On Thursday, Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid was introduced via a Zoom press call with local media members. The Chiefs came to an agreement with Reid late Monday evening, all but marking the end of safety Tyrann Mathieu’s time in Kansas City.
The Chiefs asked much of Mathieu because he could do so many different things for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. In signing the 25-year-old Reid to a three-year deal, the Chiefs believe they have found someone who can rise to the occasion.
As mentioned on these pages after Reid’s signing, Reid has experience on the line, in the box, as a slot cornerback, an outside cornerback and as a free safety.
“When you’re put all over the place, you’re a guy that has to be watched out for,” Reid said, pointedly.
Mathieu — who, at the time, had been a teammate of Reid’s — left the Texans for the Chiefs in 2019. After that, Reid and the Texans faced the Chiefs with Mathieu on three occasions.
“I remember, in our team meeting rooms, whenever you highlight the problem players on the other side of the ball, we’d always say how much of a problem Tyrann was because he’d line up in so many different positions, that you always had to be aware of where he was at all times.
“That is powerful — whenever you have a weapon that’s dynamic and versatile and can be put in different places on the field because it makes the offense try and think a little more and try to find ways to counter you. When they’re thinking about you and not thinking about their responsibility, that’s a tendency — there’s an open opportunity and window there for you to make some plays.”
Reid then explained that his ability to do so many things helps when injuries occur in the secondary.
“The injury rate in the NFL is 100%, so whenever you have a guy that’s able to fill multiple roles — and he’s willing and has a want-to to do it— then that allows you to play the best 11 men on the field at all times.”
With Mathieu out of the picture, the Chiefs will be embracing a youth movement with Reid, who is actually a year younger than 26-year-old safety Juan Thornhill. Reid revealed that he and Thornhill actually have a developing relationship, having met while working out together in Arizona.
“We were training together at the Exos facility, so we talked a little bit. We’re about the same size (Reid is only an inch taller at 6 feet 1) — a lot of similar characteristics.
“I think it’s going to be fun that we’ll be able to be interchangeable in the roles that we play.”
Interchangeable is a rather exciting way to put what it could mean for the Chiefs defense; it’s a point to watch.
Perhaps in the acquisition of Reid, the Chiefs plan to use both Reid and Thornhill a little less at free safety and a little more as two Mathieu-like chess pieces. That has the makings of quite a conundrum for opposing quarterbacks.
Getting away from Thornhill near the end of his opening press conference, Reid specifically detailed what he plans to bring to the table.
“You can expect a guy that’s going to be not only physical — but a guy that’s going to make plays on the ball, be that field general on the back end [and] make sure everything is airtight. I make a point out of it, man. I try to put it on tape every week. I’ve actually had receivers come and talk to me about when they see me on tape.
“If there’s a guy in the wrong-colored jersey in my area... I’m going to make him pay for coming in my space.”
Now that’s an attitude to get behind.