The Chiefs have certainly had their fair share of struggles this season, much more so than in the previous three years combined. While it is easy to place the blame on the players on the field, I don’t believe that is the main issue behind their problems this season.
The defense, which has been nothing short of abysmal this year, only lost two starters this offseason when Bashaud Breeland signed with the Minnesota Vikings and Damien Wilson left for Jacksonville. The defense last year, while underperforming at times, was good enough to make it to the Super Bowl. So how did it get so bad in the span of one offseason?
The blame for the defensive struggles rests solely on Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s shoulders. Spags refusal to change has led to the league not only catching up with him, but leaving him in the dust. He showed how unwilling he is to change by continually starting Daniel Sorenson instead of the younger, more athletic Juan Thornhill.
Sorenson is, at best, a situational player, a nickel linebacker/safety hybrid, certainly not a starter. Sorenson routinely got beat deep early this year, causing his fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu to throw his hands up in frustration on multiple occasions. This frustration was felt throughout the entirety of Chiefs Kingdom.
Another big problem for this Chiefs defense has been the lack of pressure put on opposing QB’s. Moving Chris Jones to the outside has shown to be a big mistake, as Jarran Reed, the big signing brought in to take Jone’s spot in the middle of the D line has shown to be ineffective at not only pressuring opposing QB’s but stopping the run as well. With Frank Clark finally getting healthy, Jones needs to be moved back inside so that Clark and current Chiefs sack leader Mike Danna can set the edge on the outside of the D line.
Blame shouldn’t only fall on Spags and the defense’s shoulders, however. Andy Reid and the offense haven’t been living up to expectations either, culminating in a measly 3 points being scored against the Titans last week. It seems that every team in the NFL has shared the secret to stopping the Chiefs’ offense; play prevent defense to stop the Chiefs from gashing them with long pass plays and force them to throw the ball short or even heaven forbid run the ball. The problem is that Andy seems to refuse to run the football and keeps dialing up deep pass plays that the opposition is ready for. Andy Reid used to be known as a screenplay guru, but now he almost refuses to call any screens, even when opposing defenses are almost daring him to do it.
Of course, some of the blame goes on the players’ shoulders. Dropped passes and tipped balls that have caused Patrick Mahomes to throw a record number of interceptions this year are also a big problem. Not to mention the lack of a pass rush despite the Chiefs being top three in the league in blitz percentage. They can’t seem to get to opposing QB’s if their lives depended on it.
The majority of the blame rests on the coaching staff, however, and their refusal to make changes that this team so desperately needs. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, our coaching staff will put their stubbornness aside and make the much-needed changes. If not, the season will continue to go as it has so far, and end up being one of the biggest disappointments in Chiefs history.