here is just one preseason game left before the regular season and the Kansas City Chiefs are still getting bit by the injury bug. The Chiefs’ young linebacker Breeland Speaks is set to have surgery to repair a MCL sprain and meniscal injury.
Speaks has recently been listed as the backup to Alex Okafor at the left defensive end position. He was having a strong preseason before suffering this injury. Speaks had been getting snaps on first and second down while also playing a little on the inside. The Chiefs hoped that Speaks could add a certain element to their defense.
“He was playing a position that was a little different for him,” Chiefs new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said of Speaks’ rookie sesaon. “I actually went back and watched his college tape — he was inside a lot. He was a defensive end. He did some good things. I think he’s a little more comfortable being there. But we’ve got a ways to go.”
The Chiefs selected Speaks in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss. Heading into 2019, Speaks had a chance to make more of an impact in his second season. Spagnuolo implemented a 4-3 scheme, which he has run throughout his career. Speaks played in a similar system while in college.
During his rookie season in Kansas City, Speaks got plenty of experience. He played in all 16 games for the Chiefs during his rookie campaign. He finished with 24 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble. Speaks played valuable minutes during the Chiefs’ AFC Championship Game loss.
Surgery is scheduled for this week and there is no timetable yet on how long Speaks will be sidelined.
Chiefs’ Defense Suffers Another Injury
Speaks is just the latest on the long list of Chiefs that are banged up in the preseason. Newly acquired Tyrann Mathieu has missed sometime with a shoulder injury. His status for week one is not currently in question.
Darron Lee left Saturday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers with a chest injury. Now, Speaks will have surgery and join Keith Reaser, who will miss the entire 2019 season with a torn Achilles.
The Chiefs defense is not one that can afford to suffer injuries to key players. In 2018, the Chiefs were one of the worst defensive teams in all of football. They brought in Spagnuolo and Mathieu, along with Frank Clark, to bolster that side of the ball. Heading into the regular season, there was no guarantee that they would be better but signs were pointing up.
On the offensive side of the ball, Marcus Kemp will miss the season with a torn ACL and MCL. Their key offensive players look healthy and have been performing well in the preseason.
For the Chiefs, this is a season that has them as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. To do so, their defense will have to improve dramatically, and they have to remain healthy. So far, staying healthy has been an issue.