Chiefs rookie Nick Bolton gets start in place of injured LB Anthony Hitchens

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Kansas City Chiefs have a new starter in the middle of the defense against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

The past three seasons under Steve Spagnuolo, there’s seldom been a game without Anthony Hitchens starting at the MIKE linebacker position. He’s been a constant as the defensive play-caller for Kansas City, getting the guys lined up in the right spots pre-snap. This week against the Titans, they’ll be without that constant.

Hitchens suffered an elbow injury during the first half of the Week 6 game against the Washington Football Team. He was spotted with his arm in a sling this week and ruled out of the game on Friday after missing the entire week of practice. There was some question about the players who would get the opportunity to call the defense in his absence. Would they go to second-year LB Willie Gay Jr. or veteran Ben Niemann in his absence? Well, it turns out they’re going with neither.

Rookie LB Nick Bolton, who leads the team in tackles with 40 (also the most among NFL rookies), will get the start in place of Hitchens. When he was selected this year in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, Chiefs GM Brett Veach mentioned Bolton as a player who could backup Hitchens at the MIKE linebacker spot. He has mostly played the SAM and WILL linebacker spots so far this season, but he could be a natural fit in the middle of the defense.

This game could serve as a peek into the future when Kansas City will presumably move on from Hitchens. If Bolton shows progress in the new role, he might not give it up when Hitchens returns from injury. The Chiefs’ performance at the linebacker position has been severely lacking this season and any progress would be a welcomed change at this juncture of the season.

List

Updated Chiefs 53-man roster by jersey number for Week 7