KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have the second-best scoring defense in the NFL since Week 8.
The addition of edge rusher Melvin Ingram and the return of several injured Chiefs returning to the defense (linebacker Anthony Hitchens, defensive end Frank Clark) has helped spark the turnaround of their season.
But cornerback L’Jarius Sneed’s physicality in the run game and in coverage has been apparent in the way that the Chiefs have played defense during this stretch.
“Yeah, I just love being physical. Spags [Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] likes it. He’s got an aggressive defense and I love being physical myself,” Sneed said on Tuesday. “On the offensive side, they don’t like that. Receivers don’t like when you put hands on them and stuff like that. Take their heart out of their chest, that’s why I like it.”
Spagnuolo saw that Sneed was going to be an impact player last year when he stepped in for Bashaud Breeland. When Breeland returned, Spagnuolo wanted to keep him on the field in some capacity.
When Breeland signed with the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason, it was Sneed’s time to step in and grow.
“I remember talking with Brett [Veach] and Coach [Andy] Reid about where the pieces should go. We wanted to keep him in there because of what you’re talking about,” Spagnuolo said on Wednesday. “If you’ve got a guy that’s playing nickel and he’s more than just a cover nickel, you’ve got a guy that will stick in there, you’ve almost got a half linebacker, half DB. So, to his credit, he’s done a really nice job with that.”
Along with Sneed, cornerbacks Rashad Fenton and Charvarius Ward give the Chiefs some of the top-rated corners in the NFL since Week 8.
Sneed said his play against the Green Bay Packers in Week 9 against All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams sparked a little bit more confidence in him for this season.
“It boosts you a lot against a great receiver like him. So yeah, it gave me a little confidence,” Sneed said. “I’m just learning as I’m going. We’re just building game by game and week by week.”
The Chiefs defense hopes to keep building when they face the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football.