Defence – If you’re going to be wrong, be fast.
If you asked 10 people what’s wrong with the Chiefs, 10/10 would start with the Defence, so why start anywhere else? The general consensus is the Defence just has to be average and the Chiefs will find themselves in their third Super Bowl in as many seasons. In 2019 they were ranked 14th in DVOA and last season 22nd, this year it is a different story they rank 31st. .
But why is the Defence so bad?
After three years of the Spagnuolo experience, The Chiefs still have some very familiar faces on very big contracts, they also still prioritise perceived intelligence over athletic ability. The 2021 Defence however looks like they have neither, teams have consistently ran a hurry up style offense after discovering the Defence cant get on the same page, in fact one play against The Chargers, Alex Okafor was stood in a line-backer position when the ball was snapped, by the time he got the his position at right end, Justin Herbert was on his way to celebrate in the endzone.
There is also a remarkable lack of pass rush, The Chris Jones experiment doesn’t seem to be working, combined with injuries to him and Frank Clark has left KC toothless and exposing an asset light secondary. If it wasn’t for Sneed, this cornerback room would arguably be the worst in the league, Chiefs took fliers on Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker, who they acquired for the change in Veach’s back-pocket, both have had to step into starting roles after Ward’s injury (undrafted by the way).
We haven’t even got on to Dan Sorensen who is starting ahead of the ‘untrusted’ Jaun Thornhill. To complete to tour of defensive problems, the linebacking group consists of a Willie Gay, Nick Bolton, Anthony Hitchens and Ben Niemann, none of which look like they could track down a rogue shopping cart in the wind and if they did catch up to it they still wouldn’t tackle it.
Remember when the Arrowheads Abroad Podcast crew took Trevon Diggs and Gregory Rousseau in back to back drafts? We do!
Diggs, a pro bowl calibre CB went at 51 to the Cowboys, 19 picks after KC took Clyde Edwards-Helaire, I know who I’d prefer on the roster right now.
Rousseau is a different story, he went one pick before KCs original first round pick which they traded to acquire a LT. I don’t deny the Chiefs needed Orlando Brown but it shows how much we also thought KC needed pass rush and it’s evident right now.
Brett Veach is living off his ability to identify a certain Patrick Mahomes, but Dorsey was the one that sent the card in. There is a severe lack of ‘Blue Chip’ talent on the roster from drafting alone, it feels like a whole lot of ‘C’ grades or not on the roster anymore, oh or special teamers, because that alone is a valid contribution on our roster.
My point is the Defence could look a lot different and a lot younger in key positions, even if we have spent two second round picks … in two years … on linebackers.
Trust – Having trust issues never ends well.
Welcoming the offensive side of the ball to the equation. The Chiefs offense while still very very good, doesn’t look to be clicking quite as much as years gone by. The mantra that “we have Patrick Mahomes, everything will be fine” actually looks to be on his shoulders every time he drops back to pass. We have seen two of the three worst Patrick Mahomes games in the opening five games this season. But trust you say? I refuse to believe Patrick Mahomes trusts Mecole Hardman full stop, add in Demarcus Robinson and you have two guys that between them cant run routes or catch, not a great combo. KC seems to be missing Sammy Watkins who Mahomes could trust to get open (when he was on the field) but they have tried to address this with the signing of Josh Gordon who got his first catch on Sunday night (Monday morning).
Mahomes is also still learning he can trust his offensive line and step up into the pocket, this is improving and long may it continue!
Then there is Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the dynamic pass catching running back that was sending shudders down defensive coordinators spines on draft day in 2020. Clyde has underwhelmed many, myself included, a tall order in a covid season and the stigma of being a first round running back when ‘running backs don’t matter’. CEH is yet to be trusted to run routes out the backfield as he did at LSU and we are yet to see the famous angle routes he’s supposed to be so good at, add into the mix a couple of fumbles and Clyde now looks like he’s running with his arms crossed on every carry.
The Defence cant be trusted either but there’s a whole section on them already.
The Chiefs aren’t getting enough for the $91+million they are spending on the Defence, that’s nearly $20 million more than the offense by the way. Frank Clark has struggled to stay healthy and even then he hasn’t contributed a sack this season, but he’s a ‘playoff player’. He also accounts for $25,800,000 on the cap.
Anthony Hitchens is a limited player but an organiser … wait The Chiefs Defence isn’t organised, but he’s good at stopping the run … Oh the Chiefs can’t stop the run. Truth is, it’s not all on Hitch, but KC are wildly overpaying. When signed he had a comparable deal to Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner’s new deals at the time. This left Bleacher Report to name it as the worst contract in recent Chiefs history.
That brings me on nicely to Tyrann Mathieu, when he joined he signed a 3 year, $42,000,000 contract, one which you would say we very much got value for, however after this season he will be a free agent unless KC do a deal to bring him back. Jamal Adams and the Seahawks agreed to terms on a four-year extension worth $70 million this season, Tyrann already sits in the number seven spot in top earners at his position but with his importance now more than ever to this Chiefs Defence, he can basically write whatever number he wants down on a piece of paper and pass it to Brett Veach, a situation you could argue should have been resolved before the draft, now the price has gone up.
In conclusion there is a lot wrong with the 2021 version of the Chiefs, but it could be worse, your Head Coach could be 0-5, in a bar with a nice blonde not in the film room, he could be having his emails scrutinised like a certain AFC West Darth Vader. Your Quarterback could be not the best in the world. You could not have the best TE and WR in the league. A successful season could be a +.500 record.
We have very high standards for this Chiefs teams, ones they have set themselves, but let’s enjoy the rough with the smooth! The Chiefs will be in the playoffs come January and Mahomes will have thrown more passes to lineman than the 2014 Chiefs had to wide receivers.