We are a couple of days removed from Kansas City’s last game. Let’s go ahead and look at some players who are noticeably trending upwards and some that are trending downwards. We are looking mostly at the results from the Chiefs-Patriots game. However, we are also factoring in pre-season expectations as well.
Breeland Speaks – DE
What fans may remember most from this game is when Breeland Speaks did not finish a sack opportunity against Tom Brady. Brady would run it in for a touchdown on that play. Afterwards, Speaks said he was worried about getting flagged for roughing the passer.
Despite that gaffe, Speaks had his best game in a Chiefs uniform yet. He got an opportunity to start for the first time in his career, with Justin Houston out for the game with an injury. Speaks played relentlessly and was displaying some of his best pass rush moves since coming into the league. The Chiefs want to see greater consistency in that department, but it’s getting better. Speaks was able to finish with six total tackles, one sack and a forced fumble on a play where the Chiefs got the ball back while they were down by eight points.
Jordan Lucas – DB
Jordan Lucas was another guy who was making his first start as a Chief. He showed some flashes late in the Jacksonville game, and that success carried over to the New England contest.
Against the Patriots offensive attack, Lucas displayed arguably the most consistent coverage. He was rarely beat by New England’s skill players. It is one thing to have that type of success against the Jaguars, it is another entirely to maintain that against the Patriots offense. What is even more impressive, is how well Lucas reads run plays from his position. Not all of his tackles were instant, but it was a good thing for the Chiefs that he was able to make plays throughout the majority of the game. His night would have been even better if he came down with an interception. Lucas had a chance on a Brady pass that he played perfectly, but could not snag the INT. Nonetheless, it was a very encouraging outing for the safety who looks to continue to get more snaps for Kansas City.
Jordan Devey – OL
It was difficult for the Chiefs to lose starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to a fractured leg, but Jordan Devey is not that bad of a downgrade among this underrated offensive line. Devey is getting an increased opportunity with Duvernay-Tardif out, but we may also get to see his ability to be a force for the Chiefs in many ways. Now that center Mitch Morse has suffered a concussion, Devey may be able to showcase his talents in different roles. Not that injuries are what the Chiefs needed, but Devey is a strong swingman depth piece for Kansas City.
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Anthony Hitchens – LB
Dare I say, Anthony Hitchens has been the biggest disappointment so far this season on the defense. Hitchens was one of the two biggest acquisition the Chiefs made to the defense this offseason. The other is receiving Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade. The Chiefs wanted to get younger, and more importantly faster, at the linebacker position. They locked up Hitchens on a 5 year/$45 million deal back in free agency, and it looks to be like an overpayment so far.
One thing that was encouraging about Hitchens tape from his time in Dallas, was the speed and his ability to plug the hole and shred through blocks. With the Cowboys, he tackled as well as any inside linebacker. So far this season, and especially against the Patriots, that kind of play has been absent. Hitchens seems too hesitant. His balance is off and that effects his ability to bring down runners right away. The run defense was supposed to improve with Hitchens at the forefront, but Sony Michel added his name on a list of runners that have torched the Chiefs up the middle so far this season.
Ron Parker – DB
Unlike the aforementioned Jordan Lucas, Ron Parker has been struggling with his reads in most games this season. This was evident against the Patriots, like in other games this season. For example, on a pass where Brady threw to the right boundary in the direction of Julian Edelman, Parker was lucky that Orlando Scandrick had tight coverage and did not get beat. Parker was flat footed watching the quarterback’s eyes. That was something he did late against Denver on a throw that was incomplete. That could have been the game-winner for the Broncos.
The encouraging thing when the Chiefs brought Parker back following the preseason cuts, was that he knew the playbook and had a good history in pass coverage for the Chiefs. However, he hasn’t been consistent enough in both coverage and tackling. With Eric Berry out, Parker was expected to hold down the back end of the defense. So far, he has not.
Mitch Morse – OL
Morse is a grinder and he is listed on Three Down mostly because of his history of injuries, not for his performance. He suffered a concussion against the Patriots and this is the third significant one that he has suffered in the last couple of seasons. Morse played 31 games in his first two seasons. However, he already missed 10 games last season and who knows how many he will miss due to this concussion. The Chiefs have depth on the offensive line, but Morse can ill-afford to suffer too many more injuries in the future if the Kansas City wants to rely on him.
Thank you for reading. Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this article. You can follow along at Full Press Coverage during the ups and downs of this season.