Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu talks self-motivation, defensive improvements

The Kansas City Chiefs are off to a perfect 2-0 to start the season, but things haven’t been as smooth as they may seem. The defending Super Bowl champions haven’t looked as impressive on the defensive sides as they have hoped to head into the year.

The most significant change outside of Arrowhead Stadium has been the pack of crowd noise. Last Sunday’s victory over the Los Angeles Chargers was an unusual experience for Tyrann Mathieu and the Chiefs defense. Mathieu spoke with reporters on Friday about the new no crowd experience and how the team handled it.

”Yeah, it’s quite the adjustment,” said Mathieu, ”Obviously, not being able to play in front of fans. I feel like that definitely gave us a boost of encouragement, but we’ve got to adjust, we’ve got to adapt. I think a lot has to come from within, and then from there it’s us feeding off each other, us trying to keep each other motivated and keep each other encouraged. Especially when we don’t have that momentum, we don’t have fans in the stands, we’ve got to find a way to be positive, especially in slow games, games when we’re not playing to the best of our abilities. We’ve just got to find that, dig deep within.”

The Chiefs’ defense has shown signs of weakness during the first two games that are a cause for concern. The defense has surrendered over 300 rushing yards in only two games, something heavy on the mind of Mathieu.

“I’m still kind of pissed, but I’m definitely encouraged,” Mathieu said. “I wouldn’t say that I’m discouraged. I know the guys that we have in our room. I know the coaches that we have, and I know that we’ll be able to adjust and get it right. So, I’m not worried about that. Obviously, we had high expectations coming into the season to try our best to live up to the standard we set last season, but we’ve got to dig a little deeper. Obviously, we’re going to get a lot of teams’ best shot. A lot of offensive coordinators are going to draw up their best plays to kind of beat us and keep Pat off the field.

“So, we’ve got to dig a little bit deeper and I think this is a great opportunity, playing on ‘Monday Night Football’, playing against a team that runs the ball well, can stretch the field vertically in the passing game. So, our hands are full, but it’s a great test, it’s a great challenge for us. I’m excited to see us show up and show everybody who we are.”

The Chiefs will need to make adjustments on defense to contain the always-explosive Lamar Jackson. The Ravens are known for their fearless rushing attack, so the biggest test of the season for Mathieu and the rest of the defensive unit could be on display Monday night.

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