KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While Jordan Lucas worked on the practice field Wednesday afternoon acclimating himself to the Chiefs' defensive schemes, special teams and terminology, his fiancee Taylor met with the movers to pack up all their belongings so he can finally settle into his new home in Kansas City.
“Nothing's in there but the air mattress and one TV,” Lucas said about his new digs in Kansas City. “Once I get my stuff and then my fiancee gets here, I feel like everything will really slow down for me, because since I got there everything has just been non-stop.”
Lucas may not yet have the comforts of home, but he immediately found his niche on the squad's special teams. His 53 snaps on special teams through two games leads the Chiefs. Only Baltimore's Chuck Clark and Chris Board with 54 snaps have more special teams work under their belt this season than Lucas.
“It feels great to come in and just play,” Lucas said about quickly working his way into the lineup. “One thing that I love is playing football, so coming in and having the opportunity to play right away, who wouldn't want that.”
Lucas came to the Chiefs following the team's final preseason game. General manager Brett Veach sent a 2020 seventh-round selection to the Dolphins for Lucas to fill a void on special teams. The absence of safety Daniel Sorensen for at least the first half of the season deprived the Chiefs of one of their strongest special teams assets.
The former Penn State Nittany Lion entered the league as a sixth-round selection for the Dolphins in 2016 and quickly cemented himself as one of the team's leading special teams players. Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub said on tape he saw in Lucas a hard worker who could do all the things the team would ask him to do.
“He's a leader, he's a vocal leader and he leads by example,” Toub said. “Then we met, and he was able to carry over. And he's a smart guy, he's instinctive and he just fit in.”
Lucas arrived in the locker room at perhaps one of the most difficult times in the season to join a new squad. The training camp roster of 90 players who toiled in the heat of July and August together quickly pared down to 53 in one weekend, and a face enters the picture at the last minute. But Lucas said he felt welcomed the moment he arrived.
“This is a team, everybody has each other's back here,” Lucas said. “The coaching staff is beyond great here. Coach Reid, he does a great job. That's all I could really ask for coming in, just feeling the energy from everybody and it shows out there on the football field.”
He also found a kindred spirit in Toub. Both hail from Westchester County in New York. “He's a New Yorker too, so it worked for me,” Toub said.
“I just like the way he attacks it, he attacks meetings, the way he schemes up,” Lucas said of his new special teams coach. “It works, it definitely works.”
The Chiefs also like the versatility Lucas offers as prospective safety. He played just 25 snaps on defense last season for the Dolphins, compared to 182 on special teams. But he played both cornerback and safety at Penn State, and Lucas takes pride in playing multiple roles.
“I'm learning a couple of different positions, and when my number is called I'll be ready,” he said. “That's how I'm looking at.”
Right now the third-year player spends his extra time picking up the defense. While special teams may vary slightly from one club to another, Lucas said it's still special teams, and it's all “about adjusting and adjusting fast.”
Defense, however takes more studying, film work and practice time.
“You go to a different team, it might be some the same coverages but it's just different terminology, different checks and different formations,” Lucas said.
Each day at practice Lucas lines up with the scout team tasked with preparing the No. 1 offense for each week's game. That means going up against speedsters such as Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and De'Anthony Thomas, among others. He says he's never watched an offense as high-powered as the one he faces on the practice field, and testing his mettle against that group each day is helping him develop quickly as a defender.
“The different looks I'm getting, I get to work on my technique a lot,” Lucas said. “The great thing about it is we talk about everything. I'm talking to Tyreek, I'm talking to DAT, Sammy about different looks. As far as me trying to help get them better, they're also getting me better. I love it.”
Lucas didn't see the trade coming, but it's a move thus far that paid off for him personally and professionally.
“This team is full of talent and everybody gels so well together here,” Lucas said. “I think that's why this team is destined for greatness as long as we keep doing what we have to do, listen to the coaching and get better week by week, I think we'll be OK.”