Chiefs: No Stone Left Unturned — On Any Given Sunday — er, Game Day
The six and three Chiefs have given us reason to first believe that they were a top team in the NFL. Then a 1-3 stretch has many fans and pundits down in the gutter. Neither is the case as far as a realistic view of an NFL Season. Few teams go 13-3 or better. This season, the Chiefs are among the league elites and all teams in the NFL have “exposures”. If any team goes 13-3 it will be a great surprise.
This Sunday — er, well, the following one
To get to this game, I have to go back to the Dallas Game. The Chiefs trailed immediately and then went down by two scores. A miracle “Hial Mary” pulled them within 4 at the half. Then the Chiefs took the lead 17-14 and did nothing to add to their tally. Yes, they drove the ball. Yes they had numerous failings each time.
The finale came on a drive that showed up-tempo and it worked, then stalled. With 6 minutes left, Reid decided to go 4th and 8 trailing 17-28. Al Smith had some protection, tried to force the ball to Kelce with a hard throw and it ended up being his first interception of the 2017 season and that was all she wrote.
My point? The Chiefs had the lead in the 3rd Quarter and were competitive on the road against a good Dallas team (4-3), who had a lot more to lose with a loss than did the Chiefs (6-2).
Still, it was a game with many failings. Seth Keyser wrote an article on how the defense (Sutton), shifted players with lining up in the gaps. The run defense went from Awful to below standard. This is just an example. The other example is that the offense never was able to get into a flow. Was it the Dallas Defense or was it the play-calling. Or was it a combination of the two? So if you have followed me and my views, then you know I am not a big fan of Andy Reid’s play-calling. I will leave it there.
What Next? — Seven Exposures
This week, I listed Seven exposures.
1. Front three and run defense(is this due to Sutton’s scheme or #4?)
I don’t think the answer to this is going to be easy. Which is why I suggested signing Free Agent, Jaye Howard. He is tough against the run. He is a big body 34 DE who can stuff blockers, take on two and still disrupt run plays. He knows the defense and schemes.
Would Jaye Howard be a complete solution? Nope, but we need a big body type run stopper to team up with a traditional front 3 approach to defend against the Run. that is where Howard fits and did fit and he is available. Logan, Bailey and Howard can do that.
There has been talk, but no action and it may just be rumor mill stuff. Brett Veach has not made this move.
2. Outside cornerback (i,e, Nelson goes inside).
Here, I knew Redmond was available. Couldn’t recall his name, I had to go find him, but I did. Low and behold, a couple of days later, Veach signed him, and moved him to the Practice Squad. If he can get ready to play in 10 days, they should move him to the active Roster and get him going. Which is what I believe is going on. It may take another week but he’s had more than a year to rehab for his knee injury.
If item 2 and Veach signing Redmond is the answer, then we have automatically solved the problem of number 3 below.
3. Slot corner (fixed if Nelson goes inside). This is one that we should fix. Bring in a F/A. For me this takes pressure off the safeties… and that makes it easier to react to run support.
The answer to this one is the Chiefs need to put Mitchell back in. Who ever is opposite Peters is going to be targeted over and over again. From what I have seen of Acker, I think this must happen until Will Redmond is ready to go. And yes, I believe this is why Redmond is exactly what the Chiefs need — someone who can cover, mirror and has the speed necessary — and that is Redmond. I think Veach understood the exposures for both 2 and 3 and this was the solution. Which means that if we can get Redmond ready to go quickly, both 2 and 3 problems are solved.
4. ILB — Is there anyone to add that would solve the 2nd level run defense? (ie, DJ’s ability to cut and/or lost Speed is a problem).
It could be that DJ came back too soon. But it is obvious to the “somewhat educated viewer that DJ has lost something and is no longer the dominating force he has been. Is part of this the defense scheme? Yes, I believe it is and we saw Sutton shift out to play the gaps and be aggressive in attacking rather than the wait and read type play. But as Seth noted, it went from awful to mediocre.
I think it is time for the Ramik and Reggie show. They are both young and can be the aggressive LBs vs the run. They did this a bit in the Dallas game but they used Pierre-Louis. I think the R&R path is the answer.
But? Do you bench a player like DJ? Nope. He now has 2 weeks essentially to continue to recover from his second achilles tendon tear. Remember: It used to be that if a player suffered such an injury it was career ending, or, at least it was a career lost due to inability to play the same as prior to suffering the tear. Now? Sports medicine has done wonders in the last 40 years. DJ at 80% is a “good ILB”. I will leave it there.
5. Andy Reid (impossible task–game plan, play-calling, adjusting).
I just don’t think that Andy listens to Nagy. Nor do I think that Andy will give up play calling. What I think is obvious is that Reid thinks too much of his offense and his ability and what shows up on the field first is lost rhythm and blues. Then late in games he goes conservative. There is no answer for this, Reid is Reid.
6. OLB — Houston is putting notches on the pistole butt, but it’s not enough.
JH has 7.5 sacks and trails the leader in the game by 1 or 1 1/2 sacks. That is not the problem. But opposite him Ford is hurt, Hali is okay but about the same level now as Ford until we see different. If there is a solution for this is to get Hali in on aerial downs and turn him loose. He either gets it done or not. Which means you have to mix and match with Ford and Zombo. Zombo is Zombo. This also may be due to run defense and ILB play, or even not having bulk up front. The Chiefs DL could be called “Light”. Sutton’s defense set up, with 2 down linemen and using Sorensen as a LB isn’t working.
I have no answer for this other than to sign Howard and use a more basic 34 front 3. That’s my answer.
7. Replacing the the loss of Berry’s talent… (no can do)… but… which of the above solved would help out on this exposure?
Solutions? Sign a F/A talent enough to do real duty outside CB (Redmond has signed and I applaud Veach for this). But we have to get him on the field of play, not the PS. If this move goes active, it solves the next problem which is the slot. Nelson can move inside and he is showing he can shut things down. I believe that Redmond is a huge missing piece in this puzzle.
Sign Jaye Howard for run defense or, there is Hageman but he was cut by the Falcons du to Domestic abuse. The NFL has lifted their restriction on him and he would b a far better solution to the front 3 overall… but…but…but.
Reid has got to take the cuffs off and go aggressive play after play withy the offense.
ILB/OLB? I think we have to go with our own players and that means there is no other solution than figure that out.
To get the signings done, I think the Chiefs have to let go a couple of players. Devey, Gaines, Acker. Or whomever is necessary. One more signing on the front three would go a long way to relieving the pass defense behind them and toughen up at the same time, the run defense.
My view. My solutions. Veach did one of them already.
Where to Go From Here?
Again: The Chiefs are a good football team. The 5-0 run was as misleading as it was disappointing to go 1-3. They are a good football team. In a “league with “parity”, there is no dominant outfit among the teams which will contend–even Philly, Pederson’s team which has that sole loss as Laddie was noting. Many surprising downtrends have occurred. For example, the Falcons. Green Bay looks to be out, etc.
Teams that will make the playoffs besides the Chiefs:
Seattle, Pittsburgh, New England, Philly, Dallas, Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, LA. If I had to guess, the Falcons will make their run now with a lot of room to get to the playoffs and maybe the Bills or Jags. We’ll see.
Now I can swap in and out many teams in this view. If I swap in Atlanta or the Jags, I don’t add a team that the Chiefs wouldn’t or couldn’t beat. The Patriots and Steelers are the two that I would see as the most difficult among that group. Or the Seahawks. Maybe, as someone chimed in, the Bills — and that is a valid point.
What is Going to Happen Next?
In a season that is characterized by “parity”, the Chiefs have a bit less intense schedule the rest of they way. They are getting more healthy as we speak and have 10 more days to improve on that. Nothing can be done about the loss of Chris Conley and Eric Berry for the season.
Some are going to pooh-pooh my suggested approach. What has Will Redmond done? H was a top 30 type CB. He can be the next plumb that Veach has pulled off. Worst comes to worst, he is a one season contract and that is not expensive. Redmond was going in the top 60 before he was drafted. But we need his ability to cover–right damned now.
Howard was released and released again. But we do know this: He is good against the run. He doesn’t have to be and won’t be, a 3 down Front three man. He is a temporary hire…for the rest of the season. So, yes, it could be the answer on first or the first two downs. He would mix well with Chris Jones and RN-R for example.
Can the Chiefs pull it off? Sure. The question for me is, will they make the next acquisition and as someone queried, who will go? I gave two players but there are more possibilities.
I think the Chiefs situation is very good considering the attrition other teams are facing. For example, in the win v the Cards, the Seahawks lost Richard Sherman for the season and then their recently signed lineman at the same time. Two more men were knocked out of the picture that night.
The picture will change but the above list, including the Chiefs stand as the top of the parity picture at this time. With what I regard as a Packer group, packing it in to next season? The NFC group is not that tough. What is surprising are the 4-4 teams that have taken it on the chin. Here again are the Falcons, Cards, Lions and the like.
Doom and Gloom is not valid. Having a critique based on that is wrong. Will the Chiefs right the boat, win the division and make a meaningful run? I think that is this first question and my answer is yes.
Can they improve where there exposures exist? Yes, but they will have exposures the same as any other team in this list. We are not in the same NFL game as we were 40 years ago. Ain’t that the truth.
Can the Chiefs win the Superbowl with the teams aligned as they are and as highlighted above? Yes.
Discussing what they are and how they can be overcome is a valid discussion. The same is going on internally at Chiefs HQ.
We have a good football team. Let’s the rest of us Stick with them that brung us, well, with some adjustments, additions such as Redmond… and all the rest. So, if I am right about Redmond, then you can call me “Genius” and if I am wrong, I can accept your criticisms. After all, I have linebacker shoulders. But then again, Even “Atlas Shrugged.”
David Bell – Avery, ID
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