What does L’Jarius Sneed’s availability mean for KC Chiefs?
By Josh Fann
When K.C. Chiefs starting cornerback L’Jarius Sneed suffered a concussion on just the fourth play of the AFC Championship game versus the Cincinnati Bengals, it forced a lot of pressure on a Chiefs’ cornerback room filled with rookies.
While the Chiefs were able to get by without their star, they were certainly going to need him for the biggest game for the year against the Philadelphia Eagles who have one of the best wide receiving duos in the league in DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown.
Fortunately for Kansas City, we learned that Sneed passed concussion protocol when he told the media Monday night at Super Bowl Media Day.
What does L’Jarius Sneed’s return mean for KC Chiefs?
Sneed’s return is big for the Chiefs’ defense as he is their most experienced cornerback and has played in a Super Bowl before. Not that the Chiefs don’t have a lot of trust in their young cornerbacks, but Sneed is more versatile and trusted by the coaching staff.
Even Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo acknowledged Sneed’s return as “huge” and said that his exit in the AFC Championship game affected the Chiefs’ game plan.
“When we didn’t have him last week, it was a huge concern. The young guys stepped up, but L’Jarius is really important to us. He’s our leader back there. He makes plays for us. Played a lot of different positions, and I’m glad he’s cleared and ready to go.”s
Without Sneed, the Chiefs aren’t able to run exactly what they want to because Sneed’s blitzing ability and versatility simply can’t be replicated by just anybody.
Sneed’s skill set is important for the Chiefs to have because they’ll need all the bodies they can get against an Eagles offense that was right behind the Chiefs this season in points scored. The depth alone is a big factor. Sneed also possesses the speed necessary to keep up with the Eagles’ receivers and his playmaking ability can’t be understated because turnovers are as valuable as ever this time of year.
The leadership Sneed provides in a big game where he’s the only true veteran of the position group who has seen an environment like this is also very important. The Eagles’ offense will run a lot of RPO concepts as well and Sneed’s play recognition will help in executing the defense and telling the young guys what’s about to happen.
There are just so many areas in which Sneed’s presence is valuable and again, while the young Chiefs cornerbacks have come up big this postseason, you still want your best option out there in a spot like this and you want one of the leaders of your defense out there on the big stage.