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Steve Spagnuolo explains why he was happy with Trent McDuffie’s return game

McDuffie played last week for the first time since his Week 1 injury.

Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

There was much anticipation leading up to the return of Kansas City Chiefs rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie against the Tennessee Titans.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was pleased with McDuffie’s first performance after missing the season thus far with a hamstring injury.

“I thought he did a really good job. He had two really good plays where he was hip-to-hip on a 9 (fly) route,” praised Spagnuolo. “And the other thing I thought he did a really good job of him, LJ (L’Jarius Sneed) and Jaylen [Watson] all had a shot at, in those situations; they were looking for the football. Because we know when you don’t look, the yellow flag tends to come out.”

For a team like the Titans, who so heavily rely on star running back Derrick Henry, it’s no surprise that their quarterback Malik Willis threw the ball just 16 times in the game, completing only five passes. That being said, Spagnuolo knows that every position on defense has to be involved, whether it’s a run or pass play, including rookie McDuffie.

“You [have to] get involved in the run too, and I thought Trent did a pretty good job of that,” Spagnuolo added. “I say this all the time, that sometimes corners don’t get any recognition when they’re doing exactly what you want them to do.”

Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs
Trent McDuffie of the Kansas City Chiefs defends against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium on November 6, 2022.
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

“So there were some things, even though it wasn’t all pass, that we were happy with what he did.”

Spagnuolo was also impressed with the transitions McDuffie had to make as the game progressed.

“We had those guys in a little bit of man, and sometimes when you’re in man and that receivers cracking, or he’s blocking somebody you [have to] transition from man to being a run defender,” recalled Spagnuolo. “There [were] a couple of instances where I thought Trent did a really good job of that.”

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