Kansas City Chiefs rookie cornerback Trent McDuffies was among the players speaking to the media after Saturday’s training camp practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri.
During that practice, our Ron Kopp had noted that the team’s 2022 first-round selection was having one of his stronger performances during camp.
McDuffie blanketed one deeper target to Juju on the sideline, giving absolutely nowhere to complete it with trailing leverage— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) August 6, 2022
He also forced an incompletion on a jump ball down the field to Mecole. He’s been right where he’s needed to be
“Getting to this point at the camp,” McDuffie explained, “I think a big thing for me is just finishing. Everything doesn’t go perfect. I might mess up at the line on my technique or at the top of the route, but to be able to fight through that adversity and finish on the ball at the end of the play is something I am working hard at — and something you saw out there today. It’s just something I’m trying to do each and every day.”
Going back to the team’s offseason workouts, Kansas City has consistently featured McDuffie in the starting defense — a unit that has largely been overhauled since last season. The rookie believes the young secondary is coming together.
“We started, obviously, with our bumps and bruises over springtime and over summer,” the Washington product acknowledged, “but I think right now, just repetition has given us so much more confidence. I feel like [when] we’re out there on these long drive drills — and we’re tired and it feels like nothing’s going our way — [we have] to be able to come together in the huddle and kind of form as a group; form as a bond and understand that we’re in this together — and that we can go out there right now against the offense.”
McDuffie and his fellow defenders find themselves competing against an offense expected to be among the league’s best — something that is not lost on him.
“I think the competition — especially in the defense just overall as a team — has been huge,” he noted. “Going against guys like Patrick Mahomes and offensive coordinator [like Eric Bieniemy], where this offense is a high-scoring, high down the field, stretch offense.
“And as DBs especially, that gives us something to prove — because we go out there every day knowing that we are going to compete against the best receivers — against the best quarterback — and make plays. So it just adds to the confidence and competition to every day at practice.”
The Chiefs are continuing to rotate McDuffie between being the boundary cornerback and working inside in nickel formations. He said he is eager to learn both roles.
“I would say there’s not a preference — I enjoy it,” he said of the two positions. “I think as much reps as I can get — inside, outside, anywhere on the field — is a plus. At the end of the day, it’s a long season [and] injuries happen. Stuff like that in football is a part of the game.
“So being ready for when my opportunity comes — and being able to come out here and get all the reps I can — is good for me, because it helps me build my confidence to be ready for my opportunities.”
Previously, the Chiefs have used third-year cornerback L’Jarius Sneed in a similar role, rotating him throughout the secondary. McDuffie confirmed that his new teammate has been helpful as he builds his own versatility.
“Sneed’s been super helpful — especially as someone who does nickel and outside corner,” said McDuffie. “Picking his brain, just seeing how he sees things — before the snap [and] after the snap — has been pretty helpful.”
While some Chiefs fans have been worrying because McDuffie hasn’t often been mentioned during training camp’s media coverage, head coach Andy Reid appears satisfied with the development of the former Huskies corner.
“I like what I see,” Reid observed. “He’s smart, strong. He understands leverages — which is important. He’s got that ‘want to’ and he’s making plays. He’s at least in position to make things happen. For a young guy, that’s pretty good stuff — and we can work with that.”