Familiarity and Experience
I also highlighted how this is something that will benefit Clyde Edwards-Helaire in his second season. Logically, this should help all second year players, but I am not just using this as a cop out. We have already went over how Spagnuolo doesn’t just throw rookies into the fire. Now that Gay has a full season under his belt, it is easy to assume he will have earned at least a little more trust from Spags.
I know COVID-19 has stayed in the headlines for the better part of the year, but it is easy to forgot that rookies last year didn’t get a normal offseason to acclimate as professionals in the National Football League. This is why that now more than ever, the experience that they earned over the course of the season is so valuable. Not to mention, going into their first ever (semi) normal training camp will be a huge boost for the mental side of these players games.
This is why I believe Gay has the chance to be an every down difference-maker for the Chiefs. He has exactly what it takes from an athletic standpoint to hold his own. It isn’t about being able to make the plays, but more so about getting to the right places for the plays to be made. Being able to put himself in a position mentally to be where he needs to be,—and for Spags to trust he will get there to do what needs to be done for the defense—will be key for him to break out in 2021. Gay is the type of player Spagnuolo can use as a chess piece, moving him around the field to create mismatches with his speed and agility.
Gay showed flashes last year, and he needs to build on that to earn his place this year on what looks to be a hungry Kansas City Chiefs roster. They need him to step up in order for the defense to take a step forward as a whole, which will be a big boost to a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Gay isn’t the only second year player with this opportunity either. L’Jarius Sneed might be the best corner currently on the roster, but we will save that for later.
On the offensive side of the ball, Lucas Niang has a lot of the same aspirations to make a difference this year that Gay has. Niang is also next up in the Sophomore Surge series, so be on the lookout for just why I expect him to make a splash on the new Chiefs rebuilt offensive line.