For Pete's Sake

Tyrann Mathieu says Chiefs defense will have a ‘tough hill to climb’ in 2019

For new Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, coming to Kansas City means a change in his mentality.

He’s one of the key players who will be tasked with turning around a defense that ranked 31st in yards allowed and 24th in points allowed in 2018. During a visit Friday on Fox Sports’ “Undisputed,” Mathieu acknowledged he’d be the “little brother” to the NFL’s top-rated offense.

During the interview, Skip Bayless asked if the Chiefs defense will be improved.

“I think we’ll be a lot better,” Mathieu said.

Bayless responded: “You’d better be. You’ve got to live up to that offense, right?”

Mathieu acknowledged things won’t be easy for the revamped defense, which includes new players in defensive ends Frank Clark and Alex Okafor, linebackers Darron Lee and Damien Wilson and cornerback Bashaud Breeland. This will be defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s first year in KC, too.

“I think we’ve got a great challenge ahead,” Mathieu said. “I told our group, ‘This is going to be a tough hill to climb, especially where those guys were last year.’ They brought myself and Frank Clark in, and I think anytime you can bring two guys in that really have a chip on their shoulders, an edge, a certain personality, you can rub off on a lot of guys in a positive way. I think that’s why they brought me in, Kansas City, for one was to really kind of raise the tide of everybody around me, and so it’s going to be a fun season.

“I think we can’t get caught up in what the offense is doing. I think most teams I’ve played on, I’ve always been a big brother, so it’s going to be different being a little brother.”

Mathieu, who signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Chiefs, laughed after making his little brother comment.

Bayless then noted how well Patriots quarterback Tom Brady played in the fourth quarter and overtime of the AFC Championship Game, which the Chiefs lost 37-31. Would it have been different with Mathieu and Clark on the Chiefs?

“I’d like to think so,” Mathieu said. “I think Tom Brady is one of the greatest competitors of all time. He has a great mind for what the defense is doing, where his receivers are, who to throw the ball to in coverage.

“I think anytime you can get pressure on him and you can communicate well on the back end, you always give yourself a chance.”

Because the Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champions, Mathieu thinks they are the favorites this year. But...

“I think the Chiefs are coming,” Mathieu said. “Patrick Mahomes, how he plays, just spending the offseason in Kansas City, they’ve got a young group. I’m one of the oldest players on the team, which is crazy. I think we’re right where we need to be at, and anytime you have a great quarterback, it makes things a lot easier for everybody in the organization.”

Mathieu was asked if he believes the Chiefs win an AFC title game in Foxborough?

“Absolutely,” he said. “I do, without a doubt.”

You can watch the interview here:

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