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Chiefs' plans for Terrell Suggs bigger than keeping him from Ravens

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The eyes of his new teammates and coaches were on Terrell Suggs this week when he walked into the Kansas City Chiefs' defensive meeting room for the first time. They wanted to know what he would bring to the table, literally.

In this case, it was a spiral notebook and a pen. When his coaches started talking about the plan for Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC), Suggs started writing.

"He was taking notes," said defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who previously coached Suggs for a couple of seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. "That's Terrell Suggs."

There's no time to waste. The Chiefs plan for Suggs to be part of the defensive end rotation against the Bears.

He is listed on this week's depth chart as a backup at left defensive end to Tanoh Kpassagnon, which is an accurate picture of where he stands. But the Chiefs won't put limits on him against the Bears or beyond.

Suggs, 37, was claimed off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals this week. Suggs, who is ninth on the NFL's career sack list with 138, will be more than a situational pass-rusher.

"We'll use him wherever we can," Spagnuolo said. "It's not going to be, 'Hey, you're only going in on third down.' Where he can help us, he'll help us. We'll put him in there.

"The guy is strong, physical, sets the edge of the defense. All of that stuff is still there. ... I think we'll just basically go off how he feels both physically and mentally."

Regardless of how much he winds up playing, it's clear the Chiefs didn't claim Suggs merely to keep him away from the Ravens, the AFC's No. 1 seed. Suggs played in Baltimore for 16 seasons before he joined the Cardinals this year and the Ravens were behind the Chiefs in the order of waiver claims.

The Chiefs need Suggs. They lost defensive ends Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah for the season with injuries, leaving them with Kpassagnon, Frank Clark and Demone Harris at end. Clark has played a limited amount of snaps the past two weeks because of a stomach ailment and Harris joined the Chiefs only recently off Baltimore's practice squad.

In any case, Suggs didn't agree to come to the Chiefs to sit on the bench.

"Hopefully, I can come in and contribute right off the bat," Suggs said. "This was a team that was a penalty away from the Super Bowl last year so they're not missing much. Hopefully I can add that extra addition that we can kind of potentially do something special.

"I'm going to play my heart out. It's going to be new for all of us, but it's going to be fun. I'm going to leave it all out there.”

Suggs shouldn't have a huge amount to learn before Sunday. He and Spagnuolo were together in Baltimore in 2013 and 2014, though Spagnuolo wasn't the coordinator.

"I would say he's plug-and-play, but there are things that he also has to go back and review," coach Andy Reid said. "He is a meticulous note taker and he studies. He is very passionate about making sure that he knows everything -- not only about his play, but how he goes about his business. He was digging in [Wednesday] morning and getting everything down, making sure that he has all of the ins and outs of the defense down."

When Suggs initially went on waivers, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach approached Spagnuolo for a scouting report. His questions were less about Suggs as a player and more about what he was like as a person and a teammate to others in the locker room.

Spagnuolo told Veach, among other things, that Suggs was "as passionate about football as anyone I've ever been around."

In Spagnuolo's first season with the Ravens, he was more of a general defensive assistant coach who wasn't tied to any one position.

"I found myself gravitating to the outside linebacker meeting room, where Terrell Suggs was because I found those meetings ... to be very engaging and to be perfectly honest, very informative for me," Spagnuolo said. "Part of it was because of his interaction in talking football and how much he wanted to know about what we were and what the other team was doing and not just what he was doing. He wanted to know it all."

Chief offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz played against Suggs twice each season early in his career when he was with the Cleveland Browns. Schwartz and the Chiefs also played against Suggs and the Ravens last season, when Suggs and a teammate combined for a sack.

"I just remember watching film and preparing for him and thinking, 'Man, this guy still plays well,' " Schwartz said. "He's still doing it and he's still doing it at a high level. Pass-rushers, once they get to a certain age, typically they start to slow down, but it doesn't look like that's happening with him.

"He's got that veteran feel where maybe he's not supposed to do something on a certain play but he just kind of knows what's going to happen and he makes a play."

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he saw that quality from Suggs in last season's game.

"There was one time where they were blitzing away from him and I knew he was dropping [into pass coverage], but I was trying to check into a different play and I don't know if he had seen it from weeks before, but I went to throw the ball and he was right where I wanted to throw the ball," Mahomes said. "That just shows the film study and the preparation he puts in, that he understands the game and he has the experience to disrupt what the quarterbacks want to do.

"As he gets more and more reps and he gets more and more time here, you'll see him being incorporated more and more into the games. He understands so much already [and] he'll be able to pick up the plays fast and understand what they need to do and what his role is as far as every play goes."