Kendall Gammon

Countdown to Kickoff Host

Kendall is a 15-year NFL veteran Pro-Bowl Long Snapper known for his years of broadcasting with 101 The Fox on Gameday. Kendall and the team will discuss what happened, what’s next and what to expect with special guests and expert analysis from around the league as we get ready for kickoff.
FOX Football Gameday Host

Sparks is the Afternoon Drive host on 101 The FOX and an all-around sports FAN that brings years of Gameday coverage experience! Having talked football with the best of the best from Sports Talk Legends to Vegas Odds Makers he will be the MAN to get your SPARK ignited and make sure you're READY for GAMEDAY!


FOX Football Gameday Host

Sparks is the Afternoon Drive host on 101 The FOX and an all-around sports FAN that brings years of Gameday coverage experience! Having talked football with the best of the best from Sports Talk Legends to Vegas Odds Makers he will be the MAN to get your SPARK ignited and make sure you’re READY for GAMEDAY!

Marleah Campbell

KCTV5 Sports Reporter

Marleah Campbell is a reporter for KCTV5 and host for KC Sports Network. She has covered EVERYTHING from Super Bowl LIV to the Jayhawks’ national title run. A Lenexa-native and Shawnee Mission West alum, she’s called KC home her entire life and is excited to continue her Chiefs coverage with the team at 101 The FOX!

BJ Kissel

KCSN NFL Insider

Every gameday we will check in with Local Sports Expert BJ Kissel to discuss Who’s Hot, Who’s Not, and go in depth about what the Kansas City Offense and Special Teams need to do on gameday. Check out his KC Sports Network Podcast for more weekly updates!

Steve Gorman

Rock N Roll Reporter

Every week we will catch up with Former Fox Sports guest broadcaster and Black Crowes Rock N Roll drummer to make their picks for the biggest games of the week.

2022 Schedule

Week 1 8/13 at Chicago Bears 12:00 p.m. KSHB    
Week 2 8/20 Washington Commanders 3:00 p.m. KSHB    
Week 3 8/25 Green Bay Packers 7:00 p.m. KSHB    
Week 1 9/11       at Arizona Cardinals                    3:25 pm CBS    
Week 2 9/15       Los Angeles Chargers              7:15 pm Prime Video    
Week 3 9/25       at Indianapolis Colts                  12:00 pm CBS    
Week 4 10/2       at Tampa Bay Buccaneers          7:20 pm NBC    
Week 5 10/10      Las Vegas Raiders                   7:15 pm ESPN    
Week 6 10/16      Buffalo Bills                              3:25 pm CBS    
Week 7 10/23      at San Francisco 49ers              3:25 pm FOX    
Week 8 10/30      BYE WEEK      
Week 9 11/6       Tennessee Titans                       7:20 pm NBC    
Week 10 11/13      Jacksonville Jaguars              12:00 pm CBS    
Week 11 11/20      at Los Angeles Chargers            3:25 pm CBS    
Week 12 11/27      Los Angeles Rams                   3:25 pm FOX    
Week 13 12/4       at Cincinnati Bengals                  3:25 pm CBS    
Week 14 12/11      at Denver Bronco                       7:20 pm NBC    
Week 15 12/18      at Houston Texans                   12:00 pm CBS    
Week 16 12/24      Seattle Seahawks                   12:00 pm FOX    
Week 17 1/1        Denver Broncos                       12:00 pm CBS    
Week 18 1/7 or 8    at Las Vegas Raiders                 TBD TBD    
  Home games listed in bold        
All times are listed in central time. Find tickets at


2021 Schedule
W 19 – 16 8/20 at San Francisco 49ers 7:30pm KSHB
W 17 – 10 8/20 at Arizona Cardinals 7:00pm ESPN
W 28 – 25 8/27 vs Minnesota Vikings 7:00pm KSHB
Week 1 9/12 vs Cleveland Browns                       3:25pm                 CBS
Week 2 9/19 at Baltimore Ravens                         7:20pm                    NBC
Week 3 9/26 vs Los Angeles Chargers                  Noon                    CBS
Week 4 10/3 at Philadelphia Eagles                       Noon                       CBS
Week 5 10/10 vs Buffalo Bills                                   7:20pm                 NBC
Week 6 10/17 at Washington Football Team            Noon                       CBS
Week 7 10/24 at Tennessee Titans                           Noon                       CBS
Week 8 11/1 vs New York Giants                            7:15pm                 ESPN
Week 9 11/7 vs Green Bay Packers                       3:25pm                  FOX
Week 10 11/14 at Las Vegas Raiders                         7:20pm                     NBC
Week 11 11/21 vs Dallas Cowboys                             3:25pm                  FOX
Week 12 /// BYE WEEK                                            ///                            ///
Week 13 12/5 vs Denver Broncos                             Noon                      CBS
Week 14 12/12 vs Las Vegas Raiders                         Noon                      CBS
Week 15 12/16 at Los Angeles Chargers                    7:20pm        FOX/NFLN/AMAZON
Week 16 12/26 vs Pittsburgh Steelers                        3:25pm                  CBS
Week 17 1/2 at Cincinnati Bengals                           Noon                       CBS
Week 18 1/9 at Denver Broncos                             3:25pm                      CBS

Local Coverage


Join us on Gameday for team coverage on Fox Football Gameday with a 3 Hour Pre-Game Broadcast hosted by Fox afternoon Drive Host Sparks. Get all the News around the league, updates on College Sports, Fantasy Football and more! All leading up the the Countdown to Kickoff with with our Gameday experts Kendall Gammon, Dani Welniak, and BJ Kissel!


101 The FOX Slacker morning Show 

Listen to the Slacker Morning show every week at 7:30am as we check in with BJ Kissel for a FRIDAY RED REPORT to get Teed UP for GAMEDAY! Then get the recap of the previous game every Monday with the Fox Football Gameday Wrap-up. PLUS get Slacker’s FOX Fantasy Football Update on Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30am with Fantasy Football Guru Adam Copeland.



LOOK: Chiefs Visit President Biden at White House

Because of the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers didn’t result in the team making the trip up to Washington D.C. back in 2020. Now that Andy Reid’s team is a champion once again, though, a thrilling Super Bowl LVII win over the Philadelphia Eagles punched Kansas City’s ticket to the White House.

Arriving on Monday, the Chiefs made the trip of a lifetime just one day before a third session of organized team activities (OTAs) kicks off back in Kansas City on Tuesday. At the White House, the organization is being recognized by President Joe Biden as the NFL champs for the 2022-23 campaign in a tradition that is one of the highlights of the league offseason.

Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas is in attendance, as are Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and former Senator Claire McCaskill. Political figures, team staff, media members and many others gathered on Monday to celebrate the grandest accomplishment of this past season.

The Associated Press has a livestream set up and running on their YouTube channel, starting at 3:30 p.m. Kansas City time. The White House’s official YouTube channel also has one beginning at the same time

Below are some of the Chiefs’ best moments from Monday afternoon in D.C.

First look at the football being presented to the Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes takes in the experience

Former Chief JuJu Smith-Schuster documents his trip to D.C.

Carlos Dunlap gives a firsthand look at arriving at the White House

Allen Wright pokes fun at some of the Chiefs’ staff

Rick Burkholder poses with the Lombardi Trophy and Biden’s jersey

Mahomes snaps a picture with Chad Henne, Skyy Moore and Harrison Butker

Chiefs assemble for Biden’s speech

Biden holds a moment of silence for Norma Hunt

Reid issues another statement of confidence

Biden gets presented with his jersey

Mahomes cuts Kelce off at the podium

Read More: Travis Kelce Makes Bold Prediction for Patrick Mahomes’s Ring Total

Travis Kelce Makes Bold Prediction for Patrick Mahomes’s Ring Total

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII win over the Philadelphia Eagles prompted many to question whether the Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce trio had cemented the franchise as a modern-day NFL dynasty. While the answer has varied depending on who’s asked, there’s one member of the organization that is very confident in his take. 

Appearing on a recent episode of FanDuelTV’s Run it Back program, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce discussed a variety of topics alongside hosts Michelle Beadle, Chandler Parsons, Shame Charania and Eddie Gonzalez. One of them was Kansas City’s standing as either a budding or established dynasty with recent success being compared to that of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. While Kelce acknowledged that the Chiefs still have some work to do before their ring total reaches four with this current core, he didn’t leave any room for interpretation on where he stood:

“I would say, yeah, Kansas City has been a dynasty for quite a while now. Obviously, I’m biased to that, but I think what Coach Reid has done since he’s been here in terms of winning, in terms of the playoff runs and all the division championships and the AFC title appearances — then obviously the Super Bowls — we’re 100% a dynasty. But when you put it up against what the Warriors have done, obviously we don’t have as many championships right now so we’ve got some work to do.”

Kelce is no stranger to being lumped in with the Warriors, as he and Mahomes are set to take on Golden State stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in another edition of Capital One’s The Match later this month. Dubbed the “Splash Brothers” by NBA fans, the Curry-Thompson duo has experienced a ton of success together and the duo is responsible for bringing the franchise four championships since 2015. 

As far as having four championship wins on a resume is concerned, there’s a very finite amount of quarterbacks in NFL history who can stake claim to that. Tom Brady’s seven rings are by far the most all-time, with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw tying for second place with four rings of their own as well. Mahomes is currently in elite company with two championships before even turning 28 years old, but winning at the highest level is never guaranteed. Talented signal-callers such as Dan Marino and Aaron Rodgers are prime examples of that, but that isn’t stopping Kelce from making a bold prediction about the rest of Mahomes’s career. The veteran tight end said his quarterback will surpass the four-ring mark: 

“I think at the end of the day, Patty Mahomes finds a way to overtake — what is it, they’ve got four championships? I think Pat Mahomes is definitely going to find a way to get more than four championships. Hopefully I’m still along for the ride by the time he gets there.”

If Mahomes does end up winning three additional championships the rest of the way (presumably within the next 10-15 years depending on how long he plays), Kelce’s prediction would see the two-time MVP finish his career with five rings. That’s an unlikely outcome simply based on how difficult it is to win the big game in the NFL, but Mahomes has already managed to get to the Super Bowl three times in five full seasons as a starting quarterback. His success thus far has been mostly unprecedented, so perhaps Kelce isn’t being outlandish with his crystal ball proclamation. 

Read More: NFL World Reacts to the Passing of KC Chiefs Matriarch Norma Hunt

Royals Promote Chiefs Night at Kauffman Stadium

The Kansas City Chiefs’ home at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is one of the most iconic locations in the NFL, but the team also shares an area with a multi-time world champion baseball club that is currently holding some fans over until football is officially back.

On Monday morning, the Kansas City Royals tweeted that they will be hosting a Chiefs night at Kauffman Stadium on June 12 to pay homage to their neighbors at the Truman Sports Complex.

Per the Royals’ promotions page on their official team website, ‘Chiefs Night’ is an opportunity to “honor the Super Bowl LVII Champion Kansas City Chiefs at The K with Coach Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and more!” The 7:10 p.m. local time home game against the Cincinnati Reds will also feature special appearances from Chiefs mascot KC Wolf and the Chiefs’ cheerleaders.

For those who plan to attend Chiefs Night at Kauffman Stadium, varying ticket level options can be purchased straight from the MLB website’s directory for the game. The first 20,000 fans who get through the gates will be given a Royals-Chiefs combo rally towel as a part of the event’s promotional giveaway rollout. The Monday night game is also currently listed as an eligible outing for $10 View Reserved tickets courtesy of the Royals’ ‘Price Chop Mondays‘ initiative with Price Chopper.

Both Kansas City teams have a great relationship with one another, and the Chiefs’ strong turnout at the Royals’ Opening Day back in March was yet another example of that. Mahomes being a part of the franchise’s ownership group under John Sherman helps, too, providing the organization with even more backing from their NFL counterparts. Chiefs Night presents a chance for fans of both teams to show their support in a major way. 

Read More: NFL World Reacts to the Passing of KC Chiefs Matriarch Norma Hunt

Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney Named Breakout WRs to Watch

The Kansas City Chiefs have made a concerted effort to get younger and deeper at the wide receiver position, and the club’s current group is chock-full of options for quarterback Patrick Mahomes to choose from. With that said, the unit is also largely unproven and its ceiling is met with an equally scary floor.

Gone are veterans JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, as both players departed via free agency earlier this offseason. In their places, Kansas City is relying on the internal development of young pieces such as Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice. All three players are at various stages of their rookie-scale arcs and were selected in either the first or second round of their respective drafts. There’s no DeAndre Hopkins present to eat away at their snaps (as of the publishing of this article), as only Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a projected top-four wideout on the team. As such, the opportunity for a breakout elsewhere is certainly on the table.

Jordan Schultz of theScore is buying some of that stock, as his list of 10 breakout wide receivers to watch for the 2023 season contained both Moore and Toney. Citing their skill sets the team’s desire for at least one of them to embrace more responsibility this year, here is what Schultz wrote about the young pass-catchers:

Two-for-one here. Both Toney and Moore made massive contributions during the Chiefs’ 38-35 Super Bowl victory over Philly, showcasing their dynamic playmaking ability (Moore caught a TD and Toney flipped the game as a punt returner). The truth is, I loved Moore as a three-time All-MAC pick out of Western Michigan. He’s the ideal weapon for Patrick Mahomes because of how easily you can move him around. He can play the slot, he can play outside, and he can line up in the backfield.

And I can say the same for Toney, whose prowess at stopping on a dime can make even the league’s best defenders look silly. With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman Jr. departing in free agency, Kansas City would love for one of these young receivers to assume a larger role in 2023, and I believe both will.

Toney, 24, was a first-round pick back in 2021 but never quite latched on as the New York Giants had originally hoped. The Chiefs swooped in at last year’s trade deadline to pick him up and once he got healthy, the team’s swap with New York became justified. Toney played somewhat sparingly in his first half-season as a Chief and struggled to stay healthy but when on the field, he flashed some of what he can do in Andy Reid’s offense. The club has been effusive with praise of him in recent months, and Toney is expected to assume a prominent role at wide receiver this coming season.

Moore, a second-round pick last year coming out of Western Michigan, had an underwhelming rookie season in many regards. He never cracked the top end of Reid’s wideout depth chart and hauled in just 22 passes, although he did record a pair of consecutive five-reception outings in Weeks 11 and 12 of the regular season. The 22-year-old notched his first career touchdown in the Super Bowl, and the vibe from Kansas City has been that Moore is also expected to grow within the offense in both role and production as he gets more comfortable and experienced.

It’s one thing to garner hype in the offseason, and it’s another thing to cash in on that goodwill. All things considered, though, the door is wide open for one or both members of the Moore-Toney pair to take a serious step forward in 2023-24. Reid’s offense is tricky to learn in less than a full year, and the aforementioned departures present a notable opportunity. Schultz’s list indicates that yet another believer is in the fold.

Read More: Determining Factors for the Kansas City Chiefs’ Pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins

NFL World Reacts to the Passing of Norma Hunt

The Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL at large recently suffered a monumental loss when the club announced on Sunday night that team matriarch Norma Hunt had passed away.

Hunt, who was married to Kansas City and league legend Lamar Hunt, was the only woman to attend every Super Bowl in person. She was responsible for a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes efforts within the Chiefs organization and a ton of positive league advancement efforts as well. Hunt’s legacy will last for years to come, and the things she was able to accomplish for the team and for women aspiring to be impactful in sports won’t be forgotten.

On Sunday, the Hunt family issued a statement mourning the loss of Norma. It can be viewed in full below: 

Our family is deeply saddened by the passing of our mother, Norma. She was a wonderful mother and an extraordinary woman who will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

Kind, generous and unfailingly positive, mom was one of a kind. Her joy and zeal for life were infectious. She loved caring for others, and she always had an encouraging word. She was a loyal friend, the consummate hostess and she had a rare ability to make everyone she encountered feel valued and at ease.

Mom was steadfastly devoted to her family and fiercely passionate about her family’s sports teams. She was by our father Lamar’s side every step of the way – from the merger of the AFL and the NFL to the formation of Major League Soccer, World Championship Tennis, the North American Soccer League, and their founding investment in the Chicago Bulls. She was the only person we knew who rivaled his love of sports. The two of them found such joy together, whether at home, or in stadium stands around the world.

This February, she attended her 57th and final Super Bowl and watched her beloved Chiefs hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the third time. It was a fitting conclusion to her streak as the only woman to attend every Super Bowl.

Her quiet yet deep faith sustained her throughout her life, and we take great comfort knowing that she is home with the Lord. She will be greatly missed by our family, the extended Chiefs and FC Dallas families, and by everyone who knew her.

On Sunday night and Monday morning, the football world has taken to Twitter to honor the life and legacy of Norma Hunt. Those tweets, embedded below, come from official NFL team accounts, current and former Chiefs players, pillars of the NFL ecosystem and media members.

NFL teams offer their respects

Las Vegas Raiders

Denver Broncos

Los Angeles Chargers

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Green Bay Packers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pittsburgh Steelers

Current and former Chiefs players comment on Norma Hunt’s legacy

Patrick Mahomes

Trent Green

Matt Cassel

Figures from around the football world and media pay tribute

Roger Goodell

Jim Irsay

Troy Aikman

Skip Bayless

Scott Pioli

Ashley Smith

Read More: Determining Factors for the Chiefs’ Pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins

Skyy Moore’s Second-Year Jump Is Inevitable

Looking back on the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2022 NFL Draft, the selection of Skyy Moore may be the most controversial pick of the bunch. It’s not that Moore isn’t a good wide receiver or that he can’t turn into a solid pro player, but it was the first time that general manager Brett Veach traded down in a draft.

The Chiefs had the 50th pick but when their name was supposed to show up on the screen, it was the New England Patriots that were on the clock instead. The Chiefs were able to get back pick 54, just a few spots later, and pick 145. Three of the four players drafted between pick 50 and 53, before the Chiefs were able to use their new selection, were wide receivers.

Tyquan Thornton was selected by the Patriots, George Pickens was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Alec Pierce was taken by the Indianapolis Colts. Then it was the Chiefs’ turn, and they selected Moore at 54. Whether it’s fair or not, Moore will likely always be compared to these other three receivers during his career and the pick will be examined under a microscope.

Coming out of college, there was high praise for Moore — especially in the analytics community. He was viewed as a smaller receiver, standing at just under 5-foot-10 and weighing 195 pounds, but he had incredible route-running skills, great run-after-the-catch ability and great hands. Moore only dropped three passes on 125 targets during his final collegiate season and had the largest hands of any wide receiver at the combine. His 26 broken tackles tied for most among eligible receivers as well. All of these stats led to him being the highest-graded wide receiver by Pro Football Focus in the 2022 draft class.

Even with all of this, things didn’t get off to a great start during Moore’s rookie year. During the first half of the season, Moore had six catches in eight games. Of those eight games, he didn’t get a catch in four of them and had zero targets in three. Things didn’t go so well for him as a punt returner either, as he had multiple muffed punts in a loss to the Colts. The woes continued and Moore ended up being taken off punt return duties.

During the second half of the season, Moore was able to get more involved in the receiving game at times. He had back-to-back five-catch games to end the month of November, with his season high of 63 yards coming in a 30-27 win at the Los Angeles Chargers. There were still games down the stretch where Moore disappeared, having three outings in December and January where he didn’t record a catch. He finished the regular season with 22 catches for 250 yards and was held without a touchdown.

Moore was able to get some redemption in the postseason. In the AFC Championship Game, with wide receivers getting injured left and right, Moore was able to see an increased amount of playing time and was also tasked to field a season-defining punt return late. He hadn’t returned one since he muffed a punt against the Los Angeles Rams at the end of November. His key punt return against the Cincinnati Bengals put the Chiefs in position to kick a game-winning field goal in the final seconds of the game and get to the Super Bowl.

May 26, 2022; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) runs drills during organized team activities at The University of Kansas Health System Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of the Super Bowl, Moore was able to get his first career touchdown in a critical moment of the game. On a third-and-goal from the four-yard line, quarterback Patrick Mahomes found a wide-open Moore near the line of scrimmage on the opposite side of the field for a score, giving the Chiefs an eight-point fourth-quarter lead with less than 10 minutes to go. Moore’s touchdown was the final one the Chiefs scored.

Despite Moore’s lack of production during his rookie season, it leaves plenty of room for growth and production to come in year two. It was another offseason of turnover at the wide receiver position for the Chiefs, and he will have plenty of chances to see his role grow in 2023.

With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman leaving town, Moore’s role could be more defined. He showcased his ability to be a jack-of-all-trades, lining up in the slot and out wide. The hope would be to see him in a key role at the wide receiver position and let the punt returns go to a teammate. Moore can be the type of player that works over the middle of the field, like Smith-Schuster. He also has the versatility to play around the line of scrimmage similarly to Hardman. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff tries to put Moore in one role or have him move around instead.

The receiver room looks to be Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney, Moore, Justin Watson, rookie Rashee Rice and then three or four more players fighting for the final spot. Moore will have the chance to really make an impact in 2023. Taking the next step from 22 receptions to over 60 is a realistic goal. Adding 40-plus receptions could put him right there in the 700-800 yard range, which would help fill some of that void that Hardman and Smith-Schuster left behind.

The path is there for Moore to take a second-year jump. With a year under his belt full of postseason experience and added trust from Mahomes, it’s only a matter of time before Moore takes a big step forward.

Read More: Determining Factors for the Kansas City Chiefs’ Pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins

Dave Toub Reveals Chiefs’ Potential Special Teams Options for 2023

Over the course of his career as the Kansas City Chiefs’ assistant head coach and even dating back to the days in which he worked strictly with special teams, Dave Toub has built a reputation as one of the better coaches in his field. With that said, the 2022 season challenged him and the team.

General manager Brett Veach allowed multiple key veterans to walk out the door via free agency last offseason, utilizing the 2022 NFL Draft to insulate the roster with depth and upside. That youth and inexperience showed early in the season, though, as the team’s special teams unit was a glaring weakness that reared its ugly head several times in the early and middle portions of the 2022-23 campaign. Kansas City rebounded well enough to finish 19th in Football Outsiders‘ Special Teams DVOA, but that was quite the fall from a No. 7 ranking the year before. 

Nevertheless, Toub and company eventually adjusted to having so many young players in the fold. By the end of the season and into the playoffs, the Chiefs’ had a plethora of standouts in that area of the game. That, combined with the NFL’s changes to kickoff return rules for 2023, could lead to even greater overall success moving forward despite another rookie class of largely unexpected contributors coming in. That applies to undrafted free agents as well, and Toub said on Thursday that former Tulsa running back Deneric Prince is emerging as a potential return option.

“Some guys that are doing really well right now you probably want to know (are Deneric) Prince is looking good as a running back,” Toub said. “He reminds me so much of – you guys remember Knile Davis? He reminds me of Knile, he even has the same number. (He) didn’t do it in college, but he’s showing traits right now that he reminds me so much of Knile that it’s kind of scary. And you know, Knile was pretty good for us. As he went on, obviously the touchdowns. And so, I see him in that role.”

Prince indeed had very limited return experience in college, as his four-year career between Texas A&M and Tulsa saw him bring back just four kickoffs for a combined 68 yards. Kansas City is no stranger to giving a rookie running back a chance to return kicks, however, as Isiah Pacheco had that role just a season ago as a seventh-round selection. The Chiefs also have plenty of other potential suitors for the role, including a mix of recent free agent signings and draft picks. Former New York Giants standout Richie James headlines the list for Toub, but he also mentioned a few other names. 

“Richie James is a guy that – he’s got experience, (he) did it in NFL games, which that’s huge as we know,” Toub said. “And he’s definitely in the mix. (John) Ross – the other one, No. 85 – he’s another guy that’s got speed. (He) had injury problems at Cincinnati, but if he could stay healthy, he’s definitely in the mix. He’s probably one of our fastest players back there. And then you still got Skyy (Moore) and Ihmir (Smith-Marsette). We have a bunch of guys that are possible guys that can do that for us.”

While Kansas City doesn’t have an extremely clear picture of who will end up being the team’s primary special-teamers this coming season, they have a good idea of who can serve as exactly that. Organized team activities (OTAs) are a perfect time to experiment and allow clubs to learn more about the players on their 90-man rosters. Someone who manages to stand out now doesn’t necessarily have a locked-in role on the team by the time August or September roll around, but the Chiefs are intentional with the reps they divvy up. Players like Prince wouldn’t be tried out in a special teams role if he didn’t flash a redeeming quality or two to Toub. 

The overarching theme of Toub’s special teams unit, much like Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, is youth. The franchise’s recent investment in young, athletic and high-upside talents naturally leads to special teams as a path for carving out an early role and potentially earning more playing time down the road. The late-round draft picks and undrafted players are more geared toward that side of the ball, and that’s who Toub singled out when asked about who could help the Chiefs out early. As the offseason rolls on, he thinks the unheralded prospects are the ones to keep an eye on. 

“I’m excited about the young linebackers, (Isaiah) Moore and (Cam) Jones, the two free agent kids that we have,” Toub said. “I like the kids that we drafted, (Chamarri) Conner and (Nic) Jones. Both of those guys are going to help us right off the bat. The d-lineman, the defensive ends, possibly some role players but not so much as a four-phase guy but I’m excited about the young players but really it’s those last year’s young players that are getting better that are going to – guys like (Jack) Cochrane and Nazeeh (Johnson). You know towards the end of the year Nazeeh Johnson, as a gunner, he was playing better than anybody in the league. So, I’m excited about him. He’ll probably be our number one gunner coming into next year.”

Read More: Determining Factors for the Kansas City Chiefs’ Pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins

Steve Spagnuolo Addresses Progress of Chiefs’ Young Defensive Players

The Kansas City Chiefs finished their second of three organized team activity (OTA) sessions on Thursday afternoon, capping off yet another week of progress as the NFL offseason continues to unfold.

Coming off a Super Bowl LVII win that was fueled by an impressive 2022 draft class, the Chiefs are tasked with finding ways to follow that up with another impressive rookie crop moving forward. Of general manager Brett Veach’s seven picks in April’s 2023 NFL Draft, five of them were defensive players. Those selections gave defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo more ammo to work with on his side of the ball, but it also provided him with a familiar challenge: get them ready to play.

While OTAs don’t permit live contact to take place, they do leave the door open for teams to continue working with their players on drills and helping them get back in the swing of things for the offseason. For rookies, this is a busy time filled with learning on the fly and adjusting to life as professionals. Spagnuolo was complimentary of his first-year group when speaking on Thursday, but he also admitted that it’s still very early in the process.

“They’re all young, they don’t know anything right now,” Spagnuolo said. “So, obviously, you’re asking about Felix (Anudike-Uzomah). We haven’t seen a lot on him because he’s been dinged up a little bit so it’s hard to tell. We’ve had Chamarri (Conner) out there, he’s slowly progressing, he made a really good play today. Nic Jones, right? Nic’s playing some nickel for us, fittingly. He’s done some good things coming from a small school, Ball State. 

“BJ (Thompson), I know I’m going to miss one but BJ Thompson – BJ’s been pretty impressive. He’s done some good things. He’s a young, raw guy (but) we knew that going in. He stuck out today, made a play. Who’s my fifth? Keondre (Coburn). KC, I call him KC. (He does a) great job. (He’s) just an energetic, passionate guy. He reminds me a lot of Khalen Saunders, really. Same body type and hopefully he can be the same kind of player so that’s a little bit of a wrap-up on those five draft picks.”

Drafting five rookies on any one side requires a lot of trust and faith that the players will fit, but also a great deal of optimism surrounding the coaching staff’s ability to put those players in the best possible positions to succeed. Spagnuolo has historically erred on the side of caution and opted to play proven veterans rather than first-year players, but last offseason essentially forced his hand. Kansas City witnessed some turnover on defense and instead of investing heavily in the free agent market, Veach and company went to the draft to find suitable replacements.

The Chiefs selected seven defensive players in the 2022 draft, and five of those prospects ended up playing significant roles at various points in the ensuing season. In the secondary, specifically, Veach invested in cornerbacks Trent McDuffie (first round), Joshua Williams (fourth round) and Jaylen Watson (seventh round) while also spending picks on safeties Bryan Cook (second round) and Nazeeh Johnson (seventh round). When asked about how comfortable his second-year defensive backs looked in OTAs, Spagnuolo gave a resoundingly positive review.

“You can just ask them, Trent (McDuffie) included, right?” Spagnuolo said. “The five of them — NJ (Nazeeh Johnson) is out there doing a great job. I sat with them or was somewhere with them a week ago and they’re like lightyears ahead. They feel it and it’s different and they’re confident. The first day that we went out there for a walkthrough, the communication and the talking – now, I’m including Justin Reid in that because last year was all new for him, too, even though he was a vet the system was new. And those guys just from a verbal and being kind of tied in from that standpoint, they were just jelling.”

With the second session of OTAs now in the books, the Chiefs have one more scheduled from June 6-9 and then a mandatory all-team minicamp that is slated to span from June 13-15. This phase of the offseason still requires no contact, but the importance of these stretches can’t be overlooked when considering the multitude of young players Kansas City has on defense. Playing for Spagnuolo is a difficult job to fulfill, and there will inevitably be some adversity along the way. With that said, according to the defensive coordinator himself this week, the Chiefs’ youth is far more of a benefit than a roadblock. 

Read More: Determining Factors for the Kansas City Chiefs’ Pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins

Determining Factors for the Chiefs’ Pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins

On Friday afternoon, the world got the news that the Arizona Cardinals planned to release five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins — a transaction that has since been processed and made official. With his release, Hopkins is now free to sign with any team. 

The Kansas City Chiefs were heavily rumored to be involved in the Hopkins sweepstakes when it looked like he would get traded earlier in the offseason. That connection has continued now that he is available to be signed off the street. Adding Hopkins to what is already the best offense in the NFL would be scary for the rest of the league, but does it make sense from an overarching viewpoint?

Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Hopkins would instantly become the Chiefs’ best wide receiver, as he is still a borderline top-10 receiver in the NFL. His presence playing with Travis Kelce would immediately strike fear into opposing defenses. That combination would give Patrick Mahomes two guys he can trust in any situation and in high-leverage moments. Though the Chiefs won the Super Bowl last year with a lesser receiving core, there were struggles with consistency from that group until the season’s final game. Getting Hopkins would provide a consistent threat on the outside while the rest of the young group comes along and grows at their own rate.

The young wide receiver group is why the Chiefs may have some hold-up bringing in Hopkins. In the last two offseasons, the Chiefs have added Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney and Rashee Rice to the roster via either trade or the second round of the NFL Draft. Those are three players the Chiefs have invested significant capital in and believe are part of their future. They may want to see what the three can do with a more significant opportunity without being blocked by a former All-Pro for snaps. Kansas City has raved about Toney’s potential and continues to praise Moore throughout the offseason. Getting them on the field may be the best development plan in the team’s eyes.

On top of the young guys, Kansas City has veterans like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson who are locked into the roster. Between the vets and the younger receivers, the numbers game becomes tough if the Chiefs want to keep a fringe guy around who could be poached by another team. Take Justyn Ross, for example. He possesses all the talent in the world, but injuries have been his issue. If the Chiefs believe he can stay healthy, his ceiling keeps him around as a project. However, adding Hopkins makes that very difficult because the team would need to cut numbers at another position in order to make it happen.

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The major hurdle for the Chiefs would be the contract situation. Hopkins was released in the first place because teams didn’t want to take on the money necessary in a trade. With the meat of the offseason behind us, teams don’t even have the cap space to give Hopkins the free agent contract he may desire. As things currently stand, the Chiefs are one of those teams. Kansas City would likely have to extend Chris Jones, a process that could take some time, to clear enough room to bring Hopkins into the fold. The other method would be to make a contract with void years, but the Chiefs have historically refrained from doing that when at all possible. 

In the end, it will come down to money as the factor of whether the Chiefs are in the Hopkins sweepstakes. Kansas City provides the best quarterback, a winning culture and the opportunity to rack up statistics to cash in one last time. If Hopkins is willing to take less to be in Kansas City, the fit is seamless and would only make the Chiefs’ offense more dangerous. However, Hopkins is not a need for the Chiefs. They are the best team in the league without him, which won’t change no matter where he goes. The scenario where Hopkins signs with another contender on a cheap deal may hurt the Chiefs in the short term but it may also speak to the belief Kansas City has in its young core of receivers, which is a positive sign for the future.

Read More: ESPN Ranks Kansas City Chiefs as Having Top-10 2023 Offseason in the NFL

Chris Jones Ranked as PFF’s No. 2 Interior Defensive Lineman

The Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason revolves around the club navigating a post-Super Bowl landscape in an effort to get back to the NFL’s biggest game at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season. Star defensive tackle Chris Jones was a major reason why the team triumphed back in February, as his performances all season long helped anchor Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.

Tying his previous career-high mark with 15.5 sacks, Jones also tied a personal best with 29 quarterback hits and set a new high in tackles with 44. The 28-year-old was voted a first-team All-Pro for the first time ever, and he also finished third in the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year voting. Thanks to a resurgence as a pass rusher and some stellar tutelage from defensive line coach Joe Cullen helping him improve as a run defender, Jones turned in his best season ever just in time to earn a new contract that the team is actively considering this offseason.

Over the past few years, Jones has been a consensus second-tier defensive tackle alongside high-profile names like Quinnen Williams, Jeffery Simmons, DeForest Buckner and others. Los Angeles Rams megastar Aaron Donald has largely been viewed as the best player at his position and even the best player in the sport to some, placing him alone on a pedestal of sorts. Donald’s production slipped in a major way this past season, though, and Jones’s improvement was serious. Did Jones do enough to pass Donald? 

Pro Football Focus doesn’t quite believe so, as Jones is the No. 2 interior defensive lineman in their rankings ahead of the 2023 campaign. Here’s what Gordon McGuinness wrote about Jones: 

Jones may be on his way to surpassing Donald as the top interior defender in the NFL. His 92.3 PFF grade in 2022 was the best in the league at the position. With a career-high 97 pressures from 741 pass-rushing snaps, including the playoffs, Jones has established himself as a formidable force in the trenches.

For Donald, McGuinness praised his ability to still rack up plenty of pressures despite having an injury-filled 2022 season. It appears that the No. 1 ranking is partially a legacy spot but also perhaps an expectation that a healthy Donald will get back to his rightful spot atop the defensive line throne this coming season. The article made it clear, however, that another stellar effort from Jones just might lead to him being ranked as the best defensive tackle in the sport. With the pursuit of another championship factored in, this outcome isn’t far-fetched.

Read More: Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills Reportedly in ‘Arms Race’ for DeAndre Hopkins


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