Chiefs news for 19 June 2020
“Social distancing, all those things, are important until we know more,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said during a recent video call, via Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star. “We know that right now that works, so let’s focus on that.
“Unless players are essentially in a bubble – insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day – it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci said. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”
Sure, his numbers in the regular season regressed after his record-setting 2018 season, but keep in mind that from 2018 to 2019, he cut his interception rate in half (from 2.1 percent to 1.0 percent). Including the playoffs, Mahomes now owns a higher winning percentage than Tom Brady.
1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs – The five-time Pro Bowler “only” scored six TDs during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run, but let’s not over-complicate this: He’s the best. At 30, he may not be as spry as Kittle, who’s also got three fewer seasons of wear and tear. But the resume speaks for itself. On a Chiefs offense loaded with star power, Kelce still stands out as Patrick Mahomes’ most reliable target. We’re talking four straight years with at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards, not to mention only one missed game over the last six years. You could argue that Kittle, Ertz and maybe even Andrews have a higher ceiling, but no one’s got such a steady floor, and considering his supporting cast, there’s no reason to expect any drop-off from Kelce’s run of gaudy numbers.
The big question about Niang in Kansas City is where does he fit in right now. The Chiefs have two bookend offensive tackles in Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. Brett Veach has mentioned a switch to guard could be forthcoming in the 2020 NFL season, but to me, that feels like an attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole. His 6-6 315-pound size screams tackle and that’s where all of his experience in college football is at too. He has a really high ceiling assuming he makes a full recovery from that hip injury.
Alex Okafor is the obvious name to lock in at defensive end. He was signed to play that very role last year in free agency, and was given a contract that reflects those expectations. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to count on a full season’s worth of games given Okafor’s injury history. Last year, he played in 10 games for K.C. before ending the season on IR with a torn pectoral.
For a team like the Chiefs, this would allow coaches and the front office a chance to retain their own developmental players without having to cut a proven performer at the same time. Heading into Week 1, some young players might not be ready given the lack of offseason training activities or minicamps. Yet the team might not want to say goodbye to them just because they aren’t quite game-ready for Week 1 of their first season. Now they don’t have to make that choice—or at least they have a place to put them.
While they definitely got stronger as the 2019 season progressed, the Chiefs’ defense still left some room for improvement after finishing 26th in run defense and 12th in the NFL in third-down efficiency last season. In the draft, the Chiefs selected former Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay in the second round, Louisiana Tech defensive back L’Jarius Sneed in the fourth round, Michael defensive end Michael Danna in the fifth round and Tulane cornerback Thakarius Keyes in the seventh round.