First, [Patrick Mahomes] called up [head coach Andy Reid], then offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He asked both the same question: Would they mind if he stayed in Texas, at his home training base, but invited all his offensive teammates? He threw in a twist. He didn’t want to hold informal workouts like many quarterbacks. He wanted to lead Phase 1 of Kansas City’s offseason program, wanted to bond and teach. Both coaches embraced the idea because of what it meant — growth, with which ownership.
Mahomes had never before adjusted to more than two new receivers. Three free agents — JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson — came to Fort Worth. With input from the coaches and an assist from his private quarterback coach, Jeff Christensen, Mahomes devised a schedule of [Travis] Kelce. The group met every morning. They practiced routes for between 75 and 90 minutes, searching for timing and rhythm. They would then hold virtual meetings with the coaches to install the next day’s plays; break down movies, share insights and preferences; and stay late for anyone who needs extra work.
There is a marked difference between playing catch, bonding and planning paintball outings, as opposed to legitimately getting the chance to install an offense on a completely “volunteer” basis, away from team facilities but with the support of the coaching staff if it is necessary. There would be no time limit as outlined in the players union agreement. I am not at all implying that what the chiefs did was wrong, or that they were subject to any rules; I think it was brilliant. Allowing Mahomes’ self-organized offseason workouts to bleed into actual offseason workouts, which Reid then made virtual, gave the team a chance to smooth the transition after an offseason of significant personnel changes. It also (probably) allowed them to go into training camp with a higher floor of understanding, which, in a severely shortened time period that usually hampers a coach’s ability to be creative, is the definition of a winning advantage.
I asked a non-Chiefs coach who has been involved in coordinating offenses and building schemes what that kind of advantage would represent elsewhere. The answer? “Huge.”
Kansas City Chiefs: Wide receivers
Patrick Mahomes has been great with whoever he throws to at wide receiver, and All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce remains the No. 1 target for the league’s MVP. So it probably doesn’t matter who comes out of the current group of wide receivers, because Mahomes will make it work.
JuJu Smith-Schuster led wideouts last year with 78 catches for 933 yards and three TDs, but he left for New England in free agency. Marquez Valdes-Scantling leads the returners after a 2022 season with 42 receptions for 687 yards and two TDs.
The rest of the Chiefs’ wide receiver group includes plenty of unproven talent.
There’s former Giants first rounder Kadarius Toney, last year’s round 2 Chiefs’ pick Skyy Moore and this year’s second rounder – Rashee Rice. A wild card in the mix is Richie James, who had 57 receptions for 569 yards and four TDs with the Giants last season before signing a one-year deal.
There might not be a Tyreek Hill-type standout in the mix, but you can bet Andy Reid and his staff will make this a productive group. We’ll see who emerges as starters in the two- and three-receiver formations.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Original choice: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
New choice: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
The defending Super Bowl Champion’s primary goal in last April’s draft was to get defensive tackle Chris Jones some help in the pass rush department. That’s why they took Felix Anudike-Uzomah out of nearby Kansas State, but a pair of injuries have sidelined the pass rusher, so he’s disqualified from this drill.
Instead, the Chiefs are the benefactors of the Eagles going in a different direction during this re-draft as Kansas City nab Nolan Smith, who has reportedly picked up right where he left off with the Bulldogs, according to ESPN’s Tim McManus.
“Smith is a high-energy player, something that is evident even during 7-on-7 drills,” McManus wrote. “With some of the top edge rushers missing from practice, Smith got plenty of runs with the first unit. His speed stood out and so did his motor. It is clear that he will be in full pursuit of the ball carrier until the whistle blows.
As previously mentioned, Eagles head coach Nick Siriani has been very pleased with both of his first round picks from Georgia (Smith and Jalen Carter), highlighted by the quote below obtained by NBC Sports’ Dave Zangaro.
“I think you just see their athletic ability and the practice work,” Sirianni said of Smith and Carter. “We do a lot of 7-on-7, not team drills, but they get a lot of individual work. So you see the things that we saw, obviously, on tape of what they do well and the power, their athleticism, their personalities .”
In a quartet of seasons as a Los Angeles Chargers linebacker, Drue Tranquill took the field against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas Chiefs on five occasions.
He was once part of a winning effort.
So Tranquill knows firsthand how special and spectacular Mahomes is from an opponent’s standpoint. But as one of the newest Chiefs, Tranquill’s first impression of Mahomes up close as a teammate was hardly dulled by their previous meetings. Like most, Tranquill was impressed by the magnificent Mahomes.
“You just see these highlights that are up every year, year after year. Those throws aren’t just isolated things that he makes in a big game. He seems to make those throws every day in practice,” Tranquill said NFL Total Access‘ Omar Ruiz Thursday. “Every day I’m either out there or getting a break on the sidelines and I’m just like, ‘Wow.’ What a throw. What a talent.”
About the NFL
Richard Sherman didn’t officially retire when he joined Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday night football coverage team last year.
Sherman also didn’t announce his retirement on his recent podcast, but without all the pomp and history, it appears the five-time Pro Bowler has called it a playing career.
In the middle of an interview with Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson, Sherman recalled trying to cover Philly wide receiver DeVonta Smith, heard a snap and admitted to himself that 2021 was likely his last season.
“DeVonta must have been riding this comeback and I had him under control, you know what I mean? I thought, ‘Bang, quick jam, easy, got him under control.’ He must have stopped and I tried to stop. My whole groin says, ‘Snap, snap, snap, snap.’ I said, ‘Oh, whoa. Oops.’ And then you’re trying to guard him, you’re like chasing him around, like please, don’t throw him the ball,” Sherman said. “Our coach was looking at me on the sideline, like, ‘Do you want to come out? Do you want to come out?’ I thought, ‘Yeah, but they’re busy.’ So I like bailing out. At that point I was like, ‘Yeah, this is probably my last year. I don’t have it for these young guys right now.’
Tom Brady lost millions in the collapse of cryptocurrency company FTX, for which he served as an “ambassador,” The New York Times reported Friday.
Under a deal the retired NFL quarterback struck with FTX in 2021, he received $30 million in now-worthless stock for his work pitching the company in TV commercials and at its conference. Keeping pace with him at the time was his then-wife, Gisele Bundchen, who reportedly received $18 million in stock.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last November. Its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, faces federal fraud charges.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes on Netflix show to record his life for his kids
As we have previously reportedthe docu-series – which takes a look at what it’s like to be an NFL quarterback on the field, in the training facility and at home – is a joint production of Netflix, NFL movieMahomes’ 14:00 productions and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions.
The former NFL superstar says having himself and Mahomes involved as producers of the show helped it blend into the lives (or game) of the quarterbacks it profiles.
“The last thing we wanted to be was a distraction – and that was our promise,” he said in one New York Post interview published Friday.
In fact, Manning joked, quarterbacks asked to participate in future seasons should have strong motivation to agree.
“Our pitch is, ‘If you do this show, we guarantee you’ll win.’ Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP.'”
Still, he revealed that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid drew the line by having his off-field meetings with Mahomes filmed for the show. It was okay with Manning.
“There is a trust factor,” he said. “I promised all these guys that anything they didn’t want in it wouldn’t be in it.
“These guys had to be comfortable with everything. At the same time, we felt like we wanted to tell the story of what it’s like to be a quarterback and all that comes with it.”
A tweet to make you think
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