E.J. Gaines doesn't get to ease his way back to football.
After spending two weeks healing from his first-ever concussion, Gaines is poised to return this Sunday to face the best offense in football (and his hometown team), the Kansas City Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes has emerged as a front-runner for MVP, Tyreek Hill puts his "Cheetah" nickname to shame, Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie and Travis Kelce is one of the best tight ends in football.
Welcome back, E.J.
"Yeah, right?" Gaines said about his first game back being against the league's best offense. "Yeah this is going to be a fun one to come back for, though. I am excited. Playing against my hometown, and I am excited. A lot of family coming up to watch this game."
Concussion or not, the Chiefs present a sizable challenge for any secondary in their path. Only the Denver Broncos have held the Chiefs to less than 30 points, and even then the Chiefs scored 27 and won.
The Chiefs' speed stands out most, particularly from Hill — who will presumably match up with Denzel Ward. Ward acknowledged that Hill looks fast on film. But so do Sammy Watkins and Kelce. And Hunt and … the entire offense, really. They run fast, they play fast, they score fast. The catalyst behind the operation throws fast.
"They have a good quarterback, too," Ward said. "(Their offensive success) is not just speed. (Hill), he is a real good player. He is fast, but they have other weapons too like their tight ends and No. 14 (Watkins) on their team. They have a lot of guys in each position that can make plays and it all starts with their quarterback."
Ward can run, too.
He held Jackson, one of the league's fastest players. to two catches for 25 yards two weeks ago. But Hill might be even faster. Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs are better than Tampa and most other teams Ward's faced at most every position.
But Ward and the secondary won't change their ways because a good offense is visiting. There are no statements to be made.
"We have to have tight coverage this week just like every week," Ward said. "We will see how it goes."