The Kansas City Chiefs’ Hidden Gems

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Your Kansas City Chiefs are above .500 for the first time this season. Andy Reid and company are now 4-3 following a 34-7 drubbing of the St. Louis Rams over the weekend. The Chiefs are 4-1 since they started the season with two consecutive losses. Things are looking up for this football team and personnel’s a big reason why their 2014 campaign hasn’t gone off the tracks. Players either acquired or coached up by the new regime have helped revive a squad on the verge of “coding” more than a week before Rosh Hashanah.

Five weeks ago, the top storyline in Kansas City was a seemingly historic rash of injuries. The Chiefs had lost Derrick Johnson, Jeff Allen, Mike DeVito, Joe McKnight, Mike Catapano, and Sanders Commings for the year. They weren’t done though. Kansas City would sustain several other injuries that took multiple players off the field for several weeks (De’Anthony Thomas, Joe Mays, and Eric Berry). With that many bodies missing from the lineup, this team could’ve imploded right then and there. Instead, their teammates took the Dorsey-Reid “next man up” philosophy to heart and picked up the slack.

Let’s take a look at four players who’ve aided the Chiefs’ turnaround:

Josh Mauga

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Who would’ve guessed, coming into Week 9, that inside linebacker Josh Mauga would be leading the team in tackles? The fifth-year man out of Nevada was signed just one day before training camp opened. He was signed to be a reserve, but was later thrust into action when Derrick Johnson ruptured his achilles. Mauga didn’t make a very good first impression. According to Pro Football Focus, he received an underwhelming -1.3 preseason grade. He also had a shaky start to the regular season, but has since settled down and turned in four straight games with a positive grade. PFF gave him a +3.1 grade in Sunday’s game against the Rams.

Mauga’s been rock solid over the past several weeks and has been the kind of disruptive force we’re used to seeing in the middle of the Chiefs’ defense. Losing Johnson was supposed to have been a death blow to the Chiefs’ run defense. They aren’t a particularly stout unit, but with Mauga’s help, only Lamar Miller and Frank Gore have had 100-yard days against them. He seems to be getting better every week and while he’s no Derrick Johnson, he’s a more-than-serviceable replacement.

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