KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A remark from one leader on the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense caught fire on Wednesday.
Ahead of Kansas City’s Sunday night showdown with the New York Jets, Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay was asked his opinion about Jets quarterback Zach Wilson and the offense after he took over for the injured Aaron Rodgers.
Gay paused and smiled at the question before giving his answer.
“That was a hard question. I can’t lie,” Gay said. “A team that wanna run the ball.”
Gay made it clear that he wasn’t trying to be funny with his answer.
“A-Rod got hurt, and it turned into a team where, like, panic mode almost. That’s what I see at least,” Gay said. “They got great running backs, so now they’re just trying to pound it.”
While the comment has been spliced and cut on social media to make it appear disrespectful, the Chiefs said they hold the Jets running game in high regard even if they don’t fear the QB.
“They got some weapons over there,” Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen said Thursday.
“Their running game, both of their backs – (Jets RB Dalvin) Cook and (Jets RB Breece) Hall – they’re as good as they get.
“I think Hall averages 5.9 (yards) a carry since he’s been in the league, and he can do it all. He can break away; he can run you over. And Cook’s been a perennial Pro Bowler, 41 career touchdowns, four-time 1,000-yard runner – so we have our hands full there,” Cullen continued.
“And then when you look at the perimeter, the other (Jets WR Garrett) Wilson, the wide receiver, he can break it away on any play. And then (Jets QB) Zach (Wilson), I mean he can do it — he can make every throw.
“I’m sure (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Steve) Spags (Spagnuolo) said that. We have our hands full upfront trying to contain him. He’s a really good scrambler and I know (Jets Head) Coach (Robert) Saleh’s going to have that team ready to roll.”
Wilson didn’t know about Gay’s comment before he was asked about it but still answered when a reporter told him the comment.
“That’s fine. We are working to improve and get better,” Wilson said. “He is a great player, but he is obviously the competition, too. I can see why he has those comments, but we will be ready as an offense.”
Statistically, the Jets have the worst scoring offense in the NFL, the worst passing offense and their run offense is 22nd averaging 91 yards a game. But Cullen is correct with the Jets backfield being explosive.
Hall is coming off of a torn ACL but is averaging almost six yards a carry. He and Cook have split carries almost down the middle but he has outgained Cook by almost triple.
The Jets are 1-2 coming off of a close New England Patriots loss and they hope to bounce back against a vaunted defense that is fourth in the league in points allowed through three games.
“I have seen what I have been able to do way back to OTA’s,” Wilson said.
“I feel like I have improved as a player, obviously not perfect, I have things that I need to work on, but I have the guys to rely on.
“Every single day is just, how can I put one foot in front of the other, improve and get better? Have confidence. We are three games into the season. There is no reason to freak out or panic right now. I think we are close.”