At around Noon Arrowhead Time on Saturday, while most in Chiefs Kingdom are gathered around the family room with loved ones, sipping on a cup of egg nog or warming our hands around a large mug of hot cocoa, the Kansas City Chiefs secondary will be going toe to toe in the bitter cold with a 6-foot-4, 236-pound freak of nature that runs a 4.33 40-yard dash and possesses a 40.5 inch vertical.
His name is DK Metcalf, the best weapon of the visiting Seattle Seahawks.
A quick Google image search of Metcalf will tell you nearly everything you need to know about the wide receiver.
Metcalf is the guy on the left — the one built like a member of The Avengers. The individual on the far right — who looks small in comparison to Metcalf?
On Wednesday, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo explained that he had the same reaction as the rest of us when he first saw Metcalf’s physique.
“Sometimes I go on the internet and try to get pictures for my meetings and stuff, and there was a picture of Metcalf without a shirt on, and I’m like, ‘Good God. What a stud, right?’”
Spagnuolo said that Metcalf reminds him of another former NFL wide receiver who was known for his physicality.
“[He] reminded me of [Terrell Owens] — I had T.O. when we were in Philadelphia. But [Metcalf] plays a powerful game.”
Spagnuolo went on to say that oftentimes, Metcalf will just outmuscle his opponent at the point of catch
“[We’ve] talked about it all week long, we got to find ways to maybe get two on him. He’s a go-to guy.”
Spagnuolo also acknowledged that even double-teaming Metcalf might not work.
“I’ve watched teams that double him at times, and sometimes that doesn’t make a difference because he’s just so physically bigger and stronger than the guys (he’s) going against.”
If the Chiefs' secondary is concerned about manning up against Metcalf, the players aren’t showing it. When rookie cornerback Joshua Williams was asked if he was concerned about playing against a player of Metcalf’s size, he played it off with a smile.
“I’m glad you know [Metcalf is] hitting the gym and stuff like that, but you know we get in the weight room too,” he said. “You know we’ll do what we can to stop his big, strong, self.”
So far this season the Chiefs have allowed more yards per reception to receivers 6 feet 1 or taller than shorter receivers, but the overall catch percentage of throws to bigger receivers has been lower than their smaller counterparts.
2022 Chiefs defensive stats
|Statistic||>= 6-ft-1||< 6-ft-1|
Note: The numbers listed above are strictly for wide receivers and do not consider tight ends or running backs.
The bottom line
The variation in these numbers could be due to the different roles and route trees that receivers of different sizes play in offenses around the league. Larger receivers tend to line up on the outside in the “X” receiver position and run more vertical routes, while smaller receivers line up in the slot and run shorter and higher-percentage routes across the middle of the field.
Regardless of the reasoning behind the difference in the numbers, one thing is for certain, the Chiefs aren’t backing down from Metcalf — and only time will tell if it will be enough to contain him.