Chiefs news for 15 March 2019Embed from Getty Images
Despite moving on from veteran defensive leaders Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Eric Berry earlier this week, the Chiefs remain a favorite to win next year’s NFL championship game.
Kansas City is listed at 8-to-1 to win the 2020 Super Bowl, per BetOnline. Those are tied for the best odds on the sheet, along with the New England Patriots, who are also 8-to-1.
The cost of getting what Veach called “the ultimate chess piece” for Spagnuolo in an effort to improve a 31st-ranked defense that cost Kansas City a Super Bowl berth last season came down to more than dollars and cents. For an organization that has largely valued continuity since Reid’s arrival in 2013, the signing of Mathieu came at the expense of Berry, who at his best boasts some of the same versatility as Mathieu. It was the latest sign of the team’s urgency to improve the defense quickly, and at the expense of sentimentality.
Since their 37-31 loss in the AFC championship game to the New England Patriots – in which the Chiefs surrendered 524 yards – Kansas City has fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, traded its best pass rusher in Dee Ford and released two team icons in Berry and outside linebacker Justin Houston, who set the team’s single-season sack record in 2014.
It will be up to Mathieu and Jones to earn it during the offseason, through training camp, and on a game-by-game basis by setting the tone with their work ethic.
I throw Fuller in that mix too, because it’s a big season for him. He’s in the final year of his rookie deal after two seasons in Washington and now entering his second season with the Chiefs.
The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to a three-year contract with defensive end Alex Okafor, a source told ESPN on Thursday. According to NFL Network, which first reported the news, the deal is worth up to $24 million.
“When the Chiefs called, it was the easiest decision for me. Great organization, first class organization, great coaching staff, great people in the building, and then you have a quarterback that hopefully he’s going to play in the next ten Super Bowls. Like I said, my decision was easy. I think the hardest part is just knowing that me coming in, I’ve got some big shoes to fill. And I’m going to do it to the best of my ability, to be a leader every single day.”
Inside the Chiefs’ facility last month, Veach and the coaching staff were dazzled by the extreme pride Mathieu played with at different positions on the field for the Texans. Veach described film sessions where the entire coaching team smiled when looking at Mathieu’s play from last season when he played large snaps as the slot cornerback, the strong safety in the box and the free safety in center field. Often, Veach said the group rewound plays multiple times to watch Mathieu execute different tasks at such a high level.
“I’m struggling to find out what he can’t do.” Spagnuolo said of Mathieu during one session.
Wilson played outside linebacker in Dallas’ 4-3 defensive scheme and primarily did so as the strong-side, or SAM, linebacker. Nineteen of Wilson’s 22 career-starts for the Cowboys were at the SAM position.
Essentially, a 4-3 defense includes three linebackers while in its base formation: the weak-side linebacker (WILL), middle linebacker (MIKE) and strong-side linebacker (SAM). It remains to be seen how he’ll be used in Kansas City. It’s worth mentioning, however, that Wilson was taught all three positions while in Dallas.
Patriots will take a back seat to the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs
If we’re talking about the AFC East, then absolutely. But I’m not so sure the Patriots are the premier AFC team heading into 2019. The Kansas City Chiefs are the favorite in my book. They feature the reigning league MVP inPatrick Mahomes and the NFL’s top-scoring offense, and I fully expect the team to bring in a quality running back and improve the defense — in free agency or the draft.
However else Berry’s time in Kansas City will be remembered, the phrase “if only” is almost inevitably involved. If only that fumble hadn’t bounced to Andrew Luck (2013 season playoffs). If only the officials hadn’t called that ridiculous holding penalty on Eric Fisher (2016 season playoffs). If only Berry’s healthy years had switched to 2017 and 2018 when the offense came alive and Patrick Mahomes came to town.
If only …