Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo shares thoughts on Titans’ offense

·3 min read

Itching to claw their way back above .500 and into the AFC playoff picture, the Kansas City Chiefs are up against a formidable opponent in Week 7, facing the Titan’s high-octane offense. While their defense has been a major liability this season, the unit managed to turn out a respectable performance for the Chiefs against Washington. They will need to build on that momentum in order to contain Tennessee, fresh off an upset win over the Bills in prime time.

Sporting some of the best starting skill position players in the NFL, the Titans will rely on contributions from Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, and A.J. Brown to keep up with Kansas City on the road. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo talked about the challenge of facing such a loaded offense amid serious struggles for his squad in previous weeks, citing Henry as an obvious concern.

“A lot of these guys have been in the league long enough. They get it. They understand that this is the guy that makes it go,” He said of his team’s experience stopping Henry. “This has got to be the main focus, population to the football. I can go through all the little things about teaching tackling, but I think our guys get it.

“We spent some time yesterday in individual where that’s all they did, and even then, I still don’t think you’re going to get the real feel for what it’s going to be like when you get the first hit. I know that power is speed times mass, so our little guys should run fast, and our big guys got to make sure they keep all that mass. He’s a challenge. No question. That’s the first thing we focused on day one.”

Restraining Henry’s ability to get downhill and break off huge runs will be a tall enough task for the defense, but Spagnuolo knows the threat Jones and Brown face on the boundaries as well. He emphasized in his comments that Tennessee’s roster construction is second to none, and told reporters the most dynamic element to this Titans team lies in their ability to use their receivers to free up Henry in the running game.

“They gave [Ryan] Tannehill some targets that he can go to,” Spagnuolo remarked on Tennessee’s offensive stockpiling in recent seasons. “Listen, our guys on the line of scrimmage, I’m talking about our press corners and nickels, have got to do a good job, but one of the things I think would be really key and we talked about it yesterday, was their receivers are good run blockers, for obvious reasons.

“They know what they’ve got behind them. We’ve got to get off blocks before he arrives was what we said because if you’ve got a wide receiver in between you and 22 [Derrick Henry], you’ve got no chance because all you’re doing is reaching and trying to tackle. So, we focused on that yesterday, we’ll continue to do that today, but it’s just going to be getting as many hats to 22 as we can.”

This Week 7 matchup will be anything but a cakewalk for Kansas City, and it’ll take some serious game-planning to stop the Titans’ offense with the defensive talent likely to be available for the game. Not only are the Chiefs hurt, but they’ve also been slumping. Meanwhile, Tennessee is coming off a performance where they beat the hottest team in the AFC on “Monday Night Football” on a goal-line stand with their backs against the wall.

Kansas City may be favored this week, but they’ll be lucky to escape with a win. If they can put a lid on the Titans’ skill position players, it’ll go a long way toward getting back to the top in the midseason.

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