On Sunday night, the Kansas City Chiefs had a closer-than-desired contest against the New York Jets. Despite a promising start, the game had begun to unravel before Kansas City regrouped to secure a narrow 23-20 victory that improved their season record to 3-1.
In every football match, regardless of its final outcome, there are often unsung heroes who quietly excel, making invaluable contributions that go unnoticed by most. These unheralded players operate discreetly, working diligently beneath the glare of the spotlight.
This week, we turn our attention to a player whose exceptional performance in Week 4 deserves recognition: former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards, who joined the team as a free agent in March.
An under-the-radar performance
The Chiefs didn’t make many splashy moves during 2023’s free agency period, but it’s evident that general manager Brett Veach had specific gaps he wanted to address. One of those was the team’s third safety.
As a fifth-year veteran who started a dozen games for the Buccaneers in 2022, Edwards brought much-needed versatility and experience to the position — qualities that are highly valued by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in his defensive backs.
Edwards has showcased his abilities in multiple roles, including playing in the box, making tackles, covering deep downfield and creating turnovers — all of them have been on display during his first four games with Kansas City.
Since Week 1, Edwards’ snap counts have increased steadily. Per PFF, he logged 26 defensive snaps (44%) during Sunday’s game — 13 at free safety, seven in the box, five in the slot and one more as an outside corner. He tallied three tackles, two pressures, a sack and a pass defended. Additionally, he was targeted 4 times and allowed only 2 receptions for a mere 12 yards — good for a passer rating of just 56.3.
The bottom line
Edwards has made a significant impact on the Kansas City secondary, which has performed admirably this season. He’s an additional chess piece that Spagnuolo can use to create confusion and keep opposing offenses guessing about his intentions.
If Edwards maintains (or elevates) his current level of play, it’ll become increasingly difficult to keep him off the field. His versatility — allowing him to contribute in multiple roles — makes him an asset that can be utilized in all of Spagnuolo’s alignments.
As Kansas City prepares to face Justin Jefferson — one of the NFL’s premier wideouts — in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, Edwards and the rest of the Chiefs’ secondary will once again be tasked with delivering a strong performance. Kansas City’s ability to contain a player like Jefferson will be a key factor in Sunday afternoon’s game.