Ex-Texans DB Tyrann Mathieu Thriving For Kansas City Chiefs

Mathieu had three interceptions and three pass breakups in the last six weeks of the season

Brandon Scott
January 07, 2020 - 1:29 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- Tyrann Mathieu is thriving in Kansas City.

After spending one season with the Houston Texans, Mathieu left in free agency last offseason for a three-year, $42 million deal with the Chiefs.

All he's done is lead the team with four interceptions, 12 pass knockdowns and 63 solo tackles on the way to his second career first-team all-pro selection.

Mathieu had three interceptions and three pass breakups in the last six weeks of the regular season.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he talked to Texans head coach Bill O'Brien before signing Mathieu. 

O'Brien, according to Reid, wanted Mathieu back but the business of football would not allow it.

The price for Mathieu was just too high for the Texans, who ended up replacing him with Tashaun Gipson Sr. for half the amount.

Reid said he had an idea of what to expect when Mathieu arrived.

"(O'Brien) told me he was a phenomenal kid on the field and off, great leader, so I kind of had a heads up on what we were getting here," Reid said Monday. 

“I just want him to be himself, and you start having to put things on like that, make it up — that normally doesn’t work. Guys normally read through it, but I think it just comes natural with him.”

At the NFL Combine last Februrary -- before Mathieu hit free agency and was still with the Texans -- O'Brien touted Mathieu for being voted a captain by his teammates after just being there from the 2018 offseason program through training camp.

"I think that says a lot about the impact he had, not just as a player, but also what he meant leadership wise in the locker room," O'Brien said in February.

Now, he's doing for the Texans' divisional round opponent Sunday.

The Chiefs defense feeds off Mathieu's energy, both because of his high-level play and magnetic personality.

As O'Brien acknowledged Monday, Mathieu is a big part of the Chiefs' improved defense.

He's playing everywhere -- nickel corner, safety. He blitzes, he covers, he steps up to defend the run.

Mathieu had a season-high 10 solo tackles in the Chiefs' loss to the Texans on Oct. 13. 

Expect him to be a major factor in Sunday's game.

SportsRadio 610 morning show host Seth Payne posed an interesting question Tuesday morning:

How much does Mathieu's familiarity with his former teammate Deshaun Watson factor into the chess match?

Does Mathieu know more about Watson, or does Watson know more about Mathieu?

"Tyrann can be that lurking type of safety that all of sudden pops up out of nowhere," Payne said. "And we know that Deshaun, because he's grown into being a quarterback that's very careful with the ball, that can sometimes affect him unduly. So I think in this situation, it actually helps Deshaun more than it helps (Mathieu).

"I think Deshaun has seen enough of him in practice and training camp to maybe kind of know what Tyrann's bag of tricks is -- when is he actually blitzing, when is he not? When is he cheating on a coverage, when is he making it look like he's cheating on a coverage? All of those things, I think Deshaun might have a few clues on that."

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