Over the last 4 weeks we have gotten starting players back from injury. We have played opponents we should beat, at least on paper. The offense and defense look different than the first five games. We seem to have shifted the game plan from playing to win into playing to not lose. That isn’t the DNA of this team.
I wrote before about noticing how we aren’t using the speed of our offense the same way. We aren’t putting the players in motion like before. Instead we line up and stay until the snap. This makes it easier on the defense and doesn’t create the confusion we should be generating.
We have also seen the effectiveness of Kareem Hunt fall off. I think this is also related to the lack of motion pre snap. We need to get the defense moving so Alex Smith can see where the holes will open. With all of our offensive weapons, we should be generating way more points than what we are seeing.
With the return of Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, our offensive line should have taken a step forward in pass protection and run blocking. Instead it seems we can’t open a lane for Hunt to get to the second level and the equipment manager is wasting time cleaning Smith’s jersey.
Where are the plays that made the team successful the first 5 games? The speed based plays, pre snap motion, multi-option pass/run plays? Attack the defense. Let the players make plays. Where has that gone?
On the defensive side, I think it might actually be worse. We lost Eric Berry at the start of the season. That is a tough loss for the team, but should not be the end of our season. Our defense is based on forcing turnovers and making big plays. We aren’t seeing very many of either this year.
The defensive backfield seems to back further from the line each game. Running a nickel or dime formation as much as we have been is troubling too. We are trying the bend don’t break technique, but we bend all the way to the goal line. That doesn’t work. In past years, we might bend to the red zone, but then stopped our opponents. While it doesn’t feel very good to give up so much yardage, not giving up the score… helped.
Each week Marcus Peters seems to make fewer tackles and just tries for the strip. Backing off from the line to try and bait the QB isn’t working. Pressing the WR at the line and disrupting routes and timing is what seemed to work early in the season and in the past.
Chris Jones, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, & Allen Bailey have been absent. I see this as a weak scheme an not so much a drop off in their capability. More of the sit back and defend instead of attack the quarterback. Jones and Houston should be on the stat sheet with a big play every week, Bailey and DJ should be making plays too. We aren’t seeing either.
Based on the results so far this season and the returning starters, I have to place the blame for the slide on the coaching. Are we coaching and calling plays to the strength of our players? That is the job of the coaching staff. Put the players in the best position to make a play. I am not seeing that happen recently.
Shot during the game have Andy Reid looking lost, Bob Sutton like a deer in the headlights. It is time to shake things up. Reid needs to start playing to win. He needs to tell Sutton to get that defense on attack and not sit back. If Sutton has a hard time finding the defensive calls for this, then get someone new. I think we all know Reid has a playbook with some nice plays. So, it isn’t that he doesn’t have the plays to call, it has to be that he doesn’t want to call them.
Playing a game so close, risks KC falling behind. The team has shown it can come from behind, but it isn’t really built to do that every week. We need to get out to a lead and not look back. The defense needs to put pressure on the offense to perform or make a mistake. It doesn’t take many mistakes to turn the game our way.
I don’t like watching our beloved Chiefs lose, but if I must watch it I prefer we go out swinging. Playing weak on defense or safe on offense it maddening. I think our players thrive on going for the big play. So, let’s give them the chance to win.
What do you guys think? Are you seeing anything different in this losing stretch?
Until next week, there’s The Rub!
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