KANSAS CITY, Mo — It's no secret that the Kansas City Chiefs ranked second-to-last in total defense last year, prompting a series of changes and upgrades in the offseason.
Among the biggest additions was safety Tyrann Mathieu, who's occasionally battled injuries during his career but is hoping a change of scenery in Kansas City can also change his fortunes.
He certainly hasn't shied away from becoming the face of the new-look defense.
"I'm really trying to learn the defense inside and out, (especially) the four positions in the back end," Mathieu said. "But my teammates and my coaches put what they can on my plate. Me, as a professional, I go out here and do my job."
Mathieu is coming off a solid 2018 campaign with the Houston Texans in which he recorded 89 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes considers Mathieu one of the game's best defenders.
"He's a monster and still is, just a guy who is able to do everything and is really good at every aspect of football," Mahomes said. "(He's) a great football player."
Part of the hope with the Mathieu signing is that he'll bring intensity and accountability to Kansas City's defense, providing an identity it hasn't had in recent years.
"It’s really trying to build a defense with an attitude," Mathieu said. "I think any time you can have 10 or 11 guys with a chip on their shoulder, with an edge, a certain kind of presence, a certain kind of attitude, a certain kind of swagger you can create a collective identity and I think that’s really what we’re trying to do."
Chiefs coach Andy Reid has nothing but praise for the defensive back.
"His instincts are incredible," Reid said. "They were incredible in college at LSU, and they're incredible in the National Football League. We are seeing it out here, the same thing."
But it's more than just his physical ability on the football field.
Mathieu has become more of a vocal leader, taking several of the younger players under his wing and introducing them to the NFL. Maybe one day, they also can be NFL stars like Mathieu.