How the Chiefs defense can take advantage of Rodgers absence?

Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and is out for Green Bay’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. With Rodgers out, Jordan Love will start for the first time in his career this weekend.

Love’s replacement of Rodgers does not necessarily mean less offensive production for the Packers, but the Chiefs are hoping it will change a bit the performance of the opposing team. On paper, and given the first games, Green Bay should dominate Kansas City, as the Chiefs have been in a weird offensive struggle for much of the season. This will be a great challenge indeed for both teams, it is just a pity Mahomes and Rodgers will not play each other once again.

Even after a good performance on Monday night and three sacks, the Kansas City Chiefs earned in their 20-17 victory over the New York Giants, they still have the fewest sacks of all NFL teams that have played at least eight games this season. The pass rush is getting better, but it is still not great.

Maybe that’s why the Chiefs went and got Melvin Ingram in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In Kansas City, Ingram will have to play as a defensive end in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s basic 4-3 scheme. In passing situations, Ingram’s edge presence allows Chris Jones to continue rushing from the inside; it also pairs well with Frank Clark at the opposite end.

Ingram’s presence could be a great fit to defend against an inexperienced quarterback like Jordan Love. Indeed, he excels at being aware of the quarterback’s position in the pocket as he’s rushing.

It was a worthwhile move for the Chiefs to add Ingram, as he should be used strictly to raise the team’s overall ability to rush the passer and it could give a real boost to the Chiefs defense.

Given the situation, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that his team is more focused on the Packers offense as a whole rather than focusing on the new starting quarterback:

“You know that they’re not going to completely change the whole offense,” Reid said, via the team’s official transcript. “That’s not going to happen. They’re still going to run the offense — they did that with him in the preseason and it looked like he did a nice job with it. So, if that’s the case, you’re prepping for the offense and then you take those unique qualities that each one has and you work on that. But that’s how you go about it.”

This year, Jordan Love played in two preseason games, compiling 24-of-35 passing for 266 yards, one TD, and one INT while taking two sacks. He also took over in the Packers’ Week 1 loss, completing 5-of-7 attempts for 68 yards and taking a sack in 15 snaps.

However, Safety Tyrann Mathieu repeated what his coach Andy Reid said earlier, Mathieu is not worried about the different elements Love might bring to the game, but he is preparing to face the regular Packers offense.

“Aaron Rodgers is a special player, probably one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, but I think as far as preparation, it’s just all about our mindset, our attitude, trying to get as much information as we can,” he said. “Pretty sure those guy’s offense won’t change too much, so it’s all about formational recognition and just understanding what’s going on from our end.”

The Chiefs’ defense has not been good at all so far this season, allowing the fourth-most yards in the NFL and ranking 29th in third-down conversion rate allowed and 32nd in sacks. They will have an opportunity to show improvement, although the change of the Packers quarterback could be a double-edged sword.