It turns out Patrick Mahomes is just as good as we all remember. Maybe even more so. And now that the everyone in the AFC West has taken the field for at least one preseason game, let’s see how they’re doing in their quest to best the reigning MVP and take away Kansas City’s division title.
Los Angeles Chargers
The NFL running back holdout du jour involving the Chargers Melvin Gordon is still just as frosty as when camps first opened. He wants at least $10 million in annual salary, the Chargers say no way, and now his agent is asking for a trade.
We don’t need to get into the weeds on the devaluation of starting running backs in the NFL. You know all it. But the most recent example of it playing out in spades comes from the Chargers preseason opener, when backup Austin Ekeler looked every bit the part of a starting running back with five carries for 40 yards and three catches for another 29. Justin Jackson also looked solid, rushing for 22 yards and a score.
It’s safe to say that while the performances of Ekeler and Jackson are good news for the Chargers moving forward, their combined efforts are decidedly not good news for Gordon’s quest to become one of the highest paid running backs in the league.
Maybe he forces a trade and gets his money. But it’s becoming clearer by the day that he will have to reduce his demands if he wants to remain a Charger.
The Broncos have now played a pair of preseason games and their first team offense has yet to find the end zone. To be fair, Joe Flacco didn’t play in the Hall of Fame game, but he did start in Denver’s second game, against the Seahawks, and managed just a field goal. You know what won’t knock the Chiefs out of the top spot in the AFC West? Field goals.
As for the future of the Broncos, Drew Lock, he looks like a long-term project. As a Mizzou guy I’m a Lock fan and want to see him do well, but if the Broncos have to rely on him to play in his rookie year, it will not go well. There is a ton of talent present, but Lock’s NFL learning curve looks long and painful.
In one of the more delicious developments, when Paxton Lynch, the Broncos’ other top quarterback draft pick was in the game he looked like future NFL starter. Now with the Seahawks after his quick flameout in Denver, Lynch was 11-of-15 for 109 yards and a touchdown, with another 38 yards and a touchdown coming on the ground. Maybe John Elway can in fact draft quarterbacks, it just takes Pete Carroll to help develop them.
Count me in as a charter member of the Paxton Lynch Fan Club and the mathematical proportionality of his completions to salty Donkey tears. Please, dear lord, let them come by the gallons.
In other Broncos news that we do not celebrate (because we leave cheering for injuries to Raiders fans) running back Theo Riddick fractured his shoulder in the game and is out until late September. Once healthy he is expected to be Denver’s top receiving back, which means he’s still expected to make the final 53. That means the Broncos will have to carry at least four running backs to begin the season.
It’s a bit gratuitous to post your own tweets, stipulated, so please forgive me, but I can’t help but think of Rick Moranis in Spaceballs every time I hear about Antonio Brown and his helmet, so I want you to have the same thought, too.
Antonio Brown’s frostbitten feet and sight-line impairing helmet did not play in the Raiders preseason opener, but fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell did, with mixed results. He had a couple of tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, but the defensive end was drafted early to improve the Raiders pitiful pass rush and he did not manage to do that. The Raiders recorded just one sack and three quarterback hits.
It’s also worth noting that the Prince of Picks, the Instrument of Interceptions, the Turnover Titan himself, Nathan Peterman, was the best player in the game. He’s now pushing Mike Glennon for #2 on the depth chart, and considering Gruden’s love for Peterman – who once said of his 10 interceptions in 84 attempts, “each one has their own story” – he might actually have the edge. (Insert a Snidely Whiplash hand-rub and Muttley’s snicker.)
But really, as much fun as Peterman being the backup to Derek Carr sounds, it’s all about the HELMET!!!!
AND THE FEET!!!!
If only Antonio Brown had given some indication that he might be a bit of locker room problem before all this. Poor Raiders.