KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Justin March-Lillard heading to injured reserve this week opens up a new competition for the starting role as inside linebacker alongside veteran Derrick Johnson.
Johnson indicated Thursday that Sam Barrington would likely get first crack at the job.
“You got Sam that’s stepping in for Justin March,” Johnson said. “You got Ramik Wilson who’s played right, so he’ll be ready to go at that position too.”
There’s no shortage of candidates for the job. The Chiefs acquired Barrington via waivers from the Green Bay Packers just before the season began in September. Wilson, recently promoted from the practice squad, battled with March-Lillard for the job during training camp.
Sio Moore, signed as a free agent earlier this month following his release by Indianapolis, also has experience playing inside.
“We kind of have a group of guys, Barrington, the guys that have been working there,” Reid said. “Sio has played a little inside, then Wilson has done it for us. He’d probably be the one that knows the most right now. We just have to see.”
Reid said each player would get a chance to play in the absence of March-Lillard.
“What we’re going to do is kind of let them go at it and see,” Reid said. “Give them a shot and see how they do. ”
Barrington played in a 3-4 defensive scheme in Green Bay, which helped him acclimate to the Chiefs defensive system quickly.
“I think anytime you come to a new team in the NFL and try to pick up a defense, it’s always going to be challenge,” Barrington said. “My teammates and the coaches have done a great job assisting me with that.”
Barrington played 22 games with eight starts for Green Bay during his first three seasons in the league. He recorded 43 with a sack and a pass defended.
Chiefs fans saw Barrington during the preseason, when he started for the Packers in the finale at Arrowhead Stadium. He picked up two tackles.
During his rookie season, Barrington recorded a sack against Chiefs quarterback Tyler Bray during a preseason game in 2013.
Johnson has proven to be one of he more valuable resources for Barrington catching up on the Chiefs playbook. Johnson recently said he wants to coach after his playing career is over, and Barrington says he’s a coach on the field for him.
“He knows everything,” Barrington said. “Every time I get a chance to pick his brain, I definitely take advantage of it.”