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Frank Zombo could be on Kansas City Chiefs roster bubble

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Adam Teicher of ESPN says that Frank Zombo is likely a cap casualty once the Chiefs find out what they have in newer imports at outside linebacker.
In an ideal world, one in which each and every prospect develops just as hoped and projected, Frank Zombo would already be out of a job with the Kansas City Chiefs.

That’s nothing personal at all against Zombo (and we’ll defend him here in a bit), but the Chiefs have made considerable investments at outside linebacker in recent years in an attempt to free up Justin Houston by surrounding him with high-ceiling talents. It’s just that things haven’t quite worked out as expected.
It’s been four years since the Chiefs first brought in Dee Ford to be the future sack artist opposite Houston, and it was a perfect scenario on paper. He could learn behind Tamba Hali before taking over, yet Ford could never quite master the other necessary parts of the job and Hali got an extension.

Last year, Tanoh Kpassagnon was the team’s second round pick, a developmental prospect who would take some time, but the hope there was also to help bolster a position of need now that Ford wasn’t exactly working out as planned. This year, Brett Veach made his first ever draft pick at the same position with Breeland Speaks, a heavier edge player who can play along the line or standing up.
Between one first round pick and two second round picks, someone simply has to step up and start across from Justin Houston. And even then those other guys need to develop into useful rotational parts, guys who can come in and rush the passer to help improve the Chiefs front seven. If all goes well, then, that leaves little room for a guy like Zombo.

Zombo was brought in to bolster the position and play special teams back in 2013 and the Chiefs have yet to be able to replace him. The former Packers player has become a reliable veteran who can step up in a pinch and be ready to play. He might not be flashy, but he often gets the job done to little fanfare, and he’s a favorite of Dave Toub on special teams.

Zombo is never out of position or caught making a major mistake. He’s focused on the details. He’s a gritty veteran who does exactly what’s asked for the last five years, and there’s always room for players like that on a team. Football is a war of attrition, as they say, and a guy like Zombo is always more valuable than most fans will ever realize.
Still, ESPN analyst Adam Teicher believes Zombo is on the outs. He writes:

The team might keep Zombo around because of his experience, but that may be a luxury they decide they can’t afford — his contract calls for a base salary of $920,000.

For not even a cool million, the Chiefs would have to know that the young players are absolutely ready to let Zombo go, in my opinion. At some point the team has to trust them and let them play, but Zombo has been such a valuable safety net.

Chiefs rookies hear from legends, get customized Royals jerseys during “Rookie Transition Program”

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All of the rookies on the Kansas City Chiefs roster spent the last three days in the NFL’s Rookie Transition Program, which is designed to help new players transition from college football to the professional ranks.

Two names you don’t hear associated with the Chiefs often—Kirsten Krug (vice president of administration) and BJ Stabler (player engagement director) help organize the program.

The following behind-the-scenes looks are from the official Instagram of Stabler.

(Note: Each of Stabler’s three posts is broken up into slides, and you may have to click through to Instagram to see each one)

Day one
Day one highlights: Equipment manager Mike Davidson gets the players familiar with Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt, an inspirational talk from Major Rodney Jackson, a Play60 event on the field at Arrowhead Stadium (I noticed Derrick Nnadi engaged with the children in the video), and a tour of the historic Negro League Museum on E 18th street. There are no slides that show this, but Stabler mentions AP contributor Mayor Sly James and Chiefs great Deron Cherry closed out the day with talks as well.

Day two
Day two highlights: A brief seminar on understanding credit from a representative from Second Chance Credit, talks from Pro Football Hall of Famer Will Shields, Scott Turner and Captain Kari Thompson regarding social responsibility and discussing tough issues relevant to the NFL today. The Chiefs rookies also learned about total wellness and mental health care. They finished up day two by each getting custom Royals jersey (pretty cool) and watching how NOT to play from the worst team in baseball at Kauffman Stadium.

Day three
Day three highlights: First, NFL line judge Mark Hittner broke down the rule differences between college football and the pros. Later in the day, MADD warned the rookies of the dangers of drunk driving. Finally, there was a player panel featuring Ryan Lilja, Joe Mays and Ben Grubbs. Lilja is as honest and forward as they come and it was good to see Grubbs back involved after a brief Chiefs career. The three-day program wrapped up with a trip to Top Golf.

Arrowheadlines: Chiefs named one of four teams that won’t return to playoffs in ‘18 by USA Today

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The latest
Breaking down new-look Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, Sammy Watkins a perfect match

The Chiefs for the most part in 2017 enjoyed a successful offensive season thanks to their starting quarterback and offensive coordinator. Now Kansas City hopes to have an even bigger year without Alex Smith and Matt Nagy.

Coach Andy Reid and Nagy’s replacement, a promoted Eric Bienemy, have gone to work with second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs found their feature running back in Kareem Hunt last year, but now they are trying take the passing game to the next level and being more aggressive to compliment Mahomes’ big arm.

4 NFL playoff teams that won't return in 2018 | USA Today

Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid is too good of a coach to completely count out, and it would be a shock to see Kansas City playing in January; but it looks like the team will take a step back this season in order to take leap forward in the future. Not a bad trade-off.

All-time XI, AFC West: How do Raiders' Hall of Famers stack up? -

Kansas City Chiefs

1) Derrick Thomas, OLB (1989-1999)

2) Tony Gonzalez, TE (1997-2008)

3) Len Dawson, QB (1962-1975)

As historic as Dawson's contributions are to the Chiefs franchise, and as iconic as this hardcore picture of him smoking a cig during Super Bowl I's halftime is, Thomas and Gonzalez are the superior players. The two were statistical marvels and matchup nightmares in their time and are both top-five all-timers at their respective positions.

Five reasons why the Titans will make the 2018 NFL Playoffs |

Of course, the narrative of the day was the Chiefs' -- read Andy Reid's -- inability to close out a winnable playoff game. I looked at it another way. The Titans are one of the risers in the NFL. You shouldn't expect them to go to Kansas City and win a playoff game, but I sure did. Many of you considered them an afterthought much in the same way Kofi Kingston was an afterthought in the WWE's "Money in the Bank" match this past weekend. I mean, Kofi is great. And it's not weird to see him on the main event stage. It's just that nobody expected Kofi or the Titans to win it with the big guys looming. I guess that makes the Patriots Braun Strowman now that I think about it.

Mailbag: Is Flacco ready for his year-long NFL audition? |

Here's the ideal scenario for the Ravens: All the offseason chatter about Lamar Jackson's arrival "motivating" Flacco turns out to be true (which feels like a classic offseason trope, but you never know) and Flacco enjoys a turn-back-the-clock season that a) gets Baltimore back to the playoffs and b) pumps up Flacco's value before the inevitable trade to make way for the kid. You know how everyone keeps talking (and talking and talking) about how the Bears are following the Rams' model for success this offseason? Well, the Ravens want to follow the path of the Chiefs, who managed to get value for Alex Smith and open up a spot for Patrick Mahomes with one well-timed move.

NFL Offseason Schedule: Supplemental Draft, | Sports Illustrated

In the 10 draft classes since, 14 of 27 first-round QBs started in Week 1 as rookies. Eight more started games within the first half of their rookie years. And only one, Jake Locker, didn’t start a game at all in Year 1. Locker and Patrick Mahomes were really the only two true redshirts (Mahomes started a Week 17 throwaway game last year), and in both cases, it was because the team was contending.

Jeff Triplette Reportedly Joining ESPN's NFL Broadcast Team as Rules Analyst | Bleacher Report

While Triplette was on the field for some high-profile games in his career, he did find himself under scrutiny near the end. He was involved in a controversial playoff game between the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs back in January, with Chiefs coach Andy Reid having to bite his tongue after the game so he didn't get fined. Former NFL Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira was even critical of the officiating in the game.

Around the league
2018 NFL Over-Under Win Totals: Jon Gruden's Raiders are the ultimate wild card | CBS Sports

The Pick

Betting against Gruden feels like a foolish endeavor, especially in a division with all kinds of turnover and change occurring. Especially in his first year, it feels like he could inspire a bunch of guys to outperform expectations. But I'm going to do it anyway. I see the Raiders and Broncos battling it out for the bottom of this division.


Redskins' Alex Smith understands he won't be afforded luxury of patience in Washington | CBS Sports

"No, I don't think you can rely on the fact that, 'Oh, it's the first year here.' Nobody cares," he said, per NBC Sports Washington. "It's not like in the fall, you guys are going to be like, 'Ah, well, this is his first year here. We'll give him a break.' It just doesn't work that way."

3 NFL playoff sleepers that aren’t getting any offseason hype | For The Win

Washington should be much better at running the ball in 2018. The line should return to good health (knock on wood) and the team landed one of the draft’s most talented runners in Derrius Guice. Throw in Alex Smith’s mobility, which adds a new dimension to the offense, and the Redskins could be one of the better running teams in the league next season. Combine that with Jay Gruden’s shrewdly designed passing game and Washington undoubtedly has a playoff-caliber offense.

How Two NFL Retirees Are Tackling Their Challenges With A Strong Game Plan

Former NFL quarterback David Garrard has found personal success in life after football despite a lack of financial literacy obtained during his years in the NFL. Specifically, he chose to invest in the franchise industry and open up three Retro Fitness locations after an introduction from his financial advisor. He is not alone. Another six-year NFL veteran Jameel McClain, who now serves as Assistant Director of Engagement for the Baltimore Ravens, is invested in the same business as Garrard.

Is the NFL preparing to suspend Jameis Winston? |

A Tallahassee radio-show host created waves on Wednesday by reporting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and his advisers are bracing for that possibility.

Female high school football coach lands internship with NFL | WHTM

Boys become men under the Friday Night Lights, but for Susquehanna Township High School's only female football coach, those lights have helped guide her to the NFL.

She's stood on the sidelines for Susquehanna High School Township's football games for nine seasons as a coach, but in a few weeks, she'll be joining a new tribe -- two-time Superbowl champs, the Baltimore Ravens.

"I was very blessed to have Baltimore ask me to attend their camp as an intern, and then also do three first preseason games with them," said Lori "Coach Lo" Locust.

President Trump, Here’s Whom You Should Pardon | Doug Baldwin, Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins and Benjamin Watson

Only sweeping clemency will address the systemic injustice N.F.L. players like us have been protesting.

NFL Players Continue Their Protests Off Field In The Political Arena | NPR

Three New England Patriots players are taking the protest against racism and police brutality off the field. Rather than taking a knee during the national anthem, they are grilling candidates on how they'd make the criminal justice system more fair.

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Chiefs could be eyeing cornerback in July’s supplemental draft

I wrote last week about how I thought the Chiefs’ secondary depth may be better than people realize, so I doubt Chiefs general manager Brett Veach outbids at least three other interested teams to select Alexander.

That being said, Veach has shown a tendency to go after players he likes (the Chiefs traded up three times in the actual NFL Draft), so if that’s the case with Alexander, Veach could make a play. The Chiefs’ have nine picks in next year’s draft, and CBS Sports projects Alexander to go in the 5-7 round range.

What do the Chiefs have in LB Reggie Ragland?

Last offseason, the Chiefs were in search for another inside linebacker to add to the roster, and one of their original calls was to the Dallas Cowboys for Anthony Hitchens, but the Cowboys weren’t interested in the move, presumably being unsure about Jaylon Smith.

Robert McCray is a Chiefs name you ought to know

Indiana EDGE prospect Robert McCray could be a player to watch at training camp coming up in St. Joseph.

News for Tuesday 15 May, 2018

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