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Young safeties got a chance to shine against the Jaguars

Young safeties got a chance to shine against the Jaguars

In The AP Laboratory, new additions Watts and Lucas popped on the movie

On Sunday, the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs protection confirmed up in a large method, actively outplaying the Jacksonville Jaguars protection, and holding the Jaguars to 14 factors — seven of which have been in rubbish time — and forcing 5 turnovers.

The Chiefs offense was higher than they’re being given credit score for. In the first half, the Chiefs did just about something they needed on nearly each drive — however that merely can’t be the story after the defensive efficiency.

As a lot as I’d love to convey everybody down into The Laboratory to watch snap after snap of Dee Ford dominating — whereas I munch on popcorn and drink some tea, as I do on the AP Laboratory Podcast that drops Wednesday mornings — even that may’t be the lead story for this week.

These younger safeties weren’t solely requested to play main roles, however performed a vital half on this defensive efficiency — and are giving Chiefs followers a preview of what might be round the nook for them

The Chiefs misplaced security Eric Murray on the first drive of the recreation — a recreation through which the Jaguars threw the soccer over 60 occasions! Murray was changed by fourth-round rookie Armani Watts for many of the first half. However then Watts suffered an damage and 18th string security Jordan Lucas had to step up and play large snaps down the stretch.

These younger safeties weren’t solely requested to play main roles, however performed a vital half on this defensive efficiency — and are giving Chiefs followers a preview of what might be round the nook for them.

So let’s hearth up all the screens in The AP Lab, and begin digging via the movie to see how these guys have been in a position to assist the Chiefs obtain an AFC Conflict Of The Titans win.

Security Armani Watts

Displaying enchancment

Editor’s observe: We should always remind you that on Tuesday, the Chiefs positioned Watts — together with proper guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif — on injured reserve. Security Dan Sorensen was already on injured reserve. All three might conceivably be prepared to play earlier than season’s finish, however underneath NFL guidelines, solely two can return to the roster this yr. So it’s a pretty protected guess that until Duvernay-Tardif’s damage retains him out for much longer than anticipated, Watts is completed for the yr.

In school, Watts actually struggled in man protection — whether or not it was on slot receivers or tight ends. His brief space quickness and alter of course simply aren’t distinctive, making it onerous to persist with athletes in area. That carried over to coaching camp. In camp, Watts additionally had a arduous time dealing with press protection, and was typically crushed shortly off the snap.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins isn’t the most athletic tight finish in the NFL proper now — or perhaps even offensive deal with on his personal group — however right here, Watts does a nice job preventing by way of the physicality to maintain the press. Watts retains Seferian-Jenkins from stepping into his route — or choosing off one other defender — and exhibits good ft in the course of.

This was good

In school, Watts was an aggressive participant that had good instincts, and all the time appeared to make performs on the soccer.

Good job by Watts not to fall for the leap minimize earlier than the slant, maintain his arms off the waist of ASJ, and get beneath of him for the PBU on 4th down. pic.twitter.com/Okay27Z3S1B2n

— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 9, 2018

That is one other rep against Seferian-Jenkins — this time on a slant over the center with no assist in man protection. Watts does a good job staying balanced throughout the opponent’s outdoors pretend, and trails behind him with out getting grabby. If you end up trailing by this a lot, it’s onerous to undercut a slant route with out hooking the receiver’s waist and increasing throughout their physique, however right here, Watts pulls it off completely.

Why to be skeptical

Watts spent the overwhelming majority of his snaps against Jacksonville in man protection or beneath zones, and whereas his man protection was strong general, he wasn’t challenged or pressed in zone in any respect. His capability to have correct zone spacing — in addition to his capability to learn and react to a number of routes — continues to be an unknown. However the greater query proper now continues to be his run matches.

Armani Watts continues to be on the market piecing it collectively nevertheless it was good to see him get some enjoying time. DS run matches are undoubtedly one thing to work on. Will get tremendous deep w/ no menace, then comes ahead, stops and places his ft in mud moderately than decreasing the area for the RB. pic.twitter.com/w4cA7FNwXs

— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 9, 2018

The depth Watts will get right here is debatable — and that might be a teaching problem — however the fear comes from how hesitant and sluggish he’s to come to the run. Watts comes downhill slowly, after which commits the cardinal sin of slowing his ft, getting caught in mud, and making an attempt to react laterally to what the runner is doing.

Watts has to study to assault and scale back the operating lane to the sideline, and react extra shortly to the run — particularly when he performs up in the field.

Security Jordan Lucas

Displaying enchancment

Earlier than being traded to Kansas Metropolis simply earlier than the season began, Lucas hadn’t seen a lot enjoying time in the Miami Dolphins protection, and whereas this is only one recreation, Lucas appeared actually good.

Lucas was distinctive in almost each facet of the recreation, and it’s value noting the Chiefs performed him as the middle area security greater than anyplace else. He additionally noticed a few reps in beneath protection and man-to-man.

Jordan Lucas is on an island with Niles Paul on this nook route and fights very properly to stick to him by means of the whole route. Lucas is certainly seen as extra of a FS, or so it appears from this recreation, as Parker slid into the field whereas Lucas performed deep or in man solely pic.twitter.com/JwZggzzEd8

— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 9, 2018

Jacksonville tight finish Niles Paul is a strong athlete, and right here he has a one-on-one matchup with Lucas on a nook route, with the solely assist approaching a slant or drag. Paul tries to shake Lucas off the line, however Lucas stays affected person. When Paul tries to press vertically into his physique, Lucas responds with physicality to stick proper on his hip as Paul breaks to the nook.

Later in the recreation — additionally in man protection — Lucas confirmed implausible really feel working via visitors on a crossing route, and dealing from depth to undercut one other cross try to Paul.

Jordan Lucas’ INT was fairly spectacular for a man in his first actual recreation for KC. Enjoying single excessive vs 4 verticals is extraordinarily tough however Lucas does a nice job working into place to take each inside routes. Reads the QB’s eyes after which turns into 4th string RB Lucas. pic.twitter.com/orwCvHuh13

— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 9, 2018

This interception seems like a easy overthrow by Blake Bortles, however Lucas’ means to learn the subject and keep in a place to take away each seams was spectacular. Lucas does a good job balancing his positioning together with his hips so he can break on both route instantly — all whereas climbing to depth.

As quickly as the quarterback steps to ship the ball, Lucas is monitoring it so he can modify whereas coming downhill. The return is simply superb from each angle.

Lucas’ capacity to learn the subject as a middle subject security like this — on a troublesome route mixture — could be very spectacular for a participant with so little enjoying time.

This was good

Lucas actually flies round the area — however does so responsibly, and with function. He breaks shortly with good angles general — actually squeezing into assist or the sideline — and appears to have a unbelievable grasp of every state of affairs.

Right here he adjusts Terrance Smith’s alignment to play with outdoors leverage based mostly on the receiver cut up and the protection, after which Lucas stays house to assist Smith as the publish is proven. He breaks out with the receiver simply in case he can undercut the ball, however as quickly as the ball is thrown to the beneath receiver, he breaks instantly with velocity and a nice angle. That is big-time assist in a clutch fourth-down cease.

Why to be skeptical

None of that is to say Lucas was good against the Jaguars, however all in all, there simply isn’t a lot to be fearful over. There are small zone spacing points — in addition to understanding when a man may be handed off early and when he has to stick on them the whole means — however that may include expertise.

Jordan Lucas seems to be snug again deep. Lively ft, works with the routes and QB, and makes the proper learn. His angle begins off too steep for one step or he’d have one other INT already. Bonus, good lengthy arm into a bull rush by KPass. pic.twitter.com/RUsg7rMb3u

— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 9, 2018

That is a little bit of a nitpick, as a result of Lucas reads this play completely, stays over the prime and works the routes throughout the area. The one drawback is that his first step on his break is overly aggressive, which finally ends up permitting the reception simply in entrance of him.

You’d like to see Lucas assault from depth-forward, or to break laterally after which come downhill at the ball — like his interception from later in the recreation — so he’s the one slicing off the extensive receiver, somewhat than making an attempt to run behind the receiver on the route.

Are these younger weapons prepared to push for much more snaps?

Not solely was this a nice recreation for the Chiefs, it additionally gave some younger expertise the alternative to showcase their talents. Watts had been seeing his snap counts improve due to accidents — and was choosing up the protection — so Watts being positioned on injured reserve is dangerous information.

Despite the fact that Lucas hadn’t been given many alternatives, he made one heck of a case to be given extra

However the excellent news is what we noticed from Jordan Lucas. Despite the fact that Lucas hadn’t been given many alternatives, he made one heck of a case to be given extra — thanks to his potential to shut on the ball carriers shortly, learn the area as a deep security, and execute properly against good athletes in man protection.

And with Eric Murray’s sprained ankle, it appears possible that Lucas might get these alternatives, and show that he can contribute in the NFL.

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