Following an impressive victory on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs are now setting their sights on a Week 8 matchup against the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs enter the matchup at 6-1, and a significant reason behind that strong start has been the impenetrable wall that is the Chiefs' defense.
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the man behind the machine, spoke candidly with reporters on Thursday, touching on his defense's latest accomplishments and his vision for their future.
A name that was consistently in the spotlight was defensive lineman Charles Omenihu. His stellar play in his season-debut against Los Angeles drew praise from Spagnuolo, who beamed, "It's nice to have a guy back there with that length." The coordinator also acknowledged Omenihu's quick adjustment and integration into the team.
"He was some juice for us," Spagnuolo said. "It was nice to see him come in and just get plugged in and make some plays. I was happy for him."
When asked about the Chiefs' newfound success in batting down passes, Spagnuolo couldn't help but smile.
"I think our guys have a really good knack for it," Spagnuolo said. "Our guys have been good about embracing that."
It's not just about the Chiefs' individual talents, however, but also how they work together. The combination of defensive lineman Chris Jones, defensive end George Karlaftis, defensive end Mike Danna, and Omenihu has been incredibly effective. According to Spagnuolo, what makes this group special is their versatility.
"All four of those guys can go inside, and all four of them can go outside," said Spagnuolo. "That's the luxury."
This flexibility is a headache for opposing teams. Chris Jones, in particular, has been a thorn in the side of many offenses, with Spagnuolo noting, "Most teams we play are going to try to find a way to get four hands on Chris, not two."
Additionally, Mike Danna's trajectory this season has been nothing short of commendable. Having racked up 25 tackles and 4.5 sacks this season already, Spagnuolo acknowledged the hard work Danna put in during the offseason.
"He's kind of on a mission, and he's been on a mission," Spagnuolo said. "He's got natural leverage, and in this game, it's all about leverage. He's very powerful from the waist down. He's a good football player."
As for safety Mike Edwards, who joined the Chiefs this past offseason, Spagnuolo's praise was high.
"He is a natural, gifted, and intelligent football player," said Spagnuolo, who went on to point out that Edwards was able to fit right into the Chiefs' system. "He's got some natural instincts, and he sees the game really, really well. He has been a real luxury, and I'm glad we got him."
Spagnuolo couldn't emphasize enough how every player, returning and new, has come together to form a defense that is not just technically sound, but also rich in "football intelligence." The unity and camaraderie on the squad, combined with individual excellence, makes them a force to be reckoned with.
As the Chiefs gear up for the Broncos, the mantra remains clear in Spagnuolo's words: "We're just looking to play our best game this coming week, and then after that, play a better game."
With this defense, one can only imagine the heights they're aiming to reach.