Since beginning linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson had been unavailable — Hitchens was on the reserve/COVID record and Wilson was injured — the Chiefs knew they must rely extra on Ben Niemann to name the defensive performs and get everybody lined up correctly.
However then within the second quarter, Niemann left the sport with an harm.
“It was just a little hectic there,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo acknowledged to reporters on Thursday, “however I’ll inform you what: Matt Home and Britt Reid do a superb job of getting these guys ready. We knew that might occur.”
Spagnuolo was referring to a few rookie linebackers: second-round draft choose Willie Homosexual Jr. and undrafted gamers Omari Cobb and Darius Harris. The defensive coordinator mentioned that Harris — technically nonetheless a rookie as a result of he spent all of final season on injured reserve — had spent that yr correctly, which helped him to don the helmet with the inexperienced dot and leap into a job for which he hadn’t practiced.
“He practiced all week lengthy on the SAM linebacker as a result of we anticipated Ben being the MIKE,” mentioned Spagnuolo, “after which all the sudden, he needed to change. However he’s put quite a lot of time into issues. Final yr — when he was on injured reserve — he spent quite a lot of time studying. I assumed he carried out fairly properly. From a test standpoint, he did a fairly good job with that; that’s what the MIKE linebacker must do.”
Spagnuolo additionally praised Homosexual, who had the next proportion of snaps on Sunday than he’s had in any recreation this season.
“What Willie does is he performs quick,” Spagnuolo famous. “He performs quick and he’s bodily — and that’s what you need in your linebackers. [But] there’s nonetheless a studying curve right here — I believe that’s true of anyone that performs that individual place in yr one. And once more, I’m going again to not having the offseason and whatnot, however we’re getting him caught up. He’s actually going to see quite a lot of soccer now — and that’s a superb factor for him.”
Since Hitchens stays on the reserve/COVID record — and even when they’re able to play, the Chiefs can be prone to relaxation each Wilson and Niemann towards the Chargers — each Harris and Homosexual are anticipated to see loads of enjoying time on Sunday. Since they participated in one of many protection’s higher performances of the season towards the Falcons, Spagnuolo must be completely happy to place them on the sphere towards a Los Angeles staff that just about knocked the Chiefs down in Week 2.