Chiefs news for 16 January 2020
“I feel like nobody in the NFL can guard any of us, and that’s no disrespect to nobody,” receiver Tyreek Hill said Wednesday. “That’s just the confidence that I got in myself and the wideouts I’ve got around me, including the tight ends and the running backs. I feel like no DB unit, no secondary unit, no linebacker, any defense can guard any of us. So man-to-man is just easy for us to beat. If you just allow us to run through zones, it’s even easier.”
The Kansas City Chiefs practiced without injured defensive tackle Chris Jones Wednesday as they began on-field preparations for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Tennessee Titans.
Jones has a calf injury that kept him out of last week’s divisional round win over the Houston Texans. Jones worked out for trainers and coaches before the game but moved gingerly, and coach Andy Reid later said the workout showed Jones wasn’t close at that time to being ready to play.
Kansas City’s 51-31 victory earned the Chiefs a spot in the AFC championship for a second consecutive year. They play the Titans on Sunday afternoon.
“You take an offense like that, you’ve got a good shot at winning anything,” Kansas City linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “You’ve got the type of quarterback, the gunslinger we’ve got, I’ll go to war with that cat and those guys every day of the week.”
In 29 special-teams snaps, which led the Chiefs secondary, Sorensen followed his fake-punt tackle of Reid with a hard, technique-sound tackle of kick returner DeAndre Carter, who fumbled the ball, which was recovered by rookie running back Darwin Thompson. The Chiefs used the takeaway to produce their third touchdown in the second quarter in a little more than three minutes. Sorensen believes his increased role on the Chiefs defense led to his impressive plays on special teams.
“I accept the challenge,” he said. “If anything, it helps me stay in tune to the game and stay into a rhythm. You take advantage of every opportunity you get to step on the field and you try to make plays, whether it’s special teams or defense. I’m just grateful that I can be able to do that.”
Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was nowhere close to being ready to play last week because of a sore calf, so it was no surprise he didn’t practice Wednesday. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if Jones wasn’t available on Sunday, though the Chiefs might well take that decision up to game time. But tight end Travis Kelce did work on Wednesday despite a sore knee, and barring a setback, he should be ready to go against the Titans. “He feels better this week than he did last week,” coach Andy Reid said. — Adam Teicher
A win Sunday would give the Chiefs 50 years between Super Bowl appearances, which would be the longest time between appearances in NFL history. That would crush the previous record of 36 set by the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 when they advanced to Super Bowl XLI (the Colts had last reached the Super Bowl in 1970, when the franchise was the Baltimore Colts). The Green Bay Packers own the second longest drought between Super Bowls, set when they reached Super Bowl XXXI in 1996 (their last Super Bowl appearance prior to that was Super Bowl II in 1967), a span of 29 years. The Philadelphia Eagles had a 24-year drought between Super Bowl appearances (1980 to 2004), the third-longest drought in league history.
A restrained Patrick Mahomes faced Tennessee back in Week 10 of the regular season in his first game back from dislocated kneecap, but the Titans won’t be so fortunate in this Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, the quarterback said Wednesday.
“Definitely more comfortable, I think that’s the biggest thing,” Mahomes said on how he feels now versus during the earlier meeting between the two clubs. “Being that first game back off of the injury, you don’t know exactly what to expect.”
As Mahomes completes his read-option action to Williams, he sees that the Texans are sending at least seven defenders in an attempt to get to him before the ball can come out. Mahomes immediately snaps off a throw to the vacated portion of the field, throwing the ball right past an unblocked pass rusher. If Mahomes doesn’t know exactly where to put the ball in the event of a blitz, this play is dead in the water.
Accuracy, anticipation, eye discipline, pocket presence and reading defenses are the traits that lead to repeatable success for quarterbacks within the structure of an offense. Mahomes is excellent at each of these things, and it’s the foundation of his consistency. That’s something that often gets forgotten as people focus on his ability to create spectacular plays. Even if Mahomes had average arm strength and wasn’t the best in the league at creating out of structure, he’d still be a top-5 quarterback.