In 2022, the story of the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense was largely centered on the team’s young defensive backs. Then in the offseason, the Chiefs brought in experienced players to help solidify a defense that was already improving.
One of those vetern players was former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards, who has been impressed with his younger teammates ever since training camp. On Thursday, second-year cornerback Trent McDuffie returned the compliment, referring to Edwards as a “ball hog” from whom he has learned a lot.
“If you just watch him on film,” McDuffie told reporters, “he’s always around the ball, always making a play on the ball — always doing something. For me as a cornerback, I’m like, ‘Yo, I got Mike in the back’ — like, he’s going to find that ball.”
“Those are some plays you can’t just teach,” explained the cornerback. “[Edwards is] a ball player. He’s been in the league for a little while, so [I’m] definitely able to learn from him.”
When the Chiefs signed Edwards, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the veteran — aside from being impressed with his film.
“I didn’t know a lot about Mike at the time,” he acknowledged, “[other] than the film study and [the personnel department was] really high on him. [But] he is a natural, gifted, intelligent football player. And the greatest thing about Mike is [that] he accepts his role — and is passionate about it.”
Spagnuolo said that the fifth-year veteran’s experience and “natural instincts” have led to a larger role in the defense.
“We’re getting him in there,” said the coordinator, “and he’s earned that; he’s earned the respect of the players. He sees the game really, really well. Like, some guys see the game through a straw — [so] you can only give them certain things — but Mike sees the whole thing.
“I mean, he’s been around enough defenses to understand football. He’s played in the league, so he knows offenses. But he’s been a real luxury. I’m glad we got him.”