Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu joined the team as a free agent in the spring, signing a three-year contract worth $42 million. He knew that in recent seasons, the Chiefs defense had been struggling. So Mathieu came to the it expecting to be part of the solution. On Tuesday, he told reporters in the team’s locker room that he still thinks that will happen.
”We all have expectations — especially me, [after] coming here [and] wanting to be a part of this team,” he said. “My mindset is to obviously stick to the process — believe in the process — and understand that great things do sometimes take time. We’re still working toward our ultimate goal.”
Mathieu said he feels that the problems the Chiefs have been having aren’t coming from the system Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo installed before the season, but instead from the execution of that scheme.
”I think the scheme works,” he said. “I’ve watched a lot of tape — not necessarily our team, but other teams. I think the scheme works. We play in a scheme where all 11 guys have to believe in the play-call. We can continue to get better with that.
”I think the things that hurt us are technique and fundamentals -- things that you can just easily forget play to play.”
And from Mathieu’s perspective, the adversity the Chiefs are facing is a good thing for the long term.
“The more and more we can have adversity — have difficult situations — I feel like all those things will help bring us together if our mindset is right, which I think it is,” he said. “So especially with a big week — [a] division opponent — I really want to see how we prepare in a short week and how we come out and perform on Thursday.”
In fact, Mathieu said he wished the team could have played again even sooner.
”I couldn’t wait,” he grinned. “I wish we’d had a game right after our game Sunday — a double-header. That would be sweet. I think the quicker you can play — the quicker you can get back on tape — the quicker you can show other teams that what happened last week was not necessarily us. I think that’s our mindset.”
Mathieu said that many of his teammates feel the same way.
”A lot of guys are going to embrace this moment — just having that adversity — kind of being able to hear what people are saying, and then rewrite the story, It’s good for a team — especially a young football team — to really have that adversity, because you really don’t know who you are until you have it. We’ve been very fortunate to win four games to start the season. Obviously, these last two games are a reality check for us, so hopefully we can get better from that.”
But Mathieu also said the team would face a difficult challenge against the Denver Broncos.
”They’re a tough opponent,” he said. “I feel like no matter’s who’s there, they’ve always been a quality team — a lot of great tradition. So their guys play like that. They’re coming off a two-game winning streak, so you can see that they’re starting to click — especially on defense. Holding the ball, running the ball — all of the things we’ve been kind of struggling with — seems like they’ve have been taking advantage of those things. So we’ll have our work cut out from that aspect.”