. They saved the best for last: the AFC West. Both Robinson and Paylor believe the Kansas City Chiefs will win the division this year — which would be the fourth consecutive AFC West crown for the Chiefs. And both analysts think the Chiefs will win the AFC Championship, too. The Chiefs Paylor said he thinks it’s all about Patrick Mahomes and the defense. ”A team that went 12-4 last year, arguably has the most valuable young player in football in Patrick Mahomes — arguably the most valuable player, period. I think this is a team that has done a whole lot to try to rectify what was a complete defensive disaster by the end of the season. And I give them a lot of credit for trying to rectify it. They fired Bob Sutton, the defensive coordinator. They hired Steve Spagnuolo. And not just that. They went from a 3-4 to a 4-3 overnight. They were tasked with trying to make a championship-caliber defense overnight while switching schemes — which is not easy. Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports “They signed Tyrann Mathieu to be kind of their Brian Dawkins,” Paylor continued. “They see him as kind of the spiritual voice — and Spagnuolo is going to use him that way: lining him up all over and making plays. “Frank Clark’s going to have to deliver on all the money they paid him. There’s pressure here, because their decision to pay Clark directly impacted what’s happening with Chris Jones right now. You can’t pay somebody from the outside after your own guy has had 15 sacks without him expecting to be paid the same.” But Paylor thinks Jones will play for the Chiefs in 2019. “He’s got to be in there 30 days before the season begins to get his accrued year. He’ll show for that. But if they make him sing for his supper this year and have to franchise him nest year, things could get very difficult for them.” Robinson said he thinks Clark is a special player. “The reason the Seattle Seahawks let Clark go is because they are looking long-term at a number of guys they want to extend — money they want to pay out. I don’t think they were happy to let Clark go, but it was about compensation and the way everything worked out. He’s an elite-level pass rusher and a mentality-setter in the locker room. I literally watched him knock out Germain Ifedi in practice. He is a brand of nasty that is rare — even in the NFL. Sometimes that can be really good for your locker room — but sometimes it can be a little scary. ”I like Mathieu,” Robinson continued. “He has his own mentality. You can move him a lot and be creative with him. That’s awesome. You’ve got to love creativity in a defense. And then to have a guy who is not only a pass rusher, but a tone-setter. The pass rushers they’ve had in the past didn’t quite have that edge to them that he will bring. Defensively, I expect the Chiefs to be a better team.” Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports The conversation then turned to the Chiefs offense — and Robinson said he had questions. ”Offensively, A, I want to see who’s going to be on the field for them,” he said. “Tyreek Hill. Is he going to be there? How much is he going to be there? We’ve got to sort all that stuff out. And B, is there any lag from this whole thing? I’m curious. If this manifests itself in other ways — in a mental impact on everything that happens offensively.” ”If it is, it won’t be on Hill,” interjected Paylor. ”Tyreek Hill is in unbelievable shape right now. Just trust me on that. This is about to be the contract year of contract years. There’s a considerable amount of optimism coming out of Kansas City that he will play. The suspension — if there is one — will not be too cumbersome. But at the end of the day — as I’ve told all you guys — Roger Goodell can do what he wants. So we’ll have to see.” But Robinson had another question about the Chiefs offense. ”Another pivotal piece here that I think is going to be very interesting is Damien Williams,” he said. “There’s an element of him being a known commodity, but again, the running back you had is not walking through that door. He’s just not. To me, there has to be an element of not just functionality at the running back spot, but there has to be some playmaking. You can’t just assume that because because of how the offense is run and you have Mahomes that it’s just going to happen.” The Robinson reminded Paylor of their discussions after the Chiefs released Kareem Hunt last season. “You said to me last year as the season went on, ‘Look... I see the difference. I watch them game in and game out. I break down film. I see the difference at the running back spot.’ You saw the tier of talent drop down a little bit. So offensively, I think it will be interesting to see how it manifests itself. I will be disappointed if this team does not take that next step.” Paylor then said that if the Chiefs were unable to take the next step in 2019, it could also trigger a “next step” in fans’ relationship with Mahomes. ”They’ll start foolishly saying, ‘Oh... look at his record against the good teams and the big games,’ and start doing that stuff.” This time it was Robinson’s turn to interject. ”I will just say from my standpoint — I live in Houston, and I’ve covered the league since 2000: knock that s---t off! ‘Seriously,” Robiinson continued. “We’re to the point now that it’s only year two as a full-time starter for Mahomes. If people are already coming after him with, ‘What about his record?’ then knock that s--t off. We just got on the train ride. Don’t start saying, ‘Are we there yet?’ Just stop.” The Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Both Paylor and Robinson think the Los Angeles Chargers will finish second in the division — probably with a record around 10-6. ”This is a team that went 12-4 last year,” said Paylor. “And I think in general, they did some things to really get better. But they’re going to have to show me that they’re going to topple the Chiefs — just like the Chiefs had to show me they were going to topple the Broncos all those years ago. “The Chargers are an interesting team — I think they’re going to be .500 or better again — but I don’t know,” continued Paylor. “I’m not sold on them winning this division yet — though I see a lot of people picking them to do it.” ”I think defensively, you’re going to have guys like Bosa who are going to be on the field full-time,” said Robinson. ”You get back to what the unit should have been at the beginning of the season last year. You get that this year. OK... that’s great. I think they’re a good defensive team. “But part of the reason Melvin Gordon is doing what he’s doing right now is that he knows the Chargers need him, and they are going to load him up,” Robinson said. “I absolutely, 100% agree that he’s correct. I think the plan for that Chargers offense is a ton of Melvin Gordon this year. What makes me nervous about that is that he does not have good knees historically.” Robinson compared the situation to when Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley had tendonitis. ”As soon as Todd Gurley had that tendonitis, they’re lucky that they had C.J. Anderson to step in and pick up the load at least part of the time. But you saw a team that offensively geared a lot of what it did through the running back — which is what the Chargers want to do. If something goes wrong there — or he’s not feeling it, if he gets run down — this changes things offensively for them.” The Broncos and Raiders Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images The two disagreed about the third and fourth spot in the division. Paylor thinks the Oakland Raiders will finish last. “Oakland did add a lot of talent,” he said. “And I do think initially that the Antonio Brown-Jon Gruden relationship is going to be good. He’s going to see a lot of targets. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brown has the most targets in pro football this year. And I think that’s all he wants; he’ll be happy with that. But I do think this team is going to lose a lot of games, because I’m just not sure it’s all going to come together quickly.” But Robinson thinks that fourth place will belong to the Denver Broncos. ”I don’t buy Joe Flacco. I don’t. Like, I understand Flacco was serviceable for most of last season with the Baltimore Ravens. But what I was told was that when Gary Kubiak was going out the door in Denver, his kind of parting gift was to have a conversation with John Elway in which he said, ‘Look... I coached him. I still think Flacco can be a serviceable, multi-year quarterback. A couple of years. You can still get something out of this. It settles down the offense. You’ve got some pieces on offense — some guys that we drafted — we have some pieces that are still making some strides. This will be the settling factor that we’ve needed. Case Keenum wasn’t that.’” The two agreed that new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio is a good defensive coordinator, but Robinson expressed reservations about him as a head coach. ”I think when you have to run a whole team, it changes a little bit. You have to run meetings, you have to organize things. [Being] head coach is about a lot of other little details. Personally, I think Fangio is a guy is more suited to being the number one delegate — you have your general, and you have your next-in-command. I think he’s a right-hand man.” Paylor offered his view that by the end of the season, Drew Lock would be starting at quarterback for the Broncos — and then returned to the Raiders. ”Oakland is a disaster. Do we think the Raiders are going to be able to get this thing together? Look at some of the guys they’ve brought in. Look at this locker room right now. Antonio Brown. Vontaze Burfict. Richie Incognito. Are they going to be able to rush the passer? Because their edge rush stunk. Clelin Farrell? How often are edge rushers good as rookies? Not very.” Paylor then put the cap on his feeling about the Raiders. “I think this is a combustible situation. Put it this way: I have more faith in Vic Fangio’s ability to get the most out of the Broncos defense than I have in Jon Gruden’s ability to get that team together this year.” If you’ve got 72 minutes to spare, click here to check out the whole AFC preview. […]

  • Five training camp questions about the Chiefs offense
    by Kent Swanson on July 18, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports Let’s run through questions about the offense raised during this week’s episode of the AP Laboratory podcast We’re less than a week away from rookies, Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the quarterbacks reporting for training camp. The long wait for football is coming to a close. This week, we did things a little bit differently on the AP Laboratory podcast. We decided to do one giant camp preview with five questions on offense and defense heading into camp. We started with the offense. How does the Tyreek Hill saga play out? We should be nearing the Commissioner’s decision on any potential suspension for Hill. I expect him to be in St. Joseph to join the team for the entirety of camp. I’m interested to see how it’s covered both locally and nationally — and expect it to be discussed for the duration of the season. On the field, Hill's impact is significant. I expect him to take a step forward in his growth as a receiver. It should be evident next time we see him with a helmet on. Who is going to play at wide receiver? Hill and Sammy Watkins have established themselves in this offense. The roles beyond that are a little more up in the air, but there are some early front runners. With the departure of Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson is likely to earn a more expanded role. Gehrig Dieter has shown some ability on special teams and in very limited opportunities on offense. Both Dieter and Robinson have good rapport with Mahomes. Mecole Hardman is a lock to make the roster, but how fast he can master Andy Reid’s offensive playbook — and earn the trust of Mahomes — will determine when and how he’ll be utilized beyond special teams. Byron Pringle showed loads of promise in the preseason last year but had his season cut short with injury. There are several UDFA receivers, too — starting with Toledo receiver and excellent special-teamer Cody Thompson. Others include Jamal Custis and Felton Davis. There’s a lot of talent in the most intense position battle in camp. Who is TE2 behind Travis Kelce? Due to his offseason ankle surgery, Kelce hasn’t been able to participate at all during offseason workouts. While I expect him to be ready to go, there’s still plenty of questions about the rest of the group. Deon Yelder was acquired mid-season last year and earned the Andy Reid’s praise during minicamp. Wichita, Kansas product Blake Bell signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs to vie for an opportunity in one of the most explosive offenses in football. UDFA John Lovett has turned some heads in his transition from Ivy League quarterback to more of an H-Back role in the NFL. How it shakes out will be interesting. Who plays on the interior of the offensive line? There are three Brett Veach acquisitions battling for two spots on the interior of the offensive line. Left guard and center are the two least settled spots of the group. The favorite at center is Austin Reiter, whom Veach picked up on waivers last year and signed to a extension later in the season. The Chiefs Mack Lee Hill award winner for the best first-year player last season was Andrew Wylie. After having a great first season in Kansas City where he went from from reserve contract to starter, he is favored to start at left guard. Cameron Erving is starting his third season for the Chiefs and could very easily be in the mix at either spot. Two of these three will start. I am leaning towards Wylie and Reiter if we see good things from them during July and August. Can Damien Williams carry the load? After starting last season on special teams, Williams stepped up in a big way after the release of Kareem Hunt. He wound up starting down the stretch of the season, replacing Hunt admirably by putting together some great games. That said, Hunt was a special player and proved to be able handle a full season of usage. Can we expect a consistent performance for full season from Williams? Carlos Hyde and Darrel “The Barrel” Williams are here to help. I don’t expect a committee, but I could see Hyde eating in to Williams’ touches just a little bit to keep everyone fresh for what the Chiefs hope is a 19-game season. AP Laboratory We went in-depth on both sides of the ball in this week’s episode of the AP Laboratory. […]

  • Chiefs fan who targeted Tom Brady with laser pointer pleads guilty and is fined
    by John Dixon on July 18, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Dwyan Morgan was charged in April, and pleaded guilty to the charge in a court appearance on Wednesday The Case Of The Laser Pointer during the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium is now closed. According to a report from TMZ, Dwyan Morgan of Lee’s Summit appeared in court Wednesday, pleaded guilty and was fined $500. TMZ said Morgan paid the fine. In early April, Morgan, 64, was charged with disturbing the peace for shining a green laser pointer at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the conference championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs on January 20. The charge carried a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. The incident went unnoticed by either team or the officiating crew during the game. But in the following days, video captured by KMBC-TV photographer Turner Twyman emerged that clearly showed the laser light hitting Brady’s jersey. In Twyman’s video, Brady doesn’t appear to notice that it happened. Our photographer, Turner Twyman, caught someone pointing what appears to be a laser pointer in Tom Brady's face last night. Play between the "muff" that wasn't and Sorensen int. @NFL, @Patriots and @Chiefs all told me they weren't aware of the incident. pic.twitter.com/ejWBQ6i64C— William Joy (@WilliamKMBC) January 21, 2019 Both the Chiefs and the NFL investigated. In early February, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that Morgan — then unnamed as the culprit — had been identified. The Chiefs banned him for life from Arrowhead, and were reported to have pressured officials to be sure Morgan received the harshest possible penalty. Since the incident occurred in a nationally-televised championship game and represented a case of poor sportsmanship, it received national attention. Even common handheld laser pointers — if pointed directly at someone’s eyes — can cause flash blindness, and can potentially cause injury. […]

  • Arrowheadlines: Patrick Mahomes will be Madden NFL 20’s cheat code
    by Tom Childs on July 18, 2019 at 10:30 am

    John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images Chiefs headlines for Thursday, July 18 The latest Did latest ‘Madden’ video game create most dominant player since Michael Vick, Bo Jackson? | Yahoo It makes sense, you know. After all, Mahomes produced video game numbers in 2018, tallying over 5,000 yards passing and 50 touchdowns on the way to becoming the NFL’s youngest MVP in 35 years. And Mahomes was also announced as the coverman for this year’s game, which would justify the addition of a few of Mahomes’ trademark moves to the game. But when the “Madden” team decided to unveil “X-factor” player traits as this year’s “New Feature Designed to Entice People Into Buying the Game,” Mahomes also became a mortal lock to not only be the game’s highest-rated quarterback (even greater than the G.O.A.T. in real life, Tom Brady) but also someone capable of performing the type of video game feats fans of the game haven’t seen in years. AFC South: 5 most exciting games in 2019 | Pro Football Network Week 5, Sunday Night Football: Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs Despite being the sixth seed in the AFC last season and having to rip-off nine wins in their final ten games to reach the playoffs, the Colts are one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL. Seeing them take on last years’ fist seed Kansas City Chiefs and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes will be a huge test for how high their ceiling is in 2019. Chiefs Matchup: Chiefs Run Defense vs Jaguars Leonard Fournette | Full Press Coverage One particular part of the Chiefs front seven that will be key to watch in this matchup, as well as throughout the season is the linebackers. Anthony Hitchens was signed as a free agent heading into last year. While he improved some throughout the season, Hitchens’ 2018 campaign was disappointing. He missed more tackles than he had in previous years with Dallas, and struggled to consistently fill his gaps. The same can be said about Reggie Ragland, too. This new look defense is exciting and the scheme change seems ultra aggressive. But, it may take time for an entire new defensive personnel to gel early in the season. However, both linebackers may be better suited for gap assignments and running downhill in this regime. As NFL training camps open, here are eight big questions | The Washington Post How will the Kansas City Chiefs adjust if Tyreek Hill is suspended? It remains unclear whether — and for how long — Hill will be suspended by the NFL following a law enforcement investigation into suspicions of child abuse. While the on-field ramifications pale in comparison to the severity of the allegations, Hill’s absence would have a significant impact on the Chiefs’ offense. It was already unrealistic to expect quarterback Patrick Mahomes to match last year’s total of 50 touchdowns, given that when Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady produced 50-plus-touchdown seasons, they dropped into the 30s the next year. Hill, the team’s top playmaker, opens things up for Mahomes and Coach Andy Reid, and while the Chiefs traded up to draft Mecole Hardman in the second round as a potential Hill replacement, it’s unlikely he can make an immediate impact anywhere close to what Hill provides. Despite the Chiefs’ aggressiveness in acquiring edge rusher Frank Clark, safety Tyrann Mathieu and others, they are still challenged enough on defense that the offense might again need to score more than 30 points per game. Should You Fade Zach Ertz in Fantasy? | Action Network If you look at the 2019 projections for Ertz, you’ll see we’re expecting him to regress toward his career averages. Specifically, we have him projected for 91 receptions, 976 yards and seven touchdowns. But even though we’re projecting Ertz to take a step back this year, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t think you should draft him. After all, he’s likely to be a top producer at a position plagued by inconsistency and scarcity. Along with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, Ertz is one of “The Big 3” — and it’s a little painful to finish a fantasy draft if one of these guys is not on your roster 5 best training camp battles for Chiefs in 2019 | FanSided Wide Receiver: Demarcus Robinson vs. Mecole Hardman Now that Chris Conley is in Jacksonville and attempting to revive his career with incoming quarterback Nick Foles, the Kansas City Chiefs No. 2 wide receiver spot for potentially the first four games of the 2019 season (Tyreek Hill’s situation leaves his status entirely up in the air) is essentially a two-way race between Demarcus Robinson and rookie Mecole Hardman. 2019 Fantasy Football: Can the divisive Damien Williams prove worth the cost? | CBS Sports Williams leaves something to be desired in his physicality, but he’s not shy about contact in the least. It’s just that most of his success came when he bounced it outside or caught a pass. Inside running plays rarely led to long gains. And while he has the heart to pass block, he was rarely asked to do it, frequently running a route on passing plays. The Chiefs worked around these minor deficiencies last year and they had an amazing rushing presence because of it. The hope is that those few shortcomings don’t come back to unravel a potential monster season for Williams. NFL preview 2019: How Raiders’ defense stacks up against AFC West rivals | NBC Raiders vs. Chiefs Defensive line: The Chiefs made some changes in the offseason, bringing in new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo while cutting Justin Houston and trading edge rusher Dee Ford to the 49ers. They also acquired Frank Clark from the Seattle Seahawks. KC is transitioning from a 3-4 base to a 4-3 and as such could have some growing pains. Only Clark and nose tackle Chris Jones are locks to make the roster in camp. The Raider’s defensive line has issues of its own, but another year for Maurice Hurst, PJ Hall and Arden Key should buoy Oakland’s unit and Ferrell hopefully will provide instant impact off the edge. Don’t sleep on Eddie Vanderdoes who returns after missing the entire 2018 season while recovering from a torn ACL. Edge: Raiders Training Camp by the Numbers: From 1,000 Footballs to 67 Miles of Tape | The Mothership And while it’s a heavy lift to essentially move the Chiefs’ practice facility 60 miles to the north, the work is well worth it for the Chiefs’ equipment staff. “At the end of the day, even though I’ve been here for 37 years, I’m just a fan like anybody else. I’m the same as somebody who’s sitting up in the stands. I feel the excitement in this city and I want to win a Super Bowl just like the guy in section 325” Wright said. “When we start moving this stuff up there, it’s like Christmas for us.” Around the league Will Zeke, Gordon Use Le’Veon Holdout Playbook? | Bleacher Report It’s called the Bell Effect around the NFL, and it’s making teams nervous. It also has two of the game’s premier running backs threatening to hold out of training camp. Last year, then-Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell sat out the entire season over his desire to get a new contract and not be tied to the franchise tag Pittsburgh had offered him. The Steelers allowed him to become a free agent this offseason, and he signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets in March. Broncos among four teams reporting for training camp | NFL.com The Broncos are the first team to have all their players in house due to the early date of their first preseason test: the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 1. Denver’s opponents in that preseason opener, the Atlanta Falcons, open camp to rookies on Thursday and veterans on Sunday. NFL, NFLPA discuss new CBA in ‘productive’ meeting | NFL.com Signed in 2011, the current CBA is set to expire after the 2020 campaign, but both the NFL and NFLPA have previously expressed an eagerness to strike a deal before the start of the 2019 season. That optimism changed after this most recent meeting. Sources told Garafolo that it is “extremely unlikely” that a new CBA will be agreed upon before Week 1 and that goal is not something the league is pushing hard to achieve. ”Everyone would like to get this done earlier rather than later,” Garafolo said on Total Access on Wednesday, “but everyone wants to do the right deal not just the quick deal.” In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride Andy Reid listed fourth among current head coaches in new NFL.com rankings Reid’s former Chiefs offensive coordinator — Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson — is listed right behind Reid at fifth. Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears — another former Chiefs coordinator — is listed 14th. Between those two are former Reid assistant coaches John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens (seventh) and Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers (13th). While Reid himself hasn’t yet won a championship, those four former Reid assistants are not only in the top half of the league (even by Harrison’s calculation) but have a pair of Super Bowl wins among them. Few coaches can lay claim to that. Follow Arrowhead Pride on Social Media AP 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 Never has a particular set of sports fans been as excited about a computer game quite like the Chiefs Kingdom are excited for Madden 20. If the cover boy is as good on the game as people are saying, then we have to consider the Chiefs the favourites (sorry... favorites. I’ll have to get used to that one) for the Super Bowl in both reality and the virtual world. We’ve all pre-ordered it, right? […]

  • Wednesday night tailgate
    by John Dixon on July 17, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images It’s Wednesday. Rookies and quarterbacks report to St. Joseph on Tuesday; the next day is Anthony Sherman Day! NFL.com listed Andy Reid fourth among current head coaches in a new power ranking The league inspected and approved the new field at Estadio Azteca — where the Chiefs will play Week 11 And there were mailbag questions to answer about Steve Spagnuolo’s defense Now it’s on to tonight’s poll: […]

 

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