KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs rookie linebacker Ramik Wilson added to his team-leading preseason tackles during Friday night’s 34-10 win against the Tennessee Titans.
Wilson recorded four solo tackles, pushing his total through three exhibition games at 13 (12 solo).
While the game appears to come easy to the team’s fourth-round pick in May’s NFL Draft, Wilson is quick to point out the reason for his early success.
“(Linebackers) Coach (Gary) Gibbs, (inside linebackers) Josh Mauga and Derrick Johnson,” Wilson said after the game. “They’ve been coaching me, developing me, teaching me everything about how to play linebacker in the NFL. It’s starting to pay off.”
Mauga has yet to play in the preseason after suffering a heel injury late in training camp, and his absence opened the door for Wilson to see extended playing time with the first- and second-team defenses.
Wilson admits he has plenty of room to grow in the Chiefs’ 3-4 defensive scheme, which is the same system he played in at Georgia.
But the familiarity helps him hit the ground running, even when defending against the pass.
“I’m still getting adjusted to the game, the speed of the game,” Wilson said. “But we got a great system here that allows me to react on the ball better, read a lot of stuff. It’s pretty much the coverage is good for my abilities. I can break on the ball, sit in my zone and read the quarterback. It’s helping me a lot.”
Wilson said he will continue to work hard and trust in Gibbs, Mauga and Johnson while he makes the transition to the professional level.
And things have been going well, indeed, as the Chiefs build depth at the inside linebacker position behind Johnson and Mauga.
So, is the 6-2, 237-pound Wilson perfect for the Chiefs’ scheme or is it the scheme an ideal fit for him?
“The system is perfect for me,” he said with a smile. “I just got to keep working hard and learning from the great dudes in front of me and I’ll be just fine.”
WILLIAMS HAVING FUN
Wide receiver Fred Williams had himself a game with five catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns, and he enjoyed himself.
“It’s definitely fun to come out here on the home field and perform the way that I did,” Williams said. “I just want to continue to make plays.”
Performing is all Williams has done since training camp and through three preseason games.
The former St. Cloud State star, who spent the 2014 season on the practice squad, leads the Chiefs in receiving with 13 catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns with one preseason game to go.
The first roster cuts from 90 players to 75 occurs Tuesday, Sept. 1, followed by cuts from 75 to the 53-man roster on Sept. 5.
Williams has made a strong case to make it through the cuts given his performances.
Eight players represented the University of Missouri on the field Friday night.
The Chiefs have quarterback Chase Daniel, rookie center Mitch Morse, and wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and L’Damian Washington.
The Titans have rookie wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, tight end Chase Coffman, long snapper Beau Brinkley and linebacker Zaviar Gooden.
“That was crazy,” Daniel said with a chuckle. “It was like Mizzou West tonight at Arrowhead. I talked to Beau Brinkley, I talked to Chase Coffman for a while, I saw DGB. Obviously, we got our guys on this team. I didn’t see Zaviar Gooden, but it was awesome to see all those guys out there and how much they’ve made it in the league so far.”
Friday night also reunited Daniel, Maclin and Coffman as recent inductees to Missouri’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.
The heavy Missouri presence in an NFL preseason contest meant one thing to Maclin, who finished the game with seven catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.
“Mizzou is moving up in the world, man,” Maclin said with a big smile.
Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson (shoulder) and defensive end Mike DeVito (stinger) left the game in the first half, but coach Andy Reid only had an update on Wilson after the game.
“Albert had an AC sprain and he had it X-rayed,” Reid said. “He’s going to be fine. It was a minor thing. We came out healthy, which is always a plus of the preseason.”
The Chiefs close out the preseason against the Rams in St. Louis on Sept. 3.
Starters will barely – if at all – see action, so Wilson will have plenty of time to recover before the start of the regular season.
Starting left tackle Eric Fisher (high ankle-sprain) and projected starting right guard Jeff Allen (knee) have missed two straight preseason games, and it doesn’t sound like they’ll play in the preseason finale.
“I would probably bet against that,” Reid said. “Both of them.”
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.