Chiefs’ Andy Reid praises defensive line for batting down passes
The 2022 season is winding down as teams are battling for postseason positioning. The team’s heart throughout the season has been the explosive offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but even he recently relied on the other side of the ball.
The Chiefs’ defense has had its rough moments this season, but they’re slowly starting to turn things around. The resurgence all starts up front with the play of the defensive line. The hot streak of rookie DE George Karlaftis has helped turn the tide in recent games, but it hasn’t just been about getting after opposing quarterbacks. The defense’s ability to get their hands up and impact throwing lanes has also been important.
Chiefs HC Andy Reid praised the play of his defense on Wednesday, especially in regard to batting passes down at the line of scrimmage.
“Yeah, (Defensive Line Coach) Joe (Cullen) covers that,” said Reid. “If you’re not able to quite get to the guy, to the quarterback, get your hands up, at least one (hand), and try to bat the ball down, and so that’s part of his repertoire of things that he does in there with them. It’s been very successful, and I know before George (Karlaftis) kind of went on this sack thing that he’s going, he had a few batted balls in there which were big for us and Carlos (Dunlap) likewise.”
Veteran Carlos Dunlap’s reputation for batting down passes appears to have brought that intangible to Kansas City. Reid made sure to acknowledge the influence that Dunlap had on that mentality this season.
“Yeah, sure, well, they know the history of him doing it,” said Reid. “I know the history of him doing it. He’s batted a few of ours down. I’m glad he’s on our side. So, they know, and Carlos (Dunlap) is a smart guy, talks to everybody, so I’m sure he’s helped in that area.”
The improved play on the defensive line affected Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith throughout last Saturday’s victory. The Chiefs are hopeful that game will be the template for how the unit must play and affect opposing passers during the postseason.