Rookie defensive end George Karlaftis, by all accounts, had an impressive debut on Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs. According to him, though, there’s still plenty of work to be done.
The Kansas City defense did its part to keep Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals’ offense at bay in week one en route to a 44-21 victory. This was far from a foregone conclusion, as the unit featured a bevy of rookies including Karlaftis, whom the Chiefs drafted with the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft.
Karlaftis saw a hefty dose of snaps in Glendale and made the most of them. He finished the game with just one tackle and a pass deflection but recorded six quarterback pressures according to Pro Football Focus. Karlaftis, although, is enjoying his introduction to the NFL in moderation.
“You watch the game tape and you want some plays back,” Karlaftis told reporters on Tuesday. “But I was proud of myself for kind of getting out there and playing. I made a couple of mistakes here and there but I wasn’t letting it affect me.”
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo can attest to Karlaftis’ feelings on his performance. Spagnuolo said Karlaftis was ready with a list of things he did wrong shortly after the game. But getting through what he considered “mistakes” may be easier said than done.
It’s a difficult tightrope to walk for a rookie in the NFL. How do you navigate trying to learn from your mistakes while also not letting them bog you down?
“Having a goldfish memory and just forgetting and moving on to the next snap,” Karlaftis insisted.
A goldfish memory?
“They forget instantly.”
Maybe Karlaftis spends his downtime binging Ted Lasso, or maybe it’s been drilled into his head by the veterans around him that he can’t allow himself to become consumed by his errors. Whatever the case may be, it seems to be working for the rookie.
And with little time to rest before the Chargers descend upon Arrowhead on Thursday night, there’s never been a better time to think like a goldfish.