Hello all and welcome to the first edition of Beyond The Kingdom. For those who don’t know me or haven’t read my work, I’ve been covering the Kansas City Chiefs for about six years and for many different publications. I now serve as the Content Director here at Arrowhead Live.
Beyond The Kingdom is a column where we will focus on the big topics surrounding the NFL and it’s teams, as well as interviews with other journalists around the league. The objective here is to help Chiefs Kingdom get a view into some of their opponents, as well as discovering more about how Kansas City’s rivals see the Chiefs.
I am overly excited to start this journey with you all. With our first installment, I’ve collaborated with LA Football Network’s Ryan Dyrud to catch up with the Chargers, their off-season, and more!
So, without further ado, here we go.
Keaton Henry: I’d like to start things off with a little bit of info about yourself and how you came to cover the Chargers.
Ryan Dyrud: I am the founder and ceo of LAFB Network. I grew up a Broncos fan, but living in LA for over a decade now I have to come to realize that the LA Football teams are really under-reported on. So I saw an opportunity to give LA Football fans great coverage of the teams they love! I have been covering the Chargers for 2 years now and am excited to see how the 2020 squad performs.
KH: With the pandemic going on, most of the info regarding this season is a bit fluid. But, if you were to guess, how do you imagine this season going for LA?
RD: I absolutely love what the Chargers did in the offseason. They had a great free agency and a solid draft haul. Really, their only question mark is at LT (QB is also a topic for discussion). All other positions are filled by really solid players. I see them as a playoff contender with a chance to win the division. Obviously, the Chiefs are still the favorite, but I think the Chargers will have a bounce back year and surprise some people.
KH: With the passing of the torch from Philip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor/Justin Herbert, how do you envision the offense operating with a change of style at quarterback? Also, how do you think the quarterback situation will resolve itself?
RD: The offense will now be the style that HC Anthony Lynn wanted. Picture something similar to what Buffalo runs. A mobile QB that can open the playbook up more. They will want to utilize the running game and short to intermediate routes. Proficiency over explosiveness is what I expect. I think the coaching staff would prefer Taylor to play the entire season but I wouldn’t be shocked if Herbert takes over midway.
KH: Are their any particular offensive and/or defensive players who are flying under the radar this off-season?
RD: I don’t know about under the radar but Hunter Henry should have a really solid year if he can stay healthy. Also, Desmond King should have a bounce back year and will go back to playing more of a rover role like he did in 2018.
KH: The Chargers defense has been stout for several seasons now, but the loss of Derwin James was certainly a big loss last season. How do you see his return translating to this season’s performance?
RD: It’s everything. James is the heart and soul of the secondary and makes Gus Bradley’s scheme tick. His vision and tackling take the pressure off of the rest of the unit. Plus, 2nd round pick Nasir Adderley missed almost all of last season so his return will be highly anticipated as well.
KH: LA will be debuting their new SoFi Stadium this season, but there have been questions raised about the ability for the Chargers to sell tickets and fill seats. Do you foresee this being an issue?
RD: I really don’t. I think that issue is overblown personally. Tickets at Dignity Health were so expensive, so most Chargers fans just sold their’s. I don’t think this will be an issue at SoFi. Plus the Chargers have done everything right this offseason and created some real buzz among the fan base.
KH: Where does the Keenan Allen, Mike Williams duo land for you amongst the top wide receiver pairings in the league?
RD: Top 10. Keenan Allen is a top 5-7 receiver and if Mike Williams can get more consistent that can catapult this pairing even higher. They compliment each other too. Allen is the position guy and Williams is the deep threat.
KH: Many of our readers are fantasy football fans, so from that perspective, who would you invest in this season?
RD: Austin Ekeler would be the guy I would give the highest priority too. So involved in the passing game and will be the featured back this year.
KH: Patrick Mahomes just signed his 10-year extension with Kansas City. Is there some concern surrounding the prospects of contending in the AFC West with Mahomes locked in for the next decade-plus?
RD: Sure there is concern. That’s just how good Mahomes is. But with his giant salary does carry the prospect of KC being unable to retain other big name guys. If Justin Herbert is the real deal, the Chargers could have a really solid 5 year window to build some great teams around him.
KH: Lastly, there’s been a lot of conversation around the league about Colin Kaepernick and his social stance, as well as his unemployment. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn made a comment about working Kaepernick out this off-season. Do you envision the team giving him a true workout and how likely do you think it is that he joins the team?
RD: I could certainly see him getting a workout, but with 3 QBs already on the roster I thinks it’s unlikely he gets signed. That being said, if he has a great workout, he does fit Lynn’s system real well, but I think they like the 3 guys they currently have.
Thank you for visiting ArrowheadLive.com and giving Beyond The Kingdom a read! Check back next week for more stories and interviews. You can find me on Twitter @ArrowRant!