Every year it seems a crowd favourite from a relatively unknown background comes to Chiefs camp, turns a few heads and inevitably makes the team. This year it’s Ben Niemann’s turn.
Just 5 months ago the Chiefs said goodbye to their beloved #56. With an emphasis to get younger and quicker, Brett Veach decided it was best to cut ties with Derrick Johnson, allowing him to try and find work elsewhere. A crowd favourite had moved on. A staple of the Chiefs defence was no longer on the team. In Anthony Hitchens, Reggie Ragland, Terrance Smith and Ukeme Eligwe the Chiefs thought they had their group to progress. No one was meant to gate crash their party; Ben Niemann didn’t get the message.
With a standout performance against the Texans, he was one of the few players that impressed in the week one match up. On many occasions he was first to the ball, he was the first to recognise and he was first in the back field. All of the above in keeping with what former Iowa teammate Josey Jewell had to say about Ben.
I think Ben’s got a lot to offer a team. Maybe he hasn’t gotten the big hype and stuff like that – I think he’s fine without it – but I think he’ll do a great job on a tea, whatever team he goes to and whatever he does. I think he’s a sneaky fast guy. He’s a football player, that’s for sure.
When players find themselves further down the depth chart, it can often be the little things that can make the difference. Yes the film doesn’t lie but it can be the intangibles that often mean a roster spot or not. “Play as I hard I can” as Ben pointed out just before camp.
I don’t know what’s going to happen – that’s all up to the coaches and the GM and the organisation. All I can do is go in with a good attitude and play as hard as I can and give it a good effort. Whether I make it or not I’ll have no regrets if I do that. That’s all I can ask for.
The hard work paid further dividends just this Friday against the Falcons, when he made four tackles and of course scored a pick six whilst almost murdering a referee. Whilst the score will make the headlines, it is his ability to always be in the right place and the right time that holds the real value. But for entertainment sake, here is the video of the score anyway.
(Peep how the referee narrowly avoided disaster 🤣)
— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) August 18, 2018
As the Mahomes’ hype train is basically at max capacity we need a new one to jump aboard, and jump aboard we certainly have.
Yes or no. Does Ben Niemann make the final 53? pic.twitter.com/Sf6O1TEnM
— Arrowheads Abroad (@KCChiefs_UK) August 18, 2018
— Darren Arreola (@darren_arreola) August 18, 2018
Hope so. He has shown a knack for good reading the play coming at him amd then making a play. Seems like he could play inside or out as well. Versitle. Great nose for the ball.
— AdRock (@Sarge_AC) August 19, 2018
Why would he not
— I · XXX · MCMXCIV (@callmeberniemac) August 18, 2018
48 replies so far, 47 of them says he makes the team.
Cc: Andy Reid and Brett Veach
With two solid games under his belt and an impressive camp, it’s really hard to see a scenario where Ben doesn’t make the team. At the expense of who? I have no idea, but there is no way that the Chiefs will be able to successfully stash him away on the practice squad. He may not get picked up from there immediately but injuries happen. Eventually someone somewhere will have a need for a linebacker, and with this much good film on record Ben will be one of the first to be signed.
It’s a big two weeks for Ben. His playing time over the next couple of games should go up. He will have ample opportunities to nail down his spot. Carry on like this and he will be a lock for the final 53.