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Will Levis could be Josh Allen — and I could be Mark Twain

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University of Kentucky QB Will Levis

Will Levis, first round QB?
Image: Getty Images

If it was up to me, Will Levis putting mayonnaise in his coffee wouldn’t only discount him from being a first-round pick, but it’d also land him in prison. People who are obsessed with condiments need serious reform in their lives. Scars from working at Subway in high school aside though, I think Levis has bust written all over him.

Despite Kentucky and its quarterback underperforming this season, mock drafts still have him in the top three to 10 picks, and some unsuspecting NFL fanbase is in for a surprise worse than a mug full of mayo.

The Cats were a surprise a year ago, going 10-3 against a pretty forgiving schedule. I’d argue that beating LSU and Florida during a season in which both universities fired their head coach is less impressive than pretty much any other year.

Regardless, the carryover from that season, a strong arm, and early-season cupcakes led Mel Kiper to put the UK signal-caller above Bryce Young as the second-best QB in the 2023 draft. Well, if you remove the games against Youngstown State, Northern Illinois, and Miami of Ohio, Levis hasn’t thrown for more than 230 yards in a game this year. Including last season, he’s broken the 300-yard mark just one time against a Power 5 school, and Tennessee’s defense in 2021 was more FCS than FBS.

Let’s play a game. Quarterback A has 2,761 yards passing, a 66.6 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Quarterback B has 2,406 yards, a 65.4 completion rate, and 19 TDs to 10 interceptions. Now, guess which one is Levis and which one is South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler.

Levis is QB B and Rattler, who is projected to be an undrafted free agent, is QB A.

Rattler was a Heisman candidate at Oklahoma before last season, has plenty of arm talent/pedigree, and nobody is talking themselves into putting him into the first round. Granted the Heisman hype for Rattler was misguided, but it’s no worse than some NFL GM reaching on Levis.

The difference between the two is Levis isn’t a dick, and has a knack for winning over teammates, media, and anybody else in an interview setting or the gym. Todd McShay said a scout told him that he couldn’t find a single person on campus who doesn’t heap praise on Levis. If being likable translated to an all-pro on the field, Baker Mayfield would still be in Cleveland (and Deshaun Watson would be unemployed).

I’ve seen Levis compared to Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen, and that’s flat out irresponsible. Allen at least had a season worth drooling over at Wyoming to go along with all the physical attributes. He accounted for 3,700-plus total yards with 35 combined scores as a junior. If you squint hard enough, Levis’ 3,330-yard, 33-touchdown campaign as a junior compares.

Allen had injuries to excuse his less-than-stellar senior season. Yet, what the hell happened in Lexington? The Cat QB has -107 yards on the ground this year, which is a huge drop-off of 483 yards from 2021.

Yes, the SEC is a bear, and Kentucky is outfitted for pheasant. Those defenses are borderline pro units, which makes me even more nervous about Levis as he looks lost at times. But he had 11 completions for 109 yards, no TDs, and a pick in a loss against Vanderbilt less than a month ago.

With proper coaching and development, maybe he turns into Allen. Though that could be said for a plethora of quarterbacks with first-round talent who worked their asses off and still sucked. Levis is more Daniel Jones or Mitch Trubisky than Allen or Stafford. Front offices do this every year with a workout wonder. They selectively analyze tape, weep at his pro days, and gasp over a great interview as if the prospect hasn’t been groomed by a handler for years. They’re looking for any signs that he’s the prince who was promised when all they had to do was follow his career as Kentucky to know he ain’t it.

If you’re like me, Levis adding a little Hellmann’s to his hazelnut blend was more than enough to sour you on this sociopath. However, if you needed a more comprehensive, detailed argument, there you have it.





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Pep Guardiola jokes he’s ‘sorry’ that he stopped Mikel Arteta from becoming Manchester City manager

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Arsenal will face City at the Etihad Stadium tonight, with Guardiola’s former assistant back on his old North West stomping ground in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Gunners head north leading rivals City by five points with a game in hand atop the Premier League, but acutely aware of the challenging taking on the frustrated Guardiola and company.

Arteta left Guardiola’s City setup in December 2019 to take the Arsenal helm, transforming the Gunners in remarkable fashion since.

“I am pretty sure if I would have left here before, he would be here [at City] and he would be the best, absolutely,” said Guardiola, of Arteta.

“But I extended my contract, I am sorry, and he didn’t wait, so it could not happen. But definitely it could have.”

Arteta joined Manchester City’s coaching ranks on retiring as a player in 2016, learning his craft under master tactician and serial winner Guardiola.

City’s former Barcelona boss revealed how Arteta would never celebrate goals against the Gunners, the team he represented more than 100 times between 2011 and 2016.

“He loves the club; I remember when we were together here and we scored goals, he jumped a lot and celebrated – except with one team,” said Guardiola.

“One team, every time we score a goal, I jump, look back and he was sitting there. It was Arsenal.”



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R Madrid 3 – 1 A Madrid

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Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior scored in extra-time as Real Madrid fought back to beat local rivals Atletico 3-1 on Thursday and reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

On a freezing night at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu hosting its first game for 77 days due to the World Cup break, Real started slowly and Atletico had many dangerous counter-attacks.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata, right, celebrates with teammate Antoine Griezmann after scoring the opening goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Atletico Madrid took the lead against their rivals

Atletico captain Koke delivered a brilliant through ball to Nahuel Molina who ghosting in behind Reals defence and the full back set up Alvaro Morata, a former Real academy player, to tap the ball into an empty net in the 19th minute.

Eder Militao wasted a golden chance to equalise in the 32nd minute after Toni Kroos had delivered a perfect cross.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring
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Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring the opener

It was not only until Dani Ceballos came off the bench to replace the injured Ferland Mendy late in the first half that Real started to play better.

The 26-year-old midfielder injected a new dynamic into the team who were far more aggressive after the break.

Benzema wasted two good opportunities and Federico Valverde also sent a shot wide from just outside the box.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates
Image:
Real Madrid’s Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates

Substitute Rodrygo equalised in the 79th with a delightful goal, dribbling past three defenders before finishing well.

With Real Madrid in full control, Atletico played most of extra time with 10 men after defender Stefan Savic was shown his second yellow card for chopping down Eduardo Camavinga in the 99th minute.

Five minutes later, Real substitute Marco Asensio sent a low cross into the box and Vinicius’s deflected shot reached Benzema who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the net.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Karim Benzema’s goal made it 2-1 in extra time

Vinicius secured Real’s win in the dying seconds with a brilliant individual goal, running half the length of the pitch before scoring with a low shot.

“We got behind very early and after Mendy’s injury the whole team had to be rebuilt. But we woke up and played really well after the break,” Ceballos told TVE.

“They played better in the first half, but the coach corrected things in the second; we took control of the ball and found the goal. Then, after the red card, everything was easier.”

Real Madrid joined Barcelona, Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals.



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Everything we know about Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle

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Patrick Mahomes examines his ankle last Sunday against the Jaguars.

Patrick Mahomes examines his ankle last Sunday against the Jaguars.
Image: Getty Images

It’s conference championship week. With only four teams on the NFL schedule this week — the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals — one interesting storyline can dominate the entire conversation leading up to the games. This time, it’s QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle.

The fact that this storyline is the dominant one heading into the weekend makes sense. He’s the best player in the league, and his team is hosting the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals who are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Also, the game is taking place one week after he suffered a high-ankle sprain and was still able to hobble the Chiefs to victory — aided of course by a timely 98-yard touchdown drive that was led by backup quarterback Chad Henne.

How mobile does Mahomes look right now?

Since his right ankle got rolled against the Jacksonville Jaguars, no leg in America has had as much attention on it as his. Not even Brent Maher’s as he overcame his kicking yips during the Dallas Cowboys’ loss on Sunday to the Eagles. Mahomes’ ankle has so much attention on it that Fox 4 KC’s Harold R. Kuntz has been filming him walking down from the press conference podium the last two days. And by filming Mahomes, I mean only his legs.

Thursday update: Mahomes didn’t even need to use the stairs.

Knox’s assessment: Don’t be a hero… until Sunday.

Kuntz isn’t the only reporter on the scene sharing video footage of Mahomes’ mobility. During the portion of practice that was open to the media, many videos were sent out of Mahomes moving around. As the Chiefs were warming up, Mahomes actually jogged and spun as he headed toward his next station. He is certainly running better than he was on Sunday.

In their comments to the media, Andy Reid said that Mahomes “did a nice job and was “comfortable with what we did.” Mahomes said that he believed his Wednesday practice went, “better than I expected.”

For Chiefs fans — and those of us who want to see a well-played AFC Championship Game — this news out of Kansas City is the best we could’ve received. On the Chiefs’ most active days of practice, Mahomes was seen moving very well. Also, he and the head coach both gave positive updates about the health of the most important leg in sports this weekend.

Will the ankle affect Mahomes’ play on Sunday?

There is no possible way that Mahomes will be 100 percent against the Bengals. They are going to test that ankle by trying to apply the same type of pressure that disrupted the Buffalo Bills during the Bengals’ Divisional Round win on Sunday. However, if he can move around all game as well as he has been in practice, he will be able to play well enough for the Chiefs to have a chance at victory.

We’ve received the closeup and overhead views of Mahomes’ health. All that is left is the view at Arrowhead Stadium from the CBS cameras at 6:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 29, 2023.





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