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The Chiefs of Defense must address the problems before the NFL playoffs if KC wants a Super Bowl

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one of the themes Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ career has been the team’s mediocre defense.

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Since becoming a team player in 2018, the Chiefs You are not ranked in the top 16 in expected points added or points for each game —and has ranked above average in defensive pass rate only once (2022). The defense hasn’t been bad historically every year besides 2018, but there was only one year where the defense was around league average or better in most defensive stats. That was in 2019 – the year Kansas City won power fiber.

However, the Chiefs have competed for a Super Bowl annually, finishing among the top four teams every season Mahomes has started. This speaks to the greatness of Mahomes. Organizationally speaking, however, the aim was to improve defense beyond average, giving Mahomes some help on the other side of the ball.

But 2022 is another season in which Kansas City has – at best – mediocre defense.

bosses 19th in expected points added per gameranks 14th in success rate, Eighteenth place in points per gameAnd the 31st in red zone defenseAnd the 19th in defense of third place Which Tied for 26th in the takeaway.

None of these stats indicate that the Chiefs are much worse defensively than they have been in other recent seasons. Let’s answer the most important question:

Objectively speaking, Kansas City could win the Super Bowl with their current defense.

I still think so.

However, over the past three weeks, I’ve started to worry that the defense is falling backwards. Overall, the stats still look pretty good. In those three weeks, only chiefs give up 5.0 yards per game – tied for seventh in the NFL – and the rank Ninth in defensive success rate In that period.

But the statistics don’t tell the whole story.

The movie of the past three weeks has been bad. I know this is a story. But every time I sit down to watch this defense, I feel like it’s falling apart structurally. Defense has many problems to solve right now – but if I had to rank the three main ones, here’s what they would be:

  1. No defense in the middle of the field
  2. Weak back play
  3. No rushing passes complements Chris Jones

Let’s dive into the movie:

1. No defense in the middle of the field

This is the main difference between past Spagnuolo defenses and this year. Midfield defense has been poor this year.

Teams consistently operated midfield versus defense, not afraid of attacking linebackers or safety in space. Looking at Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback passing chart Joe Boro vs. the Chiefs, for example:

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What is the main difference between past years and this year? La Terran Mathieu.

Matthew had warts on his game by the end of the Chiefs tenure, but his midfield defense was crucial to the success of this scheme. On any critical touchdowns Matthew would run around the middle of the field on the Tampa 2, no quarterback would target those areas.

Without it, teams don’t feel that fear coursing in there. If you’re going to connect with 2-high coverage, you have to have strong defenders in the middle of the field to make up for that open space, but the Chiefs don’t have that. Teams get a lot of easy completions there.

2. No passes rushing around Chris Jones

Fun fact; Chris Jones He played 81.55% of silly shots this season. For comparison, Jones has played 56.1, 64.5, and 58.5% of snaps over the past three seasons, respectively.

The burden Jones has had to bear this season is unsustainable. Aaron Donald is the only guy I can remember He managed to play more than 80% of the shots and maintaining excellence in defensive tackle. It’s almost impossible to stomach Jones doing this defensive line and he remains stellar throughout the season.

This lamb is beginning to appear on film. Jones He had a disease next week, but Jones is clearly starting to languish over the film’s size and stats. Over the past three games, Jones Totaled two total pressures and only one sack. This is not to say that Jones is playing worse, just that Jones seems to have started to deteriorate over a long season.

The problem is, Kansas City can’t create a fast pass out of Jones. The top four Chiefs defensive ends – Frank Clarke, George Carlaftis, Carlos Dunlap and Mike Dana – It only holds 59 compressions and 15.5 sacks. On average, each defensive end generates 1.18 pressures per game and . 31 sacks per game. Individually, Chris Jones averages 2.14 pressures per game and . 79 sacks per game. If the Chiefs want to create any pass rush they need Jones on the field, but he has reached a point of diminishing returns because Jones has become jaded.

The truth is, Kansas City doesn’t generate enough rush if Jones doesn’t win every time. If he can’t do that, there’s not much the Chiefs can do to generate a pass rush without bluffing, which isn’t a strategy versus elite quarterbacks like Joe Burrow or Josh Allen.

3. Running a weak back

It’s time to start a conversation about the back-of-chiefs.

Nick Bolton and Willie Guy haven’t been so good for large parts of this year. This organization has invested a lot in their development, but neither of them has been particularly good in this latest stretch.

Their games aren’t the same, but both bars are riddled with the same problems: they can’t get out of the blocks and they struggle to read anything in the coverage and make tackles in space. Bolton, in particular, struggles to play any game in space, which reared its ugly head several times on Sunday.

Jay’s biggest problem has been his coverage lately. Whether he’s covering guy reps or trying to find ways to play, Gay’s lately has been a liability in coverage. This has led to Spagnuolo putting Darius Harris on the field – though he’s not playing well either.

The Chiefs have put a lot of investment into Gay and Bolton as cornerstones of defense, but neither has justified that return on investment yet. Both have moments of excellent play, but the overall bar wasn’t good enough, and it hurts the defense.

bottom line

I’m not going to discuss Steve Spagnolo’s long-term position as defensive coordinator while the season continues. There is no point in that now. He’s the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator this season, and nothing’s going to change that.

For me, it’s only worth discussing this season.

In terms of that defense, the movie now sucks. The stats don’t sound terrible, but the Chiefs were lucky enough to take on Malik Willis, Bryce Perkins, Davis Mills, and Matt Ryan’s body to help out with their stats. The movie and the process weren’t very good, and it’s been getting worse lately.

To answer my original question, I think the Chiefs can still win a Super Bowl, even with their defense. Patrick Mahomes and this offense is good enough to do that. However, the margin for error seems incredibly thin. When the offense makes flips or Harrison Butker misses punts, it seems more important than any other point in Spagnuolo’s era.

The margin of error is a particle something in the playoffs. You can’t play perfectly on either side of the ball in qualifying. The Chiefs almost have to play perfectly on offense to compete on a weekly basis. This will not work in the playoffs.

The defense has another three weeks to prove me wrong. This can flip. It’s essential to gain momentum in the playoffs and carry their weight on this team in some capacity. Otherwise, it would be a daunting task to make a deep playoff run.

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