KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Vic Fangio became head coach of the Denver Broncos last January, the talent of the Chiefs' offense jumped out at him, especially the “athletic arrogance” of Patrick Mahomes.
But what exactly does “athletic arrogance” mean?
“Confidence, poise and the attitude that he can make any play,” Fangio said on Tuesday.
Fangio said he hasn't seen anything different in Mahomes as the quarterback continues dealing with an injured left ankle.
“I haven't seen his ankle really affect him that much during the play,” Fangio said. “I've seen him where he's favoring in between plays a little bit, but when the ball's snapped it doesn't seem to be on his mind at all.”
Broncos Wary of Hill's Return
Tyreek Hill returned after a four-game absence against the Houston Texans in Week 6, hauling in five catches in 10 targets for 80 yards and two scores while playing just 29 snaps.
Hill was estimated as a full participant in Monday's walk-through practice, and head coach Andy Reid said his star receiver felt “pretty good” following the game.
Hill's return in a limited role on Sunday underscores his value to the team's offense. The Chiefs lead the league with 6.99 yards per play. No NFL team has averaged more yards per play in a season since before 1950. Yet the Chiefs average a staggering 9.25 yards per play with Hill on the field in 2019.
That's why Hill's presence puts Fangio and his defnese on alert.
“When you put a playmaker like that on the field with his speed and his ability for the big play, obviously it has to grab your attention and you got to be able to make an adjustment or two,” Fangio said.
But the Chiefs offense operates its best when all its playmakers are healthy. That could include receiver Sammy Watkins who was listed as a limited participant with a hamstring injury.
“They've shown clearly they've got a lot of good receivers and a tight end and backs that are awfully capable also,” Fangio said. “You go too much one way, they've got plenty of others than can hurt you.”
Gehrig Dieter back on practice squad
A familiar face appeared in the Kansas City locker room on Tuesday with wide receiver Gehrig Dieter returning to the club's practice squad. Dieter sustained a bulging disc during training camp that sideline him for two months, but now that he's healthy the club re-signed him.
“It really just came out of nowhere,” Dieter said of the injury. “It was bad timing. I thought I had a really good summer and had a lot of momentum going into camp and then that happened.”
Dieter said the last few months were tough being away from the football and focusing on his rehab work.
“I've never experienced anything like that,” Dieter said. “It was a different challenge for me. I've been pretty healthy my whole career, so that was something I never had. It was surprising for sure.”
The Chiefs placed Dieter on injured reserve during final roster cuts following the preseason. A week later they reached an injury settlement with the player, allowing him to continue rehabbing on his own while potentially returning to the club when healthy. Dieter said a few clubs expressed interest, but he wanted to wait until fully healthy before retuning to the field.
Dieter started running routes a couple of weeks ago. Fellow practice squad quarterback Kyle Shurmur was among those throwing passes to him during his recovery work away from the club. But once he returned to full strength, the Chiefs welcomed him back.
“The wait time for me was to get back to a point where I could do everything I could without having any pain, and that's where I am now,” Dieter said.
Four Chiefs starters did not practice on Tuesday, increasing the likelihood they will not play when the Chiefs visit Denver Thursday night.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin), left tackle Eric Fisher (groin), left guard Andrew Wylie (ankle) and cornerback Kendall Fuller (thumb) did not practice in the club's walk-through practice. Players did not wear helmets or pads during the quick workout.
Due to the Thursday night game, both teams do not have to issue their game status report for players until Wednesday.