Every year, the NFL blogs of SB Nation share intel on their teams with the other blogs heading into the season for our 2020 NFL season preview. This year is no different in that regard, but the circumstances around the season are different.
Editor’s note: The responses are unedited and were sent in early July before the Mahomes extension and Damien Williams’s decision to opt out of the 2020 season.
Notable free-agency additions: DL Taco Charlton, CB Antonio Hamilton, OL Mike Remmers, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, QB Jordan Ta’Amu, RB DeAndre Washington
Unlike last offseason when they brought in Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs really did not make any flash free agency signings this offseason, instead choosing to ink a few potential role players while coming to long-term deals with their own in Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones.
Notable opt outs: OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RB Damien Williams
Over/under 10 wins? Over. The Chiefs won 12 regular-season games and three postseason games in 2019 and are returning 19 of 22 starters from the Super Bowl. In a season in which training camp looks extremely different, this feels like it could be a significant advantage for Kansas City.
Rookie I’m most excited about: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Based upon the last two decades of pro football (also known as Andy Reid’s head coaching career), Edwards-Helaire found himself in the best possible place to take advantage of his skill set. Just as Patrick Mahomes is the perfect quarterback for what Andy Reid likes to do, Edwards-Helaire may just be the perfect running back. Reid asks all of his skill position players to learn every single position for every play. It does not matter if that player is a running back, tight end or wide receiver. To me, that plays right into what Edwards-Helaire has proven to be so good at, especially in his final year at LSU. The No. 32 overall pick might be as good a wide receiver as he is a running back, and I’m eager to see how Reid utilizes him.
Best position battle heading into training camp: Left guard. Your team is in good shape when the only true battle for a starting position is along the offensive line. Fourth-year offensive lineman Andrew Wylie started 17 straight games for the Chiefs before an injury kept him out of the lineup. Martinas Rankin filled in before he landed on injured reserve. Wylie returned to the left guard position Week 11, but an injury Week 15 opened the door for Stefen Wisniewski to start the final two games and all three games in the playoffs despite Wylie’s health improving. With Wisniewski off to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the job is once again wide open, between Wylie, Rankin, veteran signee Mike Remmers and rookie Lucas Niang, among others.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Can the Chiefs repeat? With the Chris Jones and Patrick Mahomes contracts taken care of, any potential ill will headed into camp has been eradicated. (Note: Mahomes did sign a contract extension after this was written.) And with so many returners from the Super Bowl team, the Chiefs have already coined the phrase, “Run It Back,” as a rallying cry. Running it back is way easier said than done, however. Mahomes will be tasked with making sure his team avoids complacency.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Will Clyde Edwards-Helaire be the Week 1 starter at running back? As promising as Edwards-Helaire looks, Damien Williams is coming off back-to-back incredible playoff runs. Williams has quietly tallied 10 total touchdowns during the Chiefs last five playoffs games, including two in the Super Bowl. Can Williams build off of that effort and show enough in training camp to stave off the rookie?
Notable injuries heading into training camp: Everyone is eager for the return of second-year safety Juan Thornhill, who tore his ACL in the Chiefs’ regular-season finale. The offense gets much-deserved attention, but some believe that a healthy Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu combine for one of the best safety tandems in the league.
The Buffalo Bills face the Chiefs in Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season. Thanks again to Arrowhead Pride for their expertise!