Collins has hit the open market — could the Chiefs make a play for him to fill their SAM linebacker role?"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Kansas City Chiefs NewsOpen ThreadsFull ArchiveLibrary Community GuidelinesContact InformationOdds Shop About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub 鉁昇FL Free AgencyChiefs free agency 2019The case for Jamie Collins — a luxury SAM linebackerNew Infant Rashad Fenton Jersey ,108commentsCollins has hit the open market — could the Chiefs make a play for him to fill their SAM linebacker role?CSTShareTweetShareShareThe case for Jamie Collins — a luxury SAM linebackerIsaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsSince the Kansas City Chiefs announced Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator, the questions I’ve been asked the most have almost all revolved around the SAM linebacker position. Is that player on the roster? Does ___________ fit as the SAM? Who in the draft can fill that position? It’s a current hole on that side of the ball, and one that could go many different ways.Spagnuolo has typically used a lighter EDGE defender player and one that isn’t necessarily an exceptional athlete. He’s found players late in the draft or free agent cast-offs to fill that role well enough. He just needed a player that could stop the run, cover short distances and rush the passer — but not one that was necessarily elite or even great at any of the three tasks. Teams he’s coached haven’t spent money on that type of player because finding someone who is very good at all facets of the game is a piece that traditionally doesn’t find the open market or is very expensive.Enter Jamie Collins.A former Patriots linebacker — 20 games played with current Chiefs defensive line coach Brendan Daly in 2015-16 — Collins was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2016 for a third-round pick. He was promptly paid a four-year, $50 million contract by the Browns and proceeded to be a major contributor in an underrated front. However, that contract was deemed too hefty for the Browns new coaching staff and general manager John Dorsey this season, leading to the release of the linebacker to save $9.25 million against the cap in 2019.With Collins on the open market, let’s take a quick look at how he’d handle some of the responsibilities he’d be tasked with as a SAM linebacker in the Chiefs defensive front.CoverageCoverage responsibilities for the SAM linebacker are mainly short-zone responsibilities and some man responsibilities against tight ends. In the above snap — on third-and-short — Collins is lined up in the box opposite a tight end in 22 personnel. The box safety is lined up to the outside of Collins, mirroring the boundary tight end. This is a 4-3 under look, with Collins lined up as the SAM linebacker.The ball is snapped and he identifies pass, dropping into a short zone to rob the tight end’s route. When Joe Flacco rolls out and decides to run, Collins shows off his exceptional closing speed to force the quarterback to make a business decision short of the sticks.Collins shows the range required to man up against tight ends in coverage, something that the Chiefs linebackers have either struggled with or weren’t asked to do in the previous couple years. Above, Collins reads a flat route by Cincinnati Bengals tight end CJ Uzomah — a player that the Chiefs covered with Jordan Lucas and Ron Parker in 2018 — and jumps it in the flat. His burst puts him in the throwing lane, and he should have intercepted the pass.These two types of routes — carrying a receiver vertically/robbing the route underneath andman coverage in the flats — are the typical coverage responsibilities for a SAM linebacker in a 4-3 under. Collins shows the ability to do both well, so the coverage box is checked.Run defenseThe speed and quick play ID Collins shows in coverage also translates well to his run defense. His ability to flash off the edge and force blockers to miss pays dividends on the above play.The Denver Broncos line up in a 3x1 bunch formation, and Collins aligns himself outside of the bunch. The motion draws a coverage defender away Rashad Fenton Jersey nfl draft , and the Broncos attempt a toss sweep to the field. Collins sees the play developing and immediately gets upfield ahead of the pulling blocker and the wide receiver. Philip Lindsay is stopped in the backfield for a 7-yard loss, and he didn’t have an opportunity to try to make Collins miss.Collins isn’t just pure speed trying to defend the run, and that’s one of the reasons why he would be a good fit as the SAM. As the Ravens motion a second tight end to Collins’ side of the field, he adjusts his alignment and anchors against the double team. As the run comes to his side of the field, his ability to occupy both blockers without giving up ground allows the force defender and the off-ball linebackers to attack gaps without dealing with blockers on the outside zone run. Yardage is limited, and it’s in no small part to Collins’ work on the edge.A good combination of speed and strength gives Collins the versatility to operate as a strong run defender on the edge of the formation — a key for the SAM linebacker in the 4-3 under.Pass rushThe final piece of the puzzle for a SAM linebacker in a 4-3 under is some pass-rush ability. The SAM typically isn’t a player that excels in pass rush — those players are placed in a position to rush the passer more often — but one who has just enough ability to blitz off the edge and enough rush technique to get the better of a blocker.In this well-designed blitz, Collins flashes his speed up the arc to net himself a sack on Oakland Raider quarterback Derek Carr. Lined up opposite Jordy Nelson in the slot, Collins waits for the defensive end to cross the face of the right tackle, forcing the tackle inside momentarily to pass the end off to the right guard. The right tackle tries to shuffle back to pick up a blitzing Collins, but he’s too fast up the arc and into the backfield.With Spagnuolo’s aggressive blitzing schemes, the pressure will come from everywhere on the front. Having a SAM linebacker that can blitz off the edge and get home against a quarterback that gets the ball out very quickly is a major boon to the blitz packages that he could dial up regularly.Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY SportsCollins checks all the boxes for a 4-3 under SAM linebacker. He would add some much-needed speed to the linebacker corps, and his versatility would give Spagnuolo yet another tool to utilize at his disposal. Collins’ experience playing as an off-ball linebacker also comes in handy in both a rotational role and as desperately needed depth, should the Chiefs suffer an injury to Anthony Hitchens.Unfortunately, that versatility will make him prized by just about team in the league. Collins was due $10 million and $12 million over the next two years, not cheap. He is 28 years old, leaving plenty of time for a team to invest in him and get high-level play — and outside of a torn MCL in 2017, he’s been very healthy.Collins would likely come slightly cheaper than another free agent SAM candidate in Anthony Barr Rashad Fenton Jersey Womens , but he’s still likely to command a pretty penny in the open market. If the Chiefs felt like spending some money to get more athletic and versatile in Spagnuolo’s fronts, they could make a play for Collins. However, with Hitchens already on the books and other holes that need filled — along with Spagnuolo’s typical reluctance to spend big on the position — another expensive linebacker doesn’t seem like a move the Chiefs will make, even if the fit is perfect.But if you’ll allow me this one fleeting moment, I’d like to dream about a versatile front that includes Collins. I’ll be in my happy place. DETROIT (AP) — Patrick Mahomes made more plays than usual with his legs because the Detroit Lions set up their defense to limit what the superstar quarterback could do with his arm.Mahomes converted a fourth down with a run to extend a game-winning drive that ended with Darrel Williams‘ 1-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left for his second score in the fourth quarter, lifting the Kansas City Chiefs to a 34-30 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.“With what they were doing, there were lanes to run,” Mahomes said. “I saw a lane and I took it.”Article continues below ...The reigning MVP had thrown at least two touchdown passes in 14 straight games, one short of the NFL record set by Peyton Manning. And, he was the first player in league history to have at least 350 yards passing and three touchdowns without an interception in three straight games before getting slowed down in Detroit.“They found a way to take away some of the stuff that we like to do,” said Mahomes, who was 24 of 42 for 315 yards. “They hadn’t lost a game for a reason.”Kansas City (4-0) stayed undefeated after starting its game-winning drive on the 21 with 2:25 left. Facing fourth-and-8 from the Chiefs 34, Mahomes dropped back briefly before busting through a hole up the middle for 15 yards to help him finish with a career-high 56 yards rushing.“When they start doubling people, there are going to be some lanes and he knew that,” coach Andy Reid said.The Lions (2-1-1) were determined to take away big plays in Kansas City’s passing game, doubling tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Sammy Watkins with some success. The scheme, though Rashad Fenton Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys , cleared space for Mahomes to run and coach Matt Patricia doesn’t regret it.“If he goes back there and throws it vertical with some of the speed that he has, then I’m not going to be happy,” he said.The plan almost worked.Kansas City went ahead for the first time early in the third quarter when Bashaud Breeland recovered Kerryon Johnson’s fumble and returned it 100 yards, taking advantage of everyone on the field appearing to stop momentarily and the officials not blowing a whistle. The pivotal play stood after review.“We preach that every day,” Breeland said. “You pick up the ball at the end, whether it’s alive or dead. You never know.”The Lions scored the first 10 points and after Kansas City pulled into two ties, they went back ahead late in the second, third and fourth quarters.Stafford threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay with 2:26 left to give Detroit a 30-27 lead. The call on the field stood after a review, which showed Golladay got both feet in the end zone. Golladay had a touchdown overturned by review early in the third because it was ruled he did not maintain control of the ball throughout the process of the catch.Stafford was 21 of 34 for 291 yards with three touchdowns, including two to Golladay and one to T.J. Hockenson. Stafford’s second touchdown pass of the game — and first to Golladay — put Detroit up 23-20 and followed a fifth fumble in the third quarter.“There were a bunch of great plays made in this game, a couple bad plays by each team made in this game,” Stafford said. “That’s the way it goes in the NFL. It came down to the last 15 seconds. They were undefeated coming into this game. So were we. Somebody was going to have to lose“It was a good opportunity to beat a good team, and we were darn close.”WHAT A PLAYMahomes opened the fourth with a 10-yard pass to Kelce, who pitched a lateral to LeSean McCoy and he picked up another 23 yards on a play that wasn’t planned.HOT POTATOThe Chiefs lost three fumbles and Detroit gave it back twice with fumbles in the third quarter, combining for the most fumbles lost in a game since 2014. The Chiefs opened the second half with Mecole Hardman fumbling on the kickoff return. Stafford fumbled on the Kansas City 6 on the ensuing possession and Johnson fumbled into the end zone on Detroit’s next drive. Williams and Watkins also lost a fumble in the quarter.BY THE NUMBERSChiefs: McCoy had a 39-yard run and finished with 56 yards rushing and a TD that pulled Kansas City into a 10-all tie in the second quarter. Kelce had seven receptions for a season-low 85 yards. Watkins had a season-low three receptions for 54 yards.Lions: Johnson had 26 carries for 125 yards, 1 yard short of his total through three games. Golladay caught five passes for 67 yards and matched a career high with two touchdowns.INJURIESChiefs: DE Alex Okafor (hip) and LB Damien Wilson (concussion) left in the fourth quarter.Lions: Hockenson (concussion) was carted off the field in the third quarter and S Quandre Diggs (hamstring) left in the first quarter. CB Darius Slay (hamstring) and WR Danny Amendola (chest) were inactive after both were listed as questionable to play.UP NEXTChiefs: Host the Indianapolis Colts.Lions: Bye week.