Kansas City just came off a huge comeback win against a division rival, but don’t get a week off as they go to Baltimore this week. This is the premier matchup in the NFL this week and a lot of the eyes this week are on Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. We will take a look at how the Chiefs might be able to slow down Jackson this week and who could be responsible for following him all game long.
Slowing down Lamar Jackson is no easy task, and frankly, might be almost impossible, but the Chiefs have some guys I think could help them make that task easier on Monday. With a mixture of speed and instincts, there are a few guys that come to my mind that can spy Lamar this week. Here are the guys I think could manage that task.
Willie Gay Jr.
This might come at a surprise to some, but maybe to others not so much. Gay Jr. hasn’t got a lot of playing time outside of special teams this year, but I think if the Chiefs are going to let the rookie loose, this is the game to do so. He is the only guy on the defense in terms of speed I think that can go toe to toe with Lamar Jackson.
Being able to run a 4.4 40 yard dash is one big reason I think he is a likely candidate to do that this Monday. Another reason is that the Ravens love to run the football, so you can’t play with a light box and have a bunch of DBs in there because they will just continue to run the ball. Since Gay Jr. is a LB, that helps prevent the Ravens from continuously running the ball all game long. Look for Spags and the defense to find ways to get him involved this Monday night.
In my opinion, this is the most likely scenario. The Chiefs can afford to roll a safety into the box given they have Mathieu and Thornhill at their disposal to do everything else. Sorensen has also shown great instincts around the LOS. Remember his play on the fake punt against the Houston Texans in the playoffs last year?
I’m not so sure another guy on the Chiefs makes that play. He is a bigger safety too, weighing in at 208 pounds which can help if he does end up having to be in the box helping on the running game. Sorensen isn’t as fast as Gay Jr. and a lot of the other DBs on the Chiefs defense, but I think mixed with his instincts, size to be able to play in the box, and the great depth the Chiefs have at safety, he is an option this week.
While Niemann is smaller than Willie Gay Jr. and slower, he is someone that comes in a lot in sub-packages on defense which you might be asking, then why him? Well, the Chiefs are going to have to be careful about being too slow on the perimeter without giving up size in the box. Niemann comes in at 235 pounds but ran a 4.6 40 yard dash in his pro day about 3 years ago.
Another plus for the Chiefs is since he does come in on passing downs, he can cover TEs and RBs if needed if we know Lamar might not take off. Lamar is obviously the guy you key in on and have to make sure he is accounted for. Look for Niemann to be another option this week to spy Lamar.
There are a lot of different things the Chiefs can do this week. Look for them to mix up their coverages from man to zone quite often. This is a way they can try to keep Lamar off-balanced. The Chiefs have to make sure though the stop the run first, to put the Ravens in these potential adverse situations. I do believe all three of these guys are going to see the field often, but if I had to guess, look for Sorensen to be the guy if they do spy Lamar.