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ArrowChop: Heading into the bye-week, what’s the Chiefs’ biggest concern?

Every team has their concerns in a certain area of the roster, so which one is the Chiefs’ largest concern they must work on?

Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of the ArrowChop! This is the column where we look at the positives/negatives of a certain Chiefs/NFL issue and look at both sides of the aisle. Then you, the readers, will come to your conclusions after I lay out the case. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we breakdown this week’s hot topic.

8-1; it’s an exceptional sight to see if you’re a Chiefs fan as it is reality. No one is surprised the Chiefs have this record going into their bye week with the atypical play of Patrick Mahomes II and his offense, Reid’s god-like play-calling that makes defenses tremble in fear, a receiving core that makes defensive backs have nightmares for days on end, and a pass defense that’s keeping quarterbacks in their place; however, with all the good moving for them, there’s always bad that comes with it. All teams have something that is holding them back from their true protentional and, for the Chiefs, it’s glaring right at them.

The Chiefs’ biggest concern, according to most, is their run defense, but others lean on other instances that hold the Chiefs back. With that said, is their run defense their biggest concern heading into the bye-week? Let’s break down both sides of the aisle to find out:

The run defense is their biggest concern

… and it has been for the past two years. Last year in their Super Bowl-winning season, the Chiefs were ranked 25th in rush defense; allowing over 125 rushing yards per game to running backs like Josh Jacobs, Mark Ingram, and many others. It was the Chiefs’ underlying weakness heading into the next season.

Next season is upon us and, somehow, it has already become worse than it was last year. As I’m writing this article, the Chiefs defense is ranked 27th in rush defense as they are allowing just about 138 rushing yards per game and they’ve allowed 124.7 rushing yards through the past three games.

This is a terrible showing from the front seven and an appalling play-calling approach from Steve Spagnuolo that has to improve as soon as possible; furthermore, the rush defense was one of the main causes for the Chiefs’ only loss this season against the Las Vegas Raiders.

In that game, the Chiefs allowed 144 rushing yards throughout the game with Josh Jacobs and Devonte Booker being the main contributors. Jacobs had 23 rushes for 77 yards and, while he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry, he was able to achieve two rushing touchdowns; on the other side of the coin, Booker didn’t have any touchdowns, but he had 7 rushes for 62 yards (8.9 yards per carry average). Allowing that is simply unacceptable and while our run defense is terrible, some look at other holes in our team to see the main concerns.

The run defense isn’t their biggest concern

For instance, some assume that one of the gaping holes in the Chiefs’ linebacking core. Hitchens can barely cover and Niemann is one of the worst linebackers in recent Chiefs’ history. He can’t cover, he misses a lot of tackles each game, and Chiefs’ fans are questioning why he’s still on the roster (or even starting). Willie Gay, who was drafted in this year, looks like he’ll be taking Niemann’s starting role anytime soon now, and it could happen after the bye-week:

This style of play, especially Niemann’s, needs work during the bye-week as they’re going to need every ounce of perseverance from them next week for their revenge game against the Raiders. Let’s hope it improves in the long run.

Another concern that fans think is the largest is the offensive line. While the pass blocking has improved drastically (Mahomes has been barely sacked (four times over the past three games, once in the past two) and he hasn’t been pressured as much which has contributed to just under 1000 passing yards in the past three games and 11 touchdowns in those three games), yet the run blocking has drastically subsided.

The Chiefs’ offense has only run for 80 yards in their past two games, and after 32 rushing attempts combined in those two games, they have averaged 2.5 yards per rush.

That is intolerable and insufferable to fathom! Running backs need a competent offensive line to thrive in an ever-changing league (unless their last name is McCaffrey or Cook). Without it, Edwards-Helaire, Bell, and all of the other backs on that roster won’t be able to bolster the full potential that we have seen from them. The passing attack is working excellent for them, but how long will that last?

What do you think is the Chiefs’ biggest concern heading into the bye-week? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion. Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

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