4. The third linebacker in base D appears undecided
Nick Bolton is the new quarterback of the defense and Willie Gay Jr. has carved out his role, but the third linebacker position in the Chiefs’ base 4-3 defense remains up for grabs.
Elijah Lee got the start against the Commanders, just as he did against the Bears last week, but Jermaine Carter and Leo Chenal are certainly not fading into the background.
Carter is a bad-looking dude in the middle of the field and has the mobility to lend a beneficial hand in coverage. He was lauded for his pass coverage ability throughout his tenure with the Carolina Panthers, and plugging him in alongside Bolton and Gay will make for some stout zone schemes. With an energized, but widely unproven secondary, a linebacker corps who can hold their own weight in coverage is welcomed.
Leo Chenal, on the other hand, is celebrated for his talents as a tackler. That’s not a knock on Jermaine Carter, but Chenal brings a different level of energy to the field. He is constantly seeking out the physical side of the game and shows up around the football with awesome regularity. He led the team in tackles (7) against the Bears last week, recording six solo tackles and two for loss, and took advantage of Saturday’s opportunity against the Commanders as well.
If nothing else, the depth in the linebacker room is worth noting. Steve Spagnuolo will have fun deploying those diverse talents throughout the season.