Here’s why the Kansas City Chiefs are struggling so much on defense
Here’s why the Kansas City Chiefs are struggling so much on defense.
After Sunday’s 30-24 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers,
the Kansas City Chiefs were eager to point out that it’s almost difficult to win an NFL game when you turn the ball over four times, as the Chiefs did.
True, but Kansas City hasn’t been routinely careless with the ball since Patrick Mahomes took over as quarterback. The turnover issues from Sunday seem to be a simple remedy.
Repairing the larger problem, a leaking defense will be more difficult.
The Chiefs allowed the Chargers to score on five of their last seven drives, including all three in the fourth quarter, following a solid start on Sunday.
The Chargers scored touchdowns in the red zone on four of their five trips,
making Chiefs opponents 12 of 13 in this area this season.
The Chiefs’ shoddy defense, which also blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead against the Baltimore Ravens last week,
is the main reason they are 0-2 and bottom in the AFC West for the first time since 2015.
The Chiefs give up almost 32 points per game.
They were bottom in the league in overall defense and rushing defense before Sunday’s game,
and it took them some time to get to this point defensively.
It may take them some time to come out of it as well.
The following are some of the reasons why the Chiefs have struggled on defense:
They’ve opted to put a lot of their resources the past couple of years into their offense.
The Chiefs have mostly invested in offensive players since revamping their defense after the 2018 season.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a running back, was their first-round draught choice last year.
This year, they traded their first-round selection for Orlando Brown, an offensive lineman.
Joe Thuney, a guard, was their big-money free agency acquisition this year.
Between the draught, a trade, and free agency, the Chiefs added six new offensive linemen while keeping the defense largely intact.
As a consequence, the team only boasts two previous first-round draught selections.
Mike Hughes and DeAndre Baker, cornerbacks,
were previously poor first-round choices by other teams who were dumped for little or no return.
The trade for and big contract given to defensive end Frank Clark doesn’t look as good as it once did.
Clark was instrumental in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory two years ago and their return to the Super Bowl last year, but they haven’t seen much of him this season.
Clark was out for most of training camp and the whole preseason due to hamstring issues.
He hasn’t played in two of the three games so far this season, including Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
Even with him in the lineup, the Chiefs pass rush has failed.
With a pass rush win percentage of 26.2 percent, they were the worst in the league before Sunday’s game.
Clark was signed by the Chiefs to combine with Chris Jones in the pass rush,
but Jones hasn’t been very successful in the last two games, after having two sacks in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns.
Recent high draft picks the Chiefs have used on defensive players have yielded little help.
Breeland Speaks, a defensive end, was the Chiefs’ top draught selection in the second round in 2018.
He was released after two seasons of ineffectiveness.
In the same year, they selected linebacker Dorian O’Daniel in the third round, and although he is still with the Chiefs, he is virtually only a special teams player.
In 2019, the Chiefs selected Juan Thornhill, a safety, in the second round, and Khalen Saunders, a defensive lineman, in the third round. Both players are on the bench.
Willie Gay, a linebacker who was selected in the second round last year, was mostly a backup as a rookie and hasn’t played this season due to injury.