Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called "New Heights." The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio, neighborhood in which they grew up.
In the latest episode, the Kelce brothers talk about their Week 3 games, praising the dominance of the Chiefs' defense over the Chicago Bears, and explaining why the offense finally had explosive output.
"New Heights" with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. Hurdling defenders
On Wednesday’s episode, Travis and Jason talked about trying and go over the top of a defender — something that Chiefs fans have certainly seen Travis do.
“87 is always ready for takeoff,” joked Travis.
Jason then asked how Travis knows when the time his right.
Travis furrowed his brow and pointed at his chest.
“You know,” he replied. “Right here. It’s instinct. It’s a feel.”
“But are you reading something before you hurdle?” asked Jason. “Or [do] you just like know that this guy is going to go low — and, ‘I’m going to jump over this motherf*cker’?”
“I’m just doing it,” laughed Travis. “It has nothing to do with the guy in front of me. [It’s] just, ‘Right now! Lift off! Here we go!’”
Usually, Travis’ decision to leave his feet is met with some measure of success. But every now and then, life puts someone like Derwin James in your way — and you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake.
2. More praise for the defense
So far, Kansas City’s defense is ranked ninth by DVOA and fourth in points allowed. The unit has a lot going for it — including a dynamic pass rush led by All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones. That is bolstered by emerging edge rushers Mike Danna, George Karlaftis and Felix Anudike-Uzomah. At the second level, the Chiefs’ linebackers are rallying to the ball and playing downhill — and in the secondary, second-year corner Trent McDuffie is the league’s only cornerback who has earned a PFF coverage grade of at least 80 in multiple games.
According to Travis, offensive players (like himself) have noticed.
“Our defense is still playing lights out,” he declared. “[They are] flying around. Got some turnovers for us in big-time moments right before the half.”
3. The offense comes through
In last week’s episode, Travis was unhappy with the Kansas City offense.
“We just have to put up f*cking points on offense,” he said.
But then on Sunday, the Chiefs dropped a 40-burger on the lowly Chicago Bears. Seeing the Chiefs’ potent offense finally show up in a game was a welcome sight — and Travis believes the key to its success is quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ ability to spread the ball to many different receivers.
“Pat Mahomes [was] just dialing up and spreading the wealth,” he explained, “finding guys all over the field. As an offense, I think it’s so much harder for a defense to gauge what’s going on if everybody is getting a piece of the pie.”
Travis doesn’t even think it’s beneficial for the team to force targets his way.
“If it’s one guy the entire game,” he noted, “that can kind of get predictable. You can do some things — like double coverage or combo coverage — to slow that down. But when you don’t know who the ball is going to — and you go [to] a lot of guys who can win in one-on-one situations... it’s just that much harder.”
Travis, of course, still led the team in yards and receptions against Chicago, catching seven balls for 69 yards. He also found the end zone early in the second half, making up his own route on the fly.
Travis just does what he wants pic.twitter.com/FTGydDm3HP— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 27, 2023
This was nothing new for Kansas City’s “dynamic duo,” which often succeeds with these post-snap telepathic audibles.
Travis might not always be on the field after the Chiefs are up 34-0 at the break — but when Taylor Swift comes to watch you play, you’ve got to find the end zone, baby!
According to reports, Taylor Swift is expected to be in attendance for Chiefs-Jets game this week at MetLife Stadium. pic.twitter.com/HO3u5BonvB— Complex (@Complex) September 28, 2023
If she’s there, it’s a good bet that Travis will score again.