Kansas City Chiefs CB Trent McDuffie was no worse for wear in his first week back from injury.
While the hamstring injury kept him out from Week 2 through the bye week, the rookie cornerback picked up exactly where he left off. Titans QB Malik Willis targeted McDuffie twice 24 coverage snaps and he didn’t allow a single reception. For McDuffie, the performance served as a big confidence booster after he’d missed so much time due to injury.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo offered his thoughts on McDuffie’s performance. Sure enough, he felt that McDuffie did exactly what he was supposed to do in the first game back.
“Yeah, I was just talking about Trent (McDuffie). I thought he did a really good job,” Spagnuolo said. “You know I say this all the time, is sometimes corners don’t get any recognition when they’re doing exactly what you want them to do, right? They’re over there pressed, and the quarterback doesn’t throw it there, but he had two really good plays where he was hip to hip on a nine-route.”
This marked the first time that McDuffie was tested in coverage in an NFL regular-season game. In his 21 coverage snaps against the Cardinals in Week 1, he wasn’t targeted at all. With that in mind, Spagnuolo was pleased with one specific aspect of his Week 9 performance on the two throws that did go his way.
“The other thing I thought he did a really good job of – him, LJ (L’Jarius Sneed) and Jaylen (Watson) all had a shot at it – is in those situations they were looking for the football,” Spagnuolo explained. “Because when you don’t look, the yellow flag tends to come out so that helps us a little bit, but I thought he did a nice job.”
McDuffie will face an even bigger test this week against Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence, the former No. 1 overall pick in 2021. Jacksonville throws the ball right around the league average of 34 attempts per game, which means an even greater volume of throws could come McDuffie’s way.