With the bye week over, the Kansas City Chiefs return to action as they prepare for their Week 9 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
The week off was beneficial for the entire Chiefs team, and especially linebacker Willie Gay Jr., who says he is a “full go” this week after returning from a four-game suspension against the San Francisco 49ers prior to the bye.
The team opted to ease Gay back into action in that one as he was on the field for only 56% of the team’s defensive plays or 44 snaps. Gay sounds like he is OK despite appearing on Wednesday’s injury report as limited due to a hamstring issue.
“Yeah man, I’ve been ready,” Gay told reporters prior to practice Wednesday. “I was ready over my break. Of course, they want to take care of me a little bit, but I think we’re a full go this week so I’m ready.”
The speedy Chiefs linebacker was suspended in Week 3 after violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Despite playing in a limited number of snaps, Gay returned to the starting lineup against the 49ers and immediately made an impact, contributing to a total of eight tackles.
His day was highlighted by a sack on San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as he and Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed blitzed off the edge to make the play.
#Chiefs LB Willie Gay Jr, fresh off a 4-game suspension, gets a free lane to #49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo for the sack. #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/VqIu0USzxW— Devon Clements (@DevclemNFL) October 23, 2022
The big play helped the Chiefs’ defense stifle any momentum from the 49ers as they went on to dominate the rest of the game, 44-23. Gay said he was happy to make the play, but also a bit nervous after seeing all of the roughing-the-passer penalties that have been called on Kansas City’s defense while he was away from the team.
“I was so scared to get a flag on that one,” Gay jokingly told reporters. “I wasn’t getting my checks man, so $15,000 more would hurt me — you know what I’m saying? But I was happy I got there. It was a great call, great blitz.”
Though it wasn’t all smooth sailing in Gay’s eyes, as he admitted, there was a bit of a rust factor that came into play as he returned to live action for the first time in a month.
“One catch over the middle and I made the tackle on it, I feel like I could have definitely played a better technique,” Gay said. “Four weeks without doing that same technique, you can lose a step, but we good now though.”
Now focused on the team’s Week 9 opponent, Gay gave some insight on how he plans to approach the challenge of the Titans’ offense and their uncertainty at quarterback.
“(Ryan) Tannehill is smart,” Gay said when asked about the difference between preparing for a veteran quarterback and a rookie. “Not saying Willis isn’t smart, but Tannehill, he can pick you apart on play-action passes. He can read defenses well. Willis, you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. He’s a dual-threat option, but like I said, we know what they want to do. [Derrick Henry] down the middle of the edge every time so that’s not changing no matter who’s in.”