Chiefs cornerbacks ready if Titans air it out Sunday

09/03/2014 4:33 PM

09/03/2014 4:33 PM

The Chiefs’ defenders aren’t sure what to expect from the Tennessee Titans’ offense this Sunday under new coach Ken Whisenhunt.

But if Whisenhunt sticks to what he ran last season in San Diego, where he was the Chargers’ offensive coordinator, the Chiefs can expect to see plenty of “11” personnel — or three-wide receiver sets.

“I think last year we pretty much ran nickel,” cornerback Sean Smith. “It seems like someone else was in ‘11’ personnel for almost the whole season, so we’re definitely used to it.”

Against the Chargers last season, the Chiefs were in their nickel defense roughly 80 percent of the time.

“In the DB room, we actually look forward to it because we have more of our guys on the field,” Smith said. “That’s almost fun.”

Smith, a full-time starter last season, has shared time with Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker at cornerback on the outside with the first team this preseason. Veteran free-agent Chris Owens has gotten the majority of the first-team reps at nickel cornerback.

With the NFL’s shift to a more pass-happy league, that figures to be the initial group that will handle waves of passes sure to come this season, though speedy third-round pick Phillip Gaines also figures to work into the mix sometime this season.

Smith said the group is ready for the challenge.

“Especially in this defense, we understand that it’s going to take guys to go out there and put some hair on their chest and man up,” Smith said. “There’s going to be a couple situations where you’re out there all alone.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TerezPaylor.

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