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Chiefs rookie LB Willie Gay Jr. earns start in Week 4 against Patriots

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A rookie for the Kansas City Chiefs has received the first start of his career against the New England Patriots tonight.

Rookie LB Willie Gay Jr., selected with pick No. 63 in the 2020 NFL Draft, received his first career start. He had only played 15 defensive snaps through the first three games to the season. Most of his snaps on special teams and he recorded his most impactful play in Week 2 against the Chargers with a tipped punt. By Week 4, Gay has earned his first opportunity to start in Kansas City and it’s not due to injuries or anything like that.

While Gay has just two total tackles in the first three games of the season, his impact hasn’t been seen on the stat sheet. He’s provided speed on the coverage units and he’s been mostly sound in his defensive snaps. He had a solid run blitz against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3.

Gay adds a much-needed infusion of athleticism and speed at the linebacker position for Kansas City. Their linebackers have struggled in coverage and on the ground. Gay, of course, ran a 4.46 at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine and carries the nickname “Turbo” for how quickly he plays in practice.

His start comes at a time when the Chiefs are set to face a Patriots team that likes to throw the ball to their running backs and tight ends. They’ll do so even more with backup QB Brian Hoyer under center.

It appears that Gay has taken over at the SAM linebacker position, while Damien Wilson has shifted over to the WILL spot in place of Ben Niemann.