In this part of the country, it is currently fashionable to denigrate the Kansas City Chiefs for their 3-4 record... their defense, which is allowing more yards per play than any other NFL team... or their offense, which leads the league both in turnovers and in the percentage of drives ended by turnovers.
But in the New York Giants’ training facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey, head coach Joe Judge isn’t having any of it — especially any suggestion that the rest of the league has caught up to head coach Andy Reid’s team, which the Giants will play on the next installment of Monday Night Football.
“I mean, how’d the league catch up to them?’’ Judge asked reporters on Wednesday, via The New York Post. “Is everyone as fast as Tyreek Hill or [Mecole] Hardman? Can everybody cover the ball as deep as [Patrick Mahomes] can throw that thing? I think it’s a foolish narrative for us to buy into if we think this team isn’t as good as they are.’’
Nor is Judge buying into the idea that Mahomes is now a lesser version of himself.
“He looks like one of the best quarterbacks in the world to me,’’ he said. “This guy is — look, to be as athletic as he is, as just naturally instinctive as he is and have that kind of arm strength to make all those throws? There’s a reason this guy gets paid that much money: because there’s not a lot of these guys walking the Earth.’’
Whatever problems the Chiefs have, Judge still has enormous respect for them.
“This is a damn good team,’’ he declared. “They’re very explosive; they’re very dangerous. These guys are going to be playing their best ball Monday night. We’re going out into a tough atmosphere, it’s a lot of great energy out there, so we’ve got to get ready this week to play our best football.’’
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones flatly rejected the New York media’s notion that the Kansas City defense is vulnerable.
“I don’t know if I see it that way — and I know the team doesn’t,’’ he said. “They’re a good defense. They’ve been a good defense for the past however many years. The Chiefs have been a top team in the league. They’ve got really good players on defense — guys who can disrupt the game and who can make big-time plays. I don’t think there’s anyone on our team — or in this building — who’s going to overlook them.’’
Judge added some punctuation to Jones’ remarks.
“Nobody in this building is going to — in any way, shape or form — underestimate this team. Period,’’ he declared. “This is a very good team. We know that. We know how dangerous and explosive they are. We always expect everybody’s best game. It’s our job to make sure that we’re not overconfident — or underestimate anybody.’’
This attitude has been made even more apparent by the music played during the Giants’ practice sessions this week — which will sound familiar to those who have attended games in Arrowhead Stadium.
It’s Kansas City week. Listen to the music choice at the start of Giants practice. pic.twitter.com/zsjW07HnAc— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) October 27, 2021
“We’re playing on the road — obviously noise is going to be a factor,” Judge told Kansas City reporters in a Thursday conference call. “Got to make sure our players are prepared for that, so we’ll do our best to simulate what they may see or at least something of what they may feel at the game.”
But he also acknowledged that there is no real way to prepare for it.
“I’ve been there before,” noted Judge, who was the New England Patriots’ special teams coordinator when they played for the 2018 AFC Championship at Arrowhead. “No amount of speakers is going to do any justice with the crowd there is — but we’ve got to make sure we stress some of the aspects we’re going to prepare for.”
It’s fair to note that these comments can be described as typical coach and player-speak; neither coaches nor players are generally inclined to run down an upcoming opponent. But it’s a good reminder that despite the Chiefs’ problems, they still command respect from other NFL teams.