Behind Enemy Lines: Cardinals prep for Chiefs’ offensive buzzsaw
Nine games into 2018, the only slip-up for the Kansas City Chiefs came in Week 6 against the New England Patriots. And if it truly was categorized as a slip-up, it was a three-point one against a team that’s now 7-2 with six wins in a row.
Point being, the Chiefs are still darn good and lead the NFL in scoring at 36.3 points per game.
At Arrowhead Stadium, they will host a 2-6 Arizona Cardinals team that is coming off a bye week that was preceded by a win over the San Francisco 49ers.
To get a heartbeat on Arizona’s opponent in preparation for Sunday’s game, let’s take a look at the Chiefs beat. It’s Behind Enemy Lines.
Friday, November 9
Josh Rosen and Patrick Mahomes know each other well – they were roommates at the Manning Passing academy while they were in college at UCLA and Texas Tech, respectively.
“He was a guy that was up with me early, working with all those kids and just loving the experience,” Mahomes said of Rosen. “I know that he loves football and loves being able to just go out there and being a quarterback, and those are the guys that have success.”
• Five things to watch as the Chiefs host the Cardinals (ArrowheadPride.com)
Among the things to watch this Sunday is whether the Cardinals will be able to exploit a Chiefs run defense that allows a league-worst 5.2 rushing yards per attempt. David Johnson averaged just 3.7 yards per rush in the Cardinals’ most recent win over the 49ers.
• Chiefs vs. Cardinals: How the Kansas City offense beats Arizona (ArrowheadPride.com)
Kansas City’s offense hasn’t had any trouble scoring this season and it’s possible it could exploit a Cardinals’ pass defense that isn’t as good as the numbers show. Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche key the front against the pass, but Nkemdiche isn’t playing so it could be weakened. The secondary has a star in Patrick Peterson, but questions about the rest of the secondary against Mahomes and company remain.
Thursday, November 8
• Patrick Mahomes Week 9 Film Review: something improved and something that needs improvement (ArrowheadPride.com)
The preseason and early slate weren’t overwhelming (although there were plenty of glimpses of what was coming), but now we’re starting to see a jump in productivity between Mahomes and the receiver from Clemson. Hopefully, his recent foot issue doesn’t get too in the way of the continued cultivation of yet another weapon in the Chiefs’ offense.
• Chiefs Stock Report: Whose stock is rising — or falling — heading into Week 10 (ArrowheadPride.com)
For the Chiefs, expectations have been ratcheting upward all season. Beating a team like the Browns doesn’t necessarily push their stock higher, but losing to them would certainly hurt it. This Chiefs team continues to perform at a high level, especially on offense. Mahomes setting records and throwing for over 300 yards is no longer a surprise, it’s the expectation.
Mahomes has 29 touchdown passes on the season, which ties Dawson’s 1962 record but is still one short of the Dawson’s franchise record of 30 set in 1964’s 14-game season.
“Len has had a ton of success in the NFL and was kind of ahead of his time,” said Mahomes. ”Throwing all those touchdowns, I think the record has stood for a very long time. It would be awesome to pass that, but hopefully we can just keep building on that and getting more and more wins.”
Mahomes said he isn’t focused on Dawson’s record any more than any of the other records he’s been surpassing.
• Dorian O’Daniel is coming into his own at exactly the right time for the Chiefs (ArrowheadPride.com)
Through the first six weeks of the season, Kansas City Chiefs rookie linebacker Dorian O’Daniel had 10 defensive snaps. Given those statistics, it made sense that one of the most common questions from Chiefs fans here at Arrowhead Pride was, “Where’s O’Daniel?”
And it was worth asking. General manager Brett Veach was the one who told us O’Daniel would serve as a “chess piece,” for the Chiefs, that he’d be on the field in dime and sub-packages.
Wednesday, November 7
The Chiefs have had quite the 2018 season to this point. From their dominance in wins to the MVP-level play of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City looks destined for a deep playoff run.
Kansas City Chiefs’ tailback and Cleveland-area native Kareem Hunt put together a homecoming to remember in the Chiefs’ victory over the Cleveland Browns last weekend, and it earned the second-year running back some hardware.
Hunt was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday morning after tallying 141 total yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. It was Hunt’s third-career game with three or more touchdowns.
What worries Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes the most going into a game isn’t the opposing defense or executing coach Andy Reid’s intricate offensive plans.
It’s the coin toss.
“It’s one of the most nervous points of the whole game for me right now,” Mahomes said.
He’s kidding, but the Chiefs’ coin-flip record is better than their overall mark, which stands an AFC-best 8-1.
• How Andy Reid outcoaches the Chiefs’ most aggressive opponents (SBNation.com)
If you want to get a glimpse at the state of coaching in the NFL, look no further than what the Chiefs’ offense did to the Browns’ defense in their 37-21 win Sunday.
Andy Reid has taken the Chiefs’ offense and turned it into a damn near unstoppable machine. Having guys like Patrick Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill helps, but the coach still has to put them in the right position to make plays.
Tuesday, November 6
• Patrick Mahomes says he hears Andy Reid’s voice in his head during games (ArrowheadPride.com)
Mahomes revealed that Reid has him so prepared, he hears his head coach’s voice during the course of a game.
“I can recognize the coverage based on the film study from the week,” Mahomes said. “Then at some point you hear that little voice in your head of coach Reid talking to me, telling me if they play this coverage, we need to go through these reads versus if they play the other one.
“Just having that, it makes it so that I can play fast on the field, go out there and get the ball out of my hand and make plays.”
• Chiefs activate S Daniel Sorensen, waive LB Nate Orchard (ArrowheadPride.com)
The Chiefs announced Tuesday morning that safety Daniel Sorensen has been activated, via the team’s official Twitter account. The Chiefs waived outside linebacker Nate Orchard in the process.
Sorensen, 28, has been a member of the Chiefs since 2014, when the team signed him as an undrafted free agent. Similar in a sense to Eric Berry, Sorensen was due to be one of the Chiefs’ starting safeties this season before injury struck in training camp.
• Patrick Mahomes is nearly flawless when the offensive line keeps him clean, says PFF (ArrowheadPride.com)
Each week, Pro Football Focus shares some notes from the Kansas City Chiefs’ previous game as part of something it calls PFF Insights. This week, the Chiefs are coming off a 37-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Once again, when the offensive line gave him a clean pocket, Patrick Mahomes is nearly flawless.
The Chiefs are an early 16½-point favorite, according to VegasInsider.com. That’s a huge line in the NFL. In fact, no Andy Reid-coached Chiefs team has been a bigger favorite.
But Reid said he doesn’t think the Chiefs will need to search deep for motivation.
“They’re coming off a bye week — they’ll be fresh and they’re coming off a win,” Reid said. “We just have to make sure we get ourselves ready to play.”
• Kareem Hunt said he wishes he could play the New England Patriots right now (ArrowheadPride.com)
(Deion) Sanders said he “didn’t want to look forward” but then implies that the Chiefs should think the only team that could possibly beat them is Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Sanders asked Hunt if he’s look(ed) forward to that future matchup.
“It’s going to be a heck of a game,” he said. “I know they ready. Just know we coming ready. I wish we could have that game right now.”
• Snap counts: Chiefs must strike a balance between health and playing their stars (Kansas City Star)
Unprompted, Chiefs coach Andy Reid made mention of wide receiver Tyreek Hill and inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens playing through injury issues in his post-game remarks. During the game, wide receiver Sammy Watkins came out with a foot injury, though he did return to the field after being evaluated by the training staff on the sideline.
Health, of course, will be a concern for the rest of the regular season for a team that appears poised to make a run at the top seed in the AFC for the playoffs.
• Five Things We Learned From Head Coach Andy Reid on Monday (Chiefs.com)
The plays Patrick [Mahomes] was making outside the pocket and the way he moves his body and can throw from different angles, is that something you guys can coach or develop or how do you coach that?
REID: “[Quarterbacks’ Coach] Mike [Kafka] works with him a lot on that type of thing, but not everyone is as flexible as he is or can do the things he can do with the ball. He definitely works with him on it. Very seldom do you just get back in the National Football League, be able to take a drop like you would in practice with nobody [around you] and then just be able to throw. It just doesn’t happen like that normally. So, you have to be able to throw from different angles with your weight distributed in different places. Off-balance throws become huge. On the move throws become huge.
• Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is subject of this fun campaign commercial (Kansas City Star)
As the announcer notes: “Patrick Mahomes is a fresh face who’s shown he can connect with both the right and the left.”
The commercial then cuts to Mahomes completing that left-handed pass against the Broncos.
The last message in the commercial: “It’s time to put a real Chief in charge.”