Pre-Camp Reads: Looking at LB Josh Mauga

Over the next few weeks, we will be taking a closer look at players on the Chiefs roster

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Since sitting out the 2013 season due to injury, Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Josh Mauga has made himself a career in Kansas City.

Originally added to the team during training camp in 2014 to provide linebacker depth and help on special teams, Mauga's role increased rather rapidly with the Week 1 ruptured Achilles injury to Derrick Johnson that cost him his season.

All of a sudden, Mauga became the starter calling all of the defensive plays, and at season's end, he led the 9-7 Chiefs with 103 (82 solo) tackles.

Mauga stuck around in 2015 and played the Mike (middle inside) role for a returning Johnson, who recently discussed how thrilled he is to see Mauga back with him in 2016.

"I've played with 10 or 11 Mike backers, so to actually play next to a Mike backer that I played with in back-to-back years? It's wonderful," Johnson said at the beginning of OTAs. "It's all about chemistry. [Mauga] knowing me, I'm knowing him, knowing what I'm going to do and him reacting off of that, probably more so him reacting off of me.

"I do a lot of crazy stuff in there sometimes, but Josh is a veteran guy and he knows the defense in and out and we're going to depend on him and other guys at that position."

SEASON REVIEW

With the returning Johnson and the addition of rookie Ramik Wilson through the draft, Mauga had less of a workload in 2015 (1,005 defensive snaps in 2014 to 462 in 2015). That considered, his numbers remained solid.

Mauga started 14 games for the Chiefs, recording 58 (46 solo) tackles, 1 sack and 2 interceptions.

Mauga made one of the biggest defensive plays of the season in the Wild Card game against the Houston Texans. With the Chiefs up 13-0 with 3 minutes and 53 seconds to go in the first half, quarterback Brian Hoyer had the Texans on the Kansas City 3-yard-line for second-and-goal.

Hoyer attempted to find running back Alfred Blue across the middle, but Mauga stepped in front of the ball, picked it off and ran it back to the Chiefs 20-yard line. Of course, the Chiefs went on to win the game 30-0, their first playoff win in more than two decades.

HOW HE FITS

In his third season with the Chiefs, Mauga joins Johnson, Tamba Hali and Frank Zombo as the veteran leadership in a young Chiefs linebackers room.

Chiefs Linebackers

#

Name

Ht.

Wt.

Age

Exp.

College

52

Adams, Tyrell

6-2

228

24

1

West Georgia

57

Alexander, D.J.

6-2

233

24

2

Oregon State

55

Ford, Dee

6-2

252

25

3

Auburn

91

Hali, Tamba

6-3

275

32

11

Penn State

50

Houston, Justin

6-3

258

27

6

Georgia

56

Johnson, Derrick

6-3

242

33

12

Texas

59

March, Justin

6-0

222

22

2

Akron

46

Massaquoi, Jonathan

6-2

264

28

4

Troy

90

Mauga, Josh

6-1

245

28

7

Nevada

54

Moses, Dezman

6-2

249

27

5

Tulane

62

Mulumba, Andy

6-3

260

26

3

Eastern Michigan

52

Nicolas, Dadi

6-3

235

23

R

Virginia Tech

62

Smith, Terrance

6-2

235

23

R

Florida State

53

Wilson, Ramik

6-2

237

23

2

Georgia

51

Zombo, Frank

6-3

254

29

7

Central Michigan

2016 OUTLOOK

In 2016, Mauga will provide familiarity as he once again joins Johnson in the middle of the Chiefs defense.

Off the field, he has already shown added value as a veteran leader with players like second-year LB Justin March.

"I actually use [my 5-11 height] as an advantage," March said when speaking about evading blocks this offseason. "I'm lower than those guys, I'm shorter, so it's easier to get underneath them. I also use my speed a lot, going back door and kind of learning from D.J. and learning from Josh (Mauga) when he takes on blockers."


Photo highlights of Josh Mauga

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