Chiefs news for 10 September 2019
Wilson’s play resulted in Fournette’s first lost fumble of his three-year career. Mahomes took advantage of the takeaway, leading the Chiefs on a 12-play drive that ended in a touchdown to give the team a commanding 30-13 lead.
“We needed that,” Reid said of the turnover after Sunday’s game. “That’s tough on your team right there, and it puts a bit of doubt in their minds. I thought our defense play hard, and these kinds of games are the toughest on that defensive line. I thought our guys battled through that and just kept constant pressure.”
Spagnuolo used eight defensive linemen against the Jaguars in a game that featured conditions of 91 degrees with humidity at 54 percent. The Jaguars often used two players to block Jones and defensive end Frank Clark, especially after Foles left the game. Backup defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah took advantage of the Jaguars’ tactic to record a sack of Minshew late in the third quarter.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill could miss several weeks with a sternoclavicular joint injury but surgery is not necessary.
The Chiefs ruled out surgery on Sunday night. Hill was taken to Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville for further testing on what the Chiefs described as a “medical issue” because of the posterior nature of the injury.
Hill was slammed to the turf near the sideline by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the first quarter and did not return to the Chiefs’ 40-26 victory. The 25-year-old receiver, signed to a $54 million extension on Friday, could return in a matter of weeks if he heals quickly and peripheral complications are ruled out, ESPN reported Monday.
Anthony Hitchens 58 (100 percent)
Damien Wilson 47 (81 percent)
Darron Lee 10 (17 percent)
Hitchens played every snap in a game just once last season, but he’s clearly the quarterback of this defense and the linebacker that coordinator Steve Spagnuolo trusts the most. The Chiefs spent very little time in a base 4-3 look, playing primarily in a 4-2-5 configuration. This explains why Reggie Ragland was inactive on Sunday, since the Chiefs didn’t even use Ben Niemann and Dorian O’Daniel on defense, but both are key special teams players. Lee is the Chiefs’ preferred linebacker in passing situations.
6. It marked the 19th (!!) straight time that the Chiefs scored 26+ points.
Kansas City scored at least 26 points for the 19th-straight game on Sunday (including the postseason), tying an NFL record.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Chiefs have scored at least 26 points in every single one of Mahomes’ starts under center.
Veach has yet to replace Marcus Peters, a mercurial player in his own right but talented nonetheless. Peters has now been gone a full season, and there still remains a seemingly tremendous void at the cornerback position. Unique circumstances forced Veach’s hand this offseason to draft a receiver, so the Chiefs are left with mostly journeyman at the cornerback position. Will this group be enough to challenge teams like the Patriots?
A lot has been made of the “Pat needs Pat” movement, referring to Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson is suspended the first six weeks due to violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy, so a trade wouldn’t culminate into on field production until the season was halfway through.
Truth be told, the Chiefs don’t desperately need Peterson. They still have the reigning MVP, the top receiving tight end, a trio of speed demons at receiver, and they just signed LeSean McCoy who is one season removed from the NFL Pro Bowl. Add this to the rebuilt defense around stopping the run, of which the Patriots are a run first team, and you get the picture. He would help, but it’s questionable whether the Chiefs need him and whether they should leverage their future to acquire him.
Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins told me on Sunday night that he was anticipating Tyreek Hill to be out six or seven weeks, and that estimate isn’t far off. The team is waiting for clarity on Hill’s collarbone, and has resisted putting him on injured reserve (which would shelve him for eight weeks), holding out hope for the best case here. But depending on how the injury develops, the team might consider IR again.
Meanwhile, for very different reasons, the team did build protection into its contract with Hill. The three-year, $54 million extension is basically a year-to-year deal, with just $18.34 million fully guaranteed as of tomorrow (a guarantee made up of a $5.8 million signing bonus, minimum base salaries this year and next, plus a ’20 roster bonus of $11 million that becomes guaranteed tomorrow). Hill will make $6.52 million this fall, and is on the books for $16.2 million in 2020 and $15.4 million ’21, with a lot of his cash tied up in roster bonuses that he’ll have to get to down the road. So the team has flexibility to move on for non-injury reasons. The flip side is that Hill gets $22.7 million between now and the end of ’20, which easily beats the math is adding what he was set to make this year ($2.05 million) to next year’s project franchise figure for receivers ($16.79 million). And Hill is protected against bad luck, with a $35.26 million injury guarantee.
The carnage went on and on, to the point that we can’t even get to the full list. But it’s out there. And it’s looooong.
Football is a violent sport. It comes with the territory. But thisweek is what players are talking about when they rip the idea of an increased number of games in the regular season. This week is why the player’s union continually shoots down proposals from team owners that would seek to increase the most dangerous part of the season.
It’s not as simple as eliminating some preseason games that feature a spare few important players. It’s that a 16-game regular season already appears to be at a limit that is barely tolerable to the bodies of the players who slug it out. If you don’t believe that, go ask Andrew Luck or Rob Gronkowski, who both surrendered multiple years of top-level earnings because their pain thresholds were being breached.
The Rest of the West
Here’s your recap of how the ‘Rest of the West’ fared this weekend.
First-year coach Vic Fangio certainly passed the offseason test, as he seemed to settle the Broncos down after back-to-back seasons of double-digit losses, but his debut didn’t go as Denver had hoped. The Raiders scored on a 10-play drive on their first possession of the game and never trailed.
Troubling trend: Depth was the biggest concern hovering around the Broncos throughout the offseason, especially since the 2016 and 2017 drafts continued to leave fairly glaring holes. When cornerback Bryce Callahan didn’t play because of a foot injury, it pushed Isaac Yiadom into the starting lineup. Raiders coach Jon Gruden consistently targeted Yiadom in the first half, including on Oakland’s first touchdown and a 43-yard completion during the Raiders’ second touchdown drive. Right tackle Ja’Wuan James, whom the Broncos made the highest-paid tackle in the league when they signed him in March, left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury, and that propelled Elijah Wilkinson into the lineup. Wilkinson is the Broncos’ backup at both tackle spots and has been the leading backup at both guard spots in practice.
Troubling trend: The Chargers struggled to defend the run in the team’s final game of last season, an AFC divisional playoff loss against the New England Patriots. And even with the Bolts adding new personal along the defensive line and at linebacker, the Chargers allowed the Colts to bully their way to 203 rushing yards.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Tackle Trent Scott still has a big hole to fill with starting left tackle Russell Okung out for at least the first six weeks due to a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots. Scott gave up two sacks and was beaten a third time on a play negated by a defensive offsides penalty on the right side of the line. The Chargers have to figure out how to help Scott in pass protection so Rivers can make it through the regular season healthy.
New starting tight end Darren Waller also showed what a matchup nightmare he can be with his receiver-like skill set in catching seven passes for 70 yards. He had six total catches in four games last season.
The revelation? Rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who rumbled for 85 yards on the ground on 23 carries and, with two touchdowns, became the first player in Raiders franchise history to find the end zone twice in his NFL debut.
Still, with the shocking turn of events last week with Brown, many wondered how the Raiders would react once they finally took the field. Just don’t count Raiders coach Jon Gruden among them.