In this edition of Grant’s slants, we take a look at how Eric Berry and Tyrann Mathieu match up as safeties as well as top villains in Chiefs history.
The Kansas City Chiefs have had pretty good success at the safety position over the last several years. Before Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Berry was the defensive leader for Bob Sutton’s defense. Just as any believed Berry to be the soul of the defense, many now see Mathieu as the team’s defensive emotional leader.
Both players are considered to be top-tier players at their position in the NFL. For the sake of safeties, we will compare the careers and talents of these two Kansas City stars.
To begin with, we must absolutely acknowledge the difference in each players’ situation. Berry was never on a team that possessed as much talent as this season’s Kansas City Chiefs. For one thing, Berry never played a full season on a team that featured Patrick Mahomes as its starting quarterback. Another clear disadvantage was that Berry, of course, played for disgraced defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. In terms of their situations, there is no doubt that Mathieu had the upper-hand. That, however, should not diminish Mathieu’s body of work.
Berry currently lives in Chiefs lore as an all-time great that never got a chance to play at his peak due to injury and circumstance. Mathieu is now the face of the defense and its emotional leader. Both players held this position of defensive leaders at the safety position, but lead in different ways. On one hand, Mathieu is in your face and willing to say whatever it takes to motivate and move you, whereas Berry was more of the “lead by example” type.
There is also a difference in the style that they play. While Berry was flashy and could make game-changing plays at the line of scrimmage, Mathieu is much more of a cover safety. While Mathieu is certainly capable of making stops in the run game, he is primarily a guy that overwhelms quarterbacks and receivers with his ability to play in any coverage scheme. Let’s take a look at their career stats:
- 89 games
- 445 tackles
- 29 tackles for a loss
- 5.5 sacks
- 14 interceptions
- 115 games
- 545 tackles
- 39 tackles for a loss
- 9 sacks
- 25 interceptions
To be completely honest, I went in to this article with the idea that Eric Berry was going to be the clear-cut better player. After the stats breakdown and the impact that they had on their respective teams, I believe that this debate is completely subjective. That being stated, I believe that Mathieu is the better overall safety.
Mathieu is a unicorn when it comes to the safety position. He is not the big-hitter type. He is not the rangy- take catches away from receivers type. He is a strange hybrid of every top safety ever. While I am certainly not saying that the Honey Badger is the top safety to ever play. I am, however, saying that he is one of the top safeties in Chiefs history.