The AFC West has turned into a juggernaut during the offseason. Each team has one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and they all made big moves to win the division this season.
For the Chiefs, it’s less about the moves they made this offseason and more about their star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The 33rd Team contributor Charles Davis explains why Mahomes is the key to the Chiefs’ success this season.
“He’s phenomenal, but a few of the guys we’ve gotten used to him throwing to aren’t there anymore,” Davis said. “There have been changes in that division. Let’s face it. The AFC West fortified themselves to chase down number 15 and Kansas City.”
Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end and The 33rd Team Contributor Chris Long knows the Eagles’ fanbase better than most.
He wants to remind Eagles fans though that Jason Peters signing with the Dallas Cowboys isn’t as big a deal as they can make it out to be. Several factors play into this line of thinking for Long and, not to mention, this isn’t the first time fans have seen this.
“This is me taking my former Eagles player hat off,” Long said. “I don’t think it’s a big deal. The guy is 40 years old. He wants to go get a check in Dallas. He might wanna continue to play football. If I’m an Eagles fan, I’m probably just going to appreciate the time I had with Jason Peters.”
Are tight ends underpaid? Tight ends continue to evolve in the roles they play with NFL teams, but their compensation doesn’t always show it. The 33rd Team contributors Eddie George, Samari Rolle, Robert Smith and Michael Vick give their thoughts on whether tight ends are underpaid during this roundtable discussion. They touch on elite tight ends like Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews and George Kittle.
“If you’ve got those guys that can be versatile pieces—man those guys are valuable,” Smith said.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only team to select a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 draft when they selected Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick. In this video, The 33rd Team’s Matt Cassel explains why he believes it will only be a matter of time before the rookie takes the job away from Mitch Trubisky, who was named the starting quarterback by Tomlin for Week 1 on Tuesday.
“I don’t think [Mike] Tomlin will hesitate to go to Kenny Pickett just based on what we saw in the preseason, and his ability to make plays,” Cassel said.
The 33rd Team’s Ronde Barber, Chuck Pagano and Mike Martz discuss the effects tight ends can have on offenses and defenses. Players like Rob Gronkowski and Tony Gonzalez, thanks to their size and ball skills, can be difficult to answer for on the defensive side of the ball. On the flip side, those players allow offenses to threaten defenses in ways they couldn’t otherwise.
As the season quickly approaches, so does the drama. Eddie George, Robert Smith, Samari Rolle, and Michael Vick discuss the storylines they’ll be following in 2022, including the possibility of four teams making the playoffs out of the AFC West.
Traded in the offseason from Cleveland to Carolina, quarterback Baker Mayfield faces the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
Michael Vick, Samari Rolle, Robert Smith and Eddie George share stories from their playing days of facing their old teams.
“Coming to the stadium on the visiting side was just different,” Rolle said. “Tennessee was all I knew. … I remember the crowd booing me, so it wasn’t one of those things where I felt like. ‘Man, we gotta get them.’ But you obviously want to play well.”
Having played 20 seasons in the NFL, The 33rd Team’s Brett Favre has seen it all when it comes to pranks. During his time in Green Bay, he pulled off a rather unique prank on current reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. Thanks to the help of the team’s equipment manager and the autographs of several teammates, Favre pulled one over on Rodgers using Rodgers’ own helmet. To Favre’s point, things could have been much worse. But that didn’t make it any less funny.
In this video, The 33rd Team’s Chris Long reveals how valuable he thinks Jimmy Garoppolo is to the San Francisco 49ers this season.
“If he wins you a game, and that gets you into the playoffs, I’d say Jimmy G. is worth more than $6 million,” Long said.
Long talks about the 49ers’ championship window, and how having a backup quarterback of Garoppolo’s caliber is a valuable asset. He reminisces on winning a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, and calls himself a “big backup-quarterback guy.”
Rule changes come with growing pains for all parties involved. Officials have to understand and adjudicate them, and coaches and players have to learn and adjust to them. Former NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino sits down with coaches Chuck Pagano and Dirk Koetter to talk about rule changes and how to prepare players for dealing with them.
“Just like you’re scouting the officials—the officials are scouting the team,” Blandino said.