Frank Clark’s expectations for Chiefs’ pass rush in 2021

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As the Kansas City Chiefs begin mandatory minicamp preparing for a bounce-back season, hopeful for another return to the Super Bowl, they’re keeping expectations reasonable. Pro Bowl defensive end Frank Clark has his finger on the pulse of the defense as a team leader in his third season.

Clark is fresh off of back-to-back Pro Bowl selections, quickly establishing himself as one of the top players in the league. He started and played in all but one game last season, recording six sacks. It wasn’t exactly the top-flight season that he was hoping for in terms of statistics and he’s hoping to do more in 2021.

The veteran defensive end spoke with reporters on Tuesday, sharing his personal goals and goals for the team while assessing the previous year’s performance.

“Just fulfilling my goals. I didn’t hit my goals last year—well, I hit some of them”, said Clark. “I didn’t hit all of them—one of them being my sack numbers and stuff like that. But like I said, you’ve got to be able to wash your mind of it. It’s a long year, it’s been a long two years for us, and I just look forward to getting back out there when the season starts and doing what I love to do—rushing the passer and stopping the run.”

The Chiefs’ defense made even more strides last season as the unit’s core group of players continues to gel. Clark expressed his optimism for the team and expects more from the young talent already on the roster.

“Man, I feel like we’re going to have a lot of fun out there,” said Clark. “We’ve got a lot of young guys that are willing to step up. Some guys you don’t even need to name, you’ve got Khalen Saunders, and it’s a lot of young talent. I feel like over the first few years we had, we were new, we didn’t really know each other. It was one of those types of things where we were playing. Still, I feel like at this point going into Year 3; basically, with our foundation kind of being set now with us knowing the layout of our defense, knowing where each person is going to be, knowing how each person plays, I feel like that all plays into our favor, honestly.”

The defense is steadily improving and is a far cry from the struggles they faced just three years ago, ranking among the worst units in the league. Clark’s leadership will be vital if the young players he mentioned are to develop as he predicted. His ability to bounce back and have a strong statistical season will also be vital to the defensive outcome in 2021.

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