Preseason games might not count at the end of the year, but the Kansas City Chiefs defense is set to use every preparatory snap as an opportunity to improve.
After a 2021 season where the unit proved to be a liability down the stretch, the team loaded up their side of the ball in hopes that a defensive renaissance might deliver them another Lombardi trophy. Safety Justin Reid was Kansas City’s biggest free agent signing in the spring and looks to play a key role in their 2022 campaign.
Reid spoke to reporters on Friday about the defense’s mentality, noting the drive they have to prove their doubters wrong.
“Guys are hungry,” Reid said. “One of the best things about this defense is the intelligence, that the IQ level across the board is very high. Guys are bought in and that’s given us the opportunity to be very multiple and obviously, in the preseason, they’re not going to be exposing our whole deck of cards. The guys are excited to play, and I’m excited to be able to line up against somebody wearing a different color jersey than I am for once.”
On the advantage of playing in an exhibition matchup, he went on to say that the simplicity of both teams’ approach to the game should provide a solid testbed for their roster construction.
“It’s barebones football,” Reid explained. “We know what you’re going to do, you know what we’re going to do. Let’s line up and do it and test the wills. Let’s see what your true skillset is before we can gameplan and make it hard. That’s what it’s about. It’s about giving guys opportunities to show what they’ve got and some guys earning roster spots.”
More than anyone else, the opportunities Reid mentioned will be most important for the Chiefs’ rookies. As players trying to get their foot in the door to long NFL careers, the seasoned safety made it clear that they’ll all need to play all out and show the coaching staff everything they’ve got in their first real action.
“Go, go, don’t be afraid to go,” Reid said of his message to the rookies. “Go, go. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. The game plan will be simple. Their game plan will be simple, ours will be simple. You’re going to know what to do, show what you’ve got, go out and make a play.”
These games might not count toward playoff positioning, but they could prove to be some of the most important snaps of the season as Kansas City looks to make another run at a championship. Time will tell if the Chiefs have the ability to win it all this year, but to hear Reid tell it, the journey begins on Saturday in Chicago.