FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 9th, 2021

PETER KING SPEAKS WITH PATRICK MAHOMES, CONTINUES TRAINING CAMP TOUR WITH VISITS TO CHIEFS, CHARGERS, BRONCOS & SEAHAWKS IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN

 “For us to go out there and not be able to get in the end zone at all, it’s something that will kind of haunt me for the rest of my career.” – Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes to King on Super Bowl LV

 “Mahomes, Reid and Veach comprise the modern triumvirate atop a football team, a model for franchises to study.” – King on Mahomes’ relationship with the Chiefs

“His rise to be a head coach is one of the most amazing stories in the league right now…The Chargers hope Staley is the defensive Sean McVay.” – King on Chargers first-year head coach Brandon Staley

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 9, 2021 – Peter King continues his annual training camp tour with visits to the Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos and Seahawks in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King provides insights from each camp and speaks with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, head coach Andy Reid, and general manager Brett Veach, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, Broncos general manager George Paton, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to King on their loss in Super Bowl LV: “For us to go out there and not be able to get in the end zone at all, it’s something that will kind of haunt me for the rest of my career.”

King on the Chiefs reloading their offensive line this offseason: “One of the first people Mahomes saw post-game was GM Brett Veach…‘Trust me,’ Veach told him. ‘We’re gonna get this line right.’”

King on the Chiefs: “Veach and coach Andy Reid realize Mahomes, a 25-year-old gift to modern quarterbacking, is the meal ticket for the entire franchise. It’s not kowtowing to Mahomes to promise him the GM will fix a woeful line. It’s not kowtowing to Mahomes when Reid runs a play Mahomes suggests…It’s smart. And I think the Packers can learn from this, and the Eagles and Texans and Seahawks too.”

King: “It seems smart to say to your franchise player, ‘Tell me what you think. Let’s talk.’ … Mahomes, Reid and Veach comprise the modern triumvirate atop a football team, a model for franchises to study.”

Mahomes to King on Veach and Reid: “The big thing is, they really want to win and so do I…I think whenever you look around the league, every guy that’s kind of had some stuff happen this off season, they just want to win. They want to win Super Bowls. Having coach Reid and having Brett Veach, and knowing the commitment they have for this organization and to win, that’s what allowed me to sign the contract that I did. I knew that those guys were going to be around.”

Veach to King on Mahomes: “Smart players have an innate feel of their responsibility inside the team. He has that, and he’s been able to stay humble while becoming a global product. We would be doing a great disservice to the franchise long-term if we didn’t engage him on the important issues that affect our team. His play warrants it, his impact warrants it.”

Reid to King on game-planning with Mahomes: “I meet with Patrick Fridays and then with the quarterbacks again Saturday, and we rank the plays the way we like ‘em. I say, ‘If there’s something you don’t like, be honest with me, and we’ll just get rid of it.’ … Patrick’s good at suggesting things that have a good chance to work.”

King on the Chiefs: “It’s a good partnership. Reid and Veach will be joined at the hip through at least 2025, long enough to enter quarterback-middle-age with their partner, Mahomes. Anyone out there paying attention to how such a partnership should work the right way?”

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

King on Chargers head coach Brandon Staley: “His rise to be a head coach is one of the most amazing stories in the league right now. Five years ago today, he was preparing to coach the 2016 John Carroll Blue Streaks. But not as head coach – as defensive coordinator of the Division III school in the Cleveland ‘burbs. He was not a normal Division III assistant coach. He used his connections, for instance, to wrangle a week to learn inside New Orleans Saints camp in 2009.”

King on Staley’s path: “In 2017, he interviewed for a job coaching linebackers coach with the Bears under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and got the gig. He followed Fangio to Denver in 2019, won the defensive coordinator job with the Rams in 2020 (by force of personality and verve), and got the Chargers’ gig 24 hours after the Rams’ season ended last January.”

Staley to King: “My path doesn’t make a lot of sense to people. I was just hoping to make it to the NFL within five years. But this? No…Something I vividly remember from my interview here: I told them, ‘I don’t know it all, guys, But I promise there won’t be anyone who will figure it out and learn it faster.’ … I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all, savant, wizard-type.”

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco to King on hiring Staley: “The business has changed a lot. Gosh, he was coaching Division III five years ago, but we thought if you can connect with players, and you really know football, does it matter how old you are?”

King: “The Chargers hope Staley is the defensive Sean McVay. Both are young, extremely exuberant, bursting with ideas, and incredibly self-assured. Both took over Los Angeles football franchises with no head-coaching experience…Staley’s got a lot to prove, and a league-full of eyes will be on him.”

Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey on Staley: “He’s the best defensive coordinator I’ve had in the NFL for sure.”

King on the Chargers: “I think the 2021 Chargers are the most fascinating team in football, the only team with a prayer to seriously challenge Kansas City in the AFC West…The biggest question, I think, is Staley’s ability to hit the ground running with a playoff contender – and with such a thin NFL resume.”

Staley to King on being an NFL head coach: “There’s really high expectations, there’s high pressure on the outside. There’s a standard of performance that is real. That’s why I love it so much – because I think it really brings out the best in you. It requires a lot of you.”

Chargers safety Derwin James to King on Staley: “He’s a great leader too. My mom always taught me you can lead at any age. It blows me away that he was a college coordinator five years ago, but that shows me the kind of person and coach he is. It’s his time.”

DENVER BRONCOS

King on the Broncos’ quarterback situation: “With 2019 second-rounder Drew Lock and tarnished vet Teddy Bridgewater competing for the job in training camp, do not know if they’ve got the quarterback of the future on the roster today. The answer at this point in camp is resoundingly cloudy.”

King: “The NFL has some simple truths. The biggest: If you don’t have a quarterback, you won’t win. Jobs will be lost, fans will turn sour, hope will be fleeting. Denver’s gone from being a relatively sure playoff thing to being in the franchise’s worst dry spell in a half-century.”

King on the Broncos’ 2021 draft: “(Broncos general manager George) Paton gets knocked for not choosing Justin Fields or Mac Jones with his first first-round pick ever last April (he took Alabama cornerback Pat Surtain), and he’ll have to live with the results. But he wasn’t convinced Fields or Jones would be a franchise quarterback…So, he could have taken the plunge for a quarterback he liked but didn’t love, and chose to pick a surer thing at a lesser position – but an important position nonetheless.”

Paton to King: “This is not why we did it [draft Surtain] – but quarterbacks are available more than franchise corners every year, at least the last couple of years.”

Broncos QB Drew Lock to King on the upcoming season: “After watching some of the ball I played last year, I don’t blame people for being mad at some of the plays I had. So this is a big growth year for me and I’m excited I get to prove that I’m a better football player than I was [last year].”

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

King: “Since the devastating Super Bowl loss to New England seven years ago, the Seahawks are just 3-5 in the playoffs and haven’t reached another conference title game…Then came Russell Wilson’s infamous Dan Patrick interview, when he said he wanted to be more involved in team decision-making, starting an avalanche of speculation about Wilson’s future.”

King on Seahawks practice: “Wilson looked like he was coaching more on the field and taking charge. With new offensive coordinator and Sean McVay disciple Shane Waldron upping the football modernity on offense from dismissed OC Brian Schottenheimer, Wilson seems to feel more open to telling receivers, for instance, exactly where they should be on a given route.”

King on Wilson: “Two things I’ve heard about Wilson: He views this as a new beginning…And he spent a long session with Pete Carroll post-[Dan] Patrick trying to iron out their issues in the off-season. Both told me it was a great discussion. But we’ll see.”

Wilson to King: “Nine years ago, I met you here. I think everyone was questioning me. ‘Can he do it, can he do it?’ I think they still wonder. I don’t wonder. I didn’t wonder back then. I don’t wonder now. When you want to win it all every year and you don’t, you get frustrated.”

King: “Seattle’s got a few vets (safety Jamal Adams and left tackle Duane Brown most notably) who are under contract but who want new contracts. I hear the Seahawks have stretched themselves quite a bit for Adams, but he’s still not happy with the offer, and if you know Seattle’s negotiating stance, it’s not likely the offer’s going to change much now.”

NEWS & NOTES

King on Peyton Manning’s Hall of Fame induction speech: “Sounding almost presidential, Manning made a case to succeed Roger Goodell whenever Goodell steps down – which, as I’ve reported, shouldn’t be anytime soon. Five years, maybe. But Commissioner Manning’s got a good ring. (Not that he would take it. I doubt he would. But smart people could throw good money at him to try.).”

King on speeches: “I think holding Hall of Fame speeches to less than 10 minutes – something keeper-of-the-Hall-flame Joe Horrigan pushed for years – is the best thing that’s happened to induction night in years.”

King on players not practicing in training camp: “I think the ‘hold-in,’ players reporting to camp but not practicing while healthy will become more and more of a thing. Teams don’t want to antagonize important players with $50,000-a-day mandatory fines for holding out with valid contracts at a time when negotiations over new contracts are fragile.”

Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.

The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:

    • Returning next Monday, Aug. 16, PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, which also returns next week, streams Tuesday-Friday.
    • ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
    • NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.

 

A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.

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