Twenty months after his unit’s command performance against an injury-besieged Chiefs offensive line in Super Bowl 55, Shaquil Barrett is predicting equal dominance in Sunday night’s sequel.
Though Kansas City’s line has undergone nearly a total makeover since that 31-9 defeat, Barrett — one of Patrick Mahomes’ primary tormentors that night — said Wednesday he sees little difference between the Chiefs’ current unit and the one the Bucs exploited for three sacks on Feb. 7, 2021.
“I think we have a lot of favorable matchups,” Barrett said to reporters via Zoom from the Dolphins facility in Miami Gardens, where the team has relocated to avoid the worst effects of Hurricane Ian.
“I just think we’ve got an opportunity to really impose our will as pass rushers (and) as edge rushers this game, and we can really have like a coming-out party...as edge defenders and as a position group for this game.”
The Chiefs’ offensive front hobbled into Raymond James Stadium for the Super Bowl, missing both of its injured starting tackles (Mitchell Schwartz and Pro Bowler Eric Fisher). As a result, the Bucs recorded eight hurries of Mahomes (in addition to the three sacks) and forced him into the worst passer rating of his career (52.3) to that point.
Additionally, Mahomes threw incompletions on eight of his first nine passes as the relentless pass rush allowed Bucs coach Todd Bowles — then the defensive coordinator — to diversify his coverages on the back end.
This season, right tackle Andrew Wylie remains the only Chiefs starting offensive lineman from that game. The others: free-agent signee and 2019 second-team All-Pro Joe Thuney (left guard), former two-time first-team All-SEC pick Trey Smith (right guard), second-year center Creed Humphrey and three-time Pro Bowler Orlando Brown Jr. (left tackle).
Mahomes has been sacked twice in three games. Not that Barrett has noticed.
“I really don’t think it’s too much of a difference,” he said.
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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