The Kansas City Chiefs recently activated two key players off of the COVID-19 reserve list. They are currently hopeful that Anthony Hitchens and Michael Danna can play on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
The defending Superbowl champions finished their season 14-2 and are looking to repeat their success. While we all know about their fantastic offense, the defense has improved as well. Players like Anthony Hitchens and Michael Danna can be held accountable for that.
Hitchens’ and Danna’s Season With the Chiefs
The Chiefs have added depth to their defense through this previous draft. One of the players they added is Michael Danna, who played his college ball at Michigan. The 2020 fifth-rounder has come in and showcased his skills and immediately helped the defensive front. Danna played an average of 38% of defensive snaps this season and still put up some good numbers.
In the last game Kansas City played, Head Coach Andy Reid decided to rest most of the starters. This gave rookies like Michael Danna an opportunity to show exactly what they can do, and he did that. The box score won’t show his effect on the game, but Danna was continually putting pressure on the Chargers offensive line.
The 23-year-old defensive end finished his rookie season with three sacks and six quarterback hits. For someone that has not had a ton of time, those are impressive numbers. His impact as a critical role player will be shown this Sunday against the Browns.
Anthony Hitchens has undoubtedly been the best linebacker on this defense. While he hasn’t played since week 15 against the New Orleans Saints, Hitchens played nearly every game prior. His leadership on the field is one of the things Kansas City loves about him. Hitchens may not be the most physical or talented guy, but he does what needs to be done. There are not many other players that you can say that about in the linebacker room.
Hitchens finished his seventh NFL season with 78 tackles, which is the lowest of his Chiefs career. However, he was not needed to make those types of plays as much this season. The defense, as mentioned earlier, played to everyone’s strengths, and not one individual stood out too far from the rest.
What this Means for Sunday’s Game
As you all may know by now, the Chiefs are playing Cleveland this Sunday. This is a matchup that will feature a good offense on the opposing side. With all of the recent injuries at linebacker to Ben Niemann and Willie Gay Jr, Hitchens’s return could not have come at a better time.
As for Michael Danna, he will be a crucial part of how defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will rotate players in. Guys like Frank Clark turned his play level up last season when he finally got healthy, and if they can keep him as rested as possible, it will help this team come February. Michael Danna gives coach Spags an option at defensive end when Clark needs a quick rest while also not jeopardizing the defense.
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