Sans Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs offense won’t miss a beat this upcoming season, at least according to Kansas City’s newest defensive star.
Joining the Good Morning Football crew on Wednesday, Chiefs safety Justin Reid looked right into his designated camera and laid out exactly why Patrick Mahomes and Co. will continue their high-flying act in 2022 despite losing its featured aerialist over the offseason.
“The Chiefs offense is going to do what we always do. We’re going to come out, we’re going to put up 100 points,” Reid said. “We have the greatest football quarterback in the game. The top-three, in no particular order, although I’m sure you guys can guess who is my number one: Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers. And when you have a quarterback, and you have an offensive system, a coordinator that is able to just mix things up all the time — you’re always going to put up points.
“We’re going to combine that with great football across the board. Complimentary offense, defense, special teams, and we’re going to go out and win games. We’re in the toughest division in the NFL, that’s no secret. It’s gonna be fireworks every time anybody plays and you’re gonna want to watch that.”
Although K.C.’s last season ended one win short of reaching a third consecutive Super Bowl, the Chiefs offense continued to thrill along the way averaging 28.2 points and 396.8 yards per game. The unit wasn’t as dominant compared to year’s past with turnover issues and a lack of a consistent run game hamstringing its potency, but in their first year behind a reconstructed offensive line in 2021, the Chiefs maintained success offensively for the most part.
Hill’s exit seemingly came out of nowhere this offseason and the Chiefs instantly lost their most productive receiver since Mahomes took the league by storm in 2018. Hill had even come off his most productive season in 2021, hauling in 111 receptions for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns. After fulfilling Hill’s trade request this offseason, the Chiefs signed wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but adequately replacing a receiver like Hill is far fetched based on how unique a weapon the six-time Pro Bowler was in K.C.’s system.
Arguments can be had about Kansas City’s inconsistent defense leading to the team’s demise in 2021. With the unit parting ways with it’s captain this offseason, safety Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs looked to get younger at the position. As it turns out, Reid’s journey to Kansas City this offseason was influenced by a call from Mahomes.
“It was a combination of a couple of things. I actually got a call from Pat when I was going through my free agency,” explained Reid, who signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract in March. “He called me and was like, ‘Man, we would just love to have you. Everyone here has a good feeling about you.’ The fit felt right. There’s a winning atmosphere that’s there and, of course, the money made sense, too. So when you combine all those things together, it was just a very good fit.”
Respected Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will direct one of the younger defenses in the NFL in 2022, and Reid, 25, comes in as one of the more experienced veterans, especially in the secondary. A starter since his rookie season in 2018, the former Texans safety is aiming to play the integral role Mathieu had actualized for three Pro Bowl seasons in K.C.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Coach Spagnuolo’s defense is very electric,” Reid said. “There’s a lot of moving pieces. You can’t just be a one-trick pony in that defense. You gotta be able to play multiple positions. What’s been very fun and stimulating to me is being able to move around there, be a resource for my teammates, step into that role. A lot of guys throw around the term ‘being a leader.’ Being a leader isn’t just about going and saying the right things, it’s about doing the right things. It’s about being a force multiplier and, when you’re on the field, everyone picks up their game a little bit more. So, I’ve enjoyed stepping into that role and, at the end of the day, we just want to go out and win a bunch of football games.”
With two first-round picks in April, the Chiefs used both selections to add depth to their defense. Defensive back Trent McDuffie and pass rusher George Karlaftis are coming in with the “right mentality” according to Reid, who said the rookies came into minicamp with a “high motor” and embraced the culture of the Chiefs’ complex system.
While Kansas City lost its fastest player on the team and perhaps that of the NFL in Hill, the storyline of its young defense becoming one predicated on speed and aggression is falling by the wayside. Reid’s excitement couldn’t be tamed as he explained what his new squad brings to the table in 2022.
“Pressures are going to be coming from all angles,” Reid said. “Coverages twist left, they twist right. Sometimes backers are dropping deep then safeties are coming down low. And there’s a bunch of double calls in the defense, too, where a call will change based on the offense’s formation. When we switch from one formation to a different formation, it might automatically check into or out of a pressure to keep quarterbacks on their toes thinking they have a coverage split right, they’re going to make an audible, adjust the formation to get into the right check. That adjustment checks us into the right call and now we’re attacking it from a different angle.”
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