Meet the mystery man of the 2021 NFL Draft

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So ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky, a former quarterback and good young analyst, went on “The Pat McAfee Show” and threw out some red flags on Fields. Major ones. Because he’s a respected voice, Orlovsky’s words got huge. “I have heard that he is a last-guy-in, first-guy-out type of quarterback,” Orlovsky told McAfee. “Like, not the maniacal work ethic . . . Where is his desire to be a great quarterback?”

Orlovsky told me Saturday that people from a couple of teams did question Fields’ work ethic, but he regrets not having more “clarity and specificity” in his comments. In other words, he should have said something like, This is not what I know first-hand, but in talking to people I know in the league, two teams questioned Justin Fields’ work ethic, and that could be a concern. It’s important that Orlovsky be free to pass along information he finds credible, but it’s equally important to put that information in context.

Also: The problem with questioning Fields’ desire is everyone saw Fields take a kill-shot to his ribs in the second quarter of this season’s Clemson playoff game and he responded by having the game of his life. To me, Orlovsky—as a guy who played the position—needs to clap back when someone questions the desire of Fields after watching that Clemson game. Fields took an all-time shot from a Clemson linebacker midway through the second quarter, looked to be in agony, missed a play, returned to throw four TD passes in the next 22 minutes, and outplayed Trevor Lawrence. How do you do that if you’re low on desire? Give me 10 of those guys on my team.

Orlovsky has talked to both Fields and Day in the wake of his comments. “Justin didn’t have to take my phone call,” Orlovsky said. “He could have said, Screw that guy. I told him exactly what happened, said I wasn’t good enough in that moment, and that’s on me. He was like, I get it. It’s okay. I watch, and I know you’re someone who’s had my back. I appreciate you calling me. I felt like he was really mature, and I appreciated him hearing me out.”

What I know: In conversations with people from two teams that are studying the quarterbacks atop this draft, I didn’t hear any negatives on Fields’ work ethic or drive. One of these teams could well be in position to take one of the top quarterbacks, and this team has dug deep into the top passers. One of our problems in this business, particularly before the draft, is many of us don’t cover the college game. (And I will put myself at the head of the line, because I am not a big college football watcher during the fall.) Many years, my first contact with the draft prospects is at the combine—I’m never around them as college players. So it’s tricky for me to be authoritative on prospects. I ask those I’ve trusted in my years covering the NFL. In the case of Fields, those I trust say he’s got zero work ethic issues.

Fields is Black. What made the criticism more noticeable is the infamous narrative that Black quarterbacks are inferior to their white counterparts, or not as clever, or not as hard-working. With two recent Black-QB MVPs (Patrick MahomesLamar Jackson) and three others in the NFL’s top 10 (Russell WilsonDeshaun WatsonDak Prescott), we don’t often hear the tropes anymore. But Orlovsky’s comments opened some wounds there. I agree with what Dominique Foxworth—a former player and current ESPN analyst, who is Black—said here: “It does not mean it’s not a fair and true criticism of Justin Fields, but it’s important to be specific . . . I’m not saying that it’s not true, but it’s understandable that the racial biases that we have often leak into all parts of our lives, including football analysis.”

I would add this about prospects of any color: If some of the things an analyst hears from one or two coaches/scouts/GMs seem off-key based on what he’s seen (such as questioning Fields’ desire after his valorous performance against Clemson), then I’d say don’t use those criticisms until vetting it with two or three more people he knows well in the game.

Of course, Day is going to be pro-Fields and stick up for him. But Day made two other points I thought were interesting:

• On reads and game-plan prep. “He’s very, very intelligent. He reminds me a lot of [former Buckeye] Joe Burrow when it comes to that. Tell him something once, and he absorbs it,” Day said. Fields’ 56-yard TD pass to Chris Olave in the January playoff game came on his fourth read in the progression, and it was thrown 62 yards in the air, to Olave at the Clemson goal line. Over their time together, Day said Fields has become more comfortable telling him what he likes and doesn’t like in a game plan.

• On what he needs to improve: Day said there were a couple of times in 2020, most notably in a too-narrow win over Indiana, when Fields needed to show “better understanding when to create and then when to cut your losses.” Fields threw nine interceptions in his 22-game Ohio State career, and three came against the Hoosiers.

“In that Indiana game,” Day said, “I think he would tell you, he was trying to force it, and I think it’s . . . he never really said it to me but you know in a short season, he’s got pride too. We went up big in that game early and he wanted to go win the Heisman Trophy—that’d be my guess. It’s a lesson learned. It really bothered him for a while afterwards, but I told him that’s gonna happen as a quarterback. The question is, how do you respond? He responded well.”

That’s mindful of Josh Allen trying to do too much in his first two years in Buffalo, and settling in as a far less mistake-prone passer in 2020.

Orlovsky thinks Fields’ mechanics need to be streamlined so he can play a little faster in the NFL. After his impressive college run, Fields seems to be getting passed in the pre-draft run-up by Zach WilsonTrey Lance and Mac Jones. In an ideal world, Fields goes to a team with no pressure to play right away and a good teacher of the position: Atlanta (head coach Arthur Smith) at four, New England (offensive coordinator John McDaniels) at 15 or with a trade-up, or New Orleans (Sean Payton, though the Saints pick 28th). Before the draft, players want to be taken as high as possible. Then they find out it’s more about where you go, not how high you go. The golden spot for a young quarterback is Atlanta. Smith’s a good teacher, and Matt Ryan’s a perfect tutor for a season or two. But it’s no sure thing the Falcons—who could take a franchise tackle or perhaps the best overall player in the draft in Florida tight end Kyle Pitts—will even take the heir to Ryan. So Fields will be a man of mystery in the next 24 days, till the first round is picked.

A postscript on Orlovsky, a Kornacki-type, full of information and dying to get it out: I know him as an earnest, hard-working analyst, still young in his chosen profession. He made a mistake—not in criticizing a first-round choice, but in how he did it, and then in not pushing back on what seems like a foolish narrative about desire. He’s good at what he does, and I’d bet he takes the L here and gets better from it.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

How to watch Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

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It’s the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, October 2 in a rematch of Super Bowl LV where Tom Brady earned his seventh ring. Sunday’s matchup marks the sixth meeting between Patrick Mahomes and Brady with the 45-year-old veteran holding a 3-2 edge in the series.

RELATED: Tom Brady’s Super Bowl wins, rings, MVPs, losses: Every appearance, NFL stats, records

Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock with Football Night in America. See below for additional information on how to watch the game.

RELATED: If Chiefs-Buccaneers is moved, it will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: FMIA Week 3 – Broncos’ Coaching Experiment Pays Off, Dolphins Win ‘Beast’ Game, and What We Learned About the NFL in September

Be sure to start your NFL Sunday with Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Football Pregame show beginning at 11 AM ET on Peacock and the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Kansas City Chiefs

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) picked up their first loss of the season last Sunday after falling 20-17 to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kansas City struggled offensively in Week 3 as the team was held to just three points in the second half. The Chiefs are still working to fill the void in the passing game since trading star WR Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in the offseason but according to Mahomes, that doesn’t excuse Sunday’s loss.

RELATED: Patrick Mahomes –  I don’t expect growing pains, offense has to gel together

“I don’t expect any growing pains,” Mahomes told reporters at ESPN.com. “Obviously have new players and you don’t know everybody’s going to respond to tough situations. . . . We’ve got to gel all together. It starts with me. There were certain throws I was putting on guys’ back hips instead of in front of him. There were certain situations where we were just barely off of it.”

Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension, in July 2020–the richest contract in American sports history by total value–is in his fifth season as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback and hopes to lead Kansas City to its seventh straight AFC West title. The Chiefs are the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

RELATED: Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: All-time QB matchups, records, stats

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady and the Buccaneers (2-1) are also coming off their first loss of the season–a 14-12 defeat at home from Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last Sunday afternoon. With WRs Mike Evans (suspension) and Chris Godwin (hamstring)–Brady’s top two targets–and Julio Jones (knee) out in Week 3, Tampa Bay’s offense racked up a total of just 285 yards in the loss. Additionally, the team is still adapting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason. Despite some challenges on offense, Tampa Bay’s defense has remained consistent and currently leads the NFL in scoring defense (9.0 pts/gm) and also ranks in the top 5 in total defense.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023


How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
  • When: Sunday, October 2
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your NFL jersey and gear needs ahead of the 2022 season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

How to watch the NFL on Peacock: Full Sunday Night Football Schedule, live stream info for the 2022 season

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The 2022 NFL Season is in full gear. This week it’s Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a rematch of Super Bowl LV. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. with Football Night in America. Kickoff time is at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.

RELATED: If Chiefs-Buccaneers is moved, it will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium

Every Sunday Night Football game this season will be available on both NBC and Peacock. See below for the full 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule as well as additional information on how to watch every game on Peacock.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) – Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Chiefs at Buccaneers

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!