If Dee Ford hadn’t lined up offsides in the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs might have won the Super Bowl. Kansas City might not have traded Ford. It might not have fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. It might not have revamped its defense.
In the long run, the Chiefs might be better off.
They have a new defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo and new stars at every level of the defense. A defense that finished 31st in yards allowed last season now has swagger.
“Just really trying to build a defense with an attitude,” Tyrann Mathieu said, via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. “I think anytime you can have 10, 11 guys with a chip on their shoulder — an edge, a certain kind of presence, a certain kind of attitude, a kind of swagger — you create a collective identity. I think that’s what we’re trying to do. Definitely not trying to do something that’s outside of our characteristics. I think we wake up each and every day and we live that way — just with an attitude and a chip on our shoulder. Like I said, it can rub off on the guys around you.”
The Chiefs offense will continue to lead the team, but the defense has to play better for Kansas City to get where it hasn’t been since 1969 when it won its only Super Bowl.
“I think me, as a leader, as a guy that’s been cut, been humiliated, embarrassed, whatever you put on it, I think it’s important just to embrace the guys around you, really support them, encourage them and then kinda give them that confidence,” said Mathieu, who played in Houston last season. “Let them know that you believe in them, and hopefully they’ll get to believing in themselves.”
The Chiefs defense couldn’t stop Tom Brady when it needed to in the AFC title game last season. The Chiefs defenders expect to be better this season.