On Friday, NFL coaches can go back to team facilities around the league. Things are on track for the league to open on time, although we don’t know yet if fans will be allowed to attend training camp or games.
We may soon see players be able to return to facilities before taking the normal NFL break in July. There’s a small chance that teams could get together for a small minicamp session for only a few days before the break. In the meantime, the news cycle is still going not only in the Broncos division but throughout the league.
Let’s take a spin around the AFC West to see what the competition is up to.
Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill told reporters last month that he is doing yoga twice a week in an effort to open up his hips and glutes more. Well, Hill is already one of the most dangerous receivers in the league because of his elite-level speed. He basically teleports down the field and can get by defenders in the blink of an eye.
Doing yoga will help him move better. In fact, it could help Hill change direction without losing much speed. This means he could be running more comeback-type routes in 2020 or at least more in-cutting routes where he’ll fool defenders even more.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has caught no fewer than 83.5 percent of his catchable targets during the last five seasons, and quarterbacks have recorded a passer rating no worse than 105.8 over that stretch. In 2019, he hauled in 84.3 percent of his 115 catchable targets and his quarterbacks recorded a 112.2 passer rating when targeting him. You don’t need advanced data to know that Kelce gets it done at the highest level.
The Chiefs are bringing back 10 out of 11 starters from the Super Bowl team last year, so expect the offense to continue performing better than anyone else. Kelce is a centerpiece of what the team does and there’s really no defense that can slow him down.
Las Vegas Raiders
Raiders rookie wide receiver (and 2020 first-round pick) Henry Ruggs III suffered an injury during a recent off-field accident. He suffered an apparent cut or puncture, but he should be fine. Ruggs was helping a friend move and cut himself on the thigh carrying stuff to the back of a trailer. His father gave us an update in an interview with AL.com after the incident.
“He was trying to move a trailer or something – move furniture or something – and the trailer just kind of pinned him against a car or a wall or something,” Henry Ruggs Jr. said. “He’s pretty much okay. I’m about to go out there and see him in a little bit. It was just like a little open wound on his leg, a little incision. Like something had stuck him right there on his thigh a little bit.”
Next time, the talented rookie should hire someone to help his friend move.
Raiders running back Lynn Bowden and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow are expected to compete for the punt returner job during training camp. Renfrow is the second-year receiver from Clemson who does a great job as a slot receiver. In fact, he reminds me a lot of Brandon Stokley from his playing days in the NFL. Having him as a punt returner makes sense because of his quickness and agility.
Bowden is an interesting player. In college at Kentucky, he played wide receiver and quarterback in 2019. Injuries caused him to move to quarterback as a junior and he went 6-2 as a starter in eight games. Bowden has experience as a return man, scoring twice on punt returns in his college career. He was one of the most versatile players in the 2020 NFL Draft and could help the Raiders in a multitude of positions.
Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers first-round pick quarterback Justin Herbert is expected to compete for the starting job with veteran Tyrod Taylor, according to quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton. There is no doubt the team considers Herbert as the potential quarterback of the future. They want him to be the franchise quarterback to take over eventually and lead their team into the future.
Herbert is not a lock to beat out Taylor in training camp for the starting job. In fact, I think the team could win a lot of games with Taylor at the helm. He’s a seasoned veteran quarterback who is generally safe as a starter. With that amazing defense, the Chargers should be able to get back in the playoff hunt, no matter who is starting at the quarterback position.
We could see Herbert become the team’s franchise quarterback, but in this playoff window the team may decide that he’s best on the bench. Herbert may end up getting a “red shirt” year for the Chargers so long as Taylor can play well, stay healthy and win games.
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