Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

How Bad Is The Chiefs Secondary?

We all know that this team’s desperate need for a decent quarterback is second to none, but what else do the Chiefs lack?

A quick look at the Chiefs’ 2-14 record and -214 point differential would suggest that we need a lot and one of the positions that I notice commenters griping the most about is cornerback.

Indeed, only five other teams allowed more passing touchdowns than the 2012 Chiefs defense and opposing quarterbacks had a league-high 99.9 passer rating against the team this year. To put that in perspective, Chiefs passers themselves have only twice hit that mark since Week 5 of the 2011 season (Orton once, Brady once, not counting the two passes he threw against the Ravens this year).

And yet, I am here to tell you that our defensive backfield is not that bad.

Opponents attempted just 464 passes against the Chiefs all year – a league low. There were two reasons for this – 1.) Opposing teams were nearly always playing with the lead and were content to run out the clock and 2.) Gashing the Chiefs with the run was simply more effective. Only five teams allowed higher average yardage per carry (4.5) than the Chiefs.

When you factor in the fact that the Chiefs offense was 28th in the league with just 17.9 first downs per game and had the second worst ratio of punts to offensive score, it’s pretty clear that the Chiefs pass defense was basically always in a bad spot. The run defense was at best inconsistent and the totally ineffective offense kept them on the field all game.

Also, the depressing aggregate stats belie the fact that the Chiefs do have some real talent back there. We all know that CB Brandon Flowers is a champ and the closest thing to a shutdown corner that the Chiefs have had for more than a decade. He finished the year with just three interceptions largely because opposing teams never throw his direction.

Despite an incredibly bad start recovering from an ACL tear, SS Eric Berry regained his form and, in my opinion, earned his controversial pro bowl selection this year. During a stretch from the bye to Week 15, Berry amassed a +8.8 grade from Pro Football Focus and PFF gave him the game ball against Oakland that week, despite the fact he played for the losing team.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

CB Javier Arenas remains an up-and-down player, but I still think he is a strong #3 CB. He was ranked 12th in PFF’s tackling efficiency this season and knocks down lots of passes, but is mismatched against big receivers due to his size. The few times that CB Jallil Brown has had to step in, I think he has also shown a lot of ability as a developing player.

All and all, the building blocks are there and I don’t view this group as a weakness. I’ve seen a lot of people who aren’t crazy about this year’s QB class clamoring for the team to go cornerback high in the draft instead. They said the same thing last year, and I just don’t see it.

The fact is that the Chiefs are going nowhere without a credible starter at QB next year no matter how brilliant or horrible their defensive secondary is. Also, when the offense is clicking, even mediocre DB’s can hold down the fort. The proof? Look no further than the Indianapolis Colts.

When they moved on from QB Peyton Manning they figured it was going to be a long road back to greatness so they went ahead and blew up most of the team, keeping just three players among all their D-backs going into this year. With most of the spots in their defensive backfield manned by low-level free agents, they have held together a middle-of-the-pack defense, which was good enough to get them into the playoffs for the right to be destroyed by the Baltimore Ravens.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, signed CB Brandon Carr to big money and drafted CB Morris Claiborne with their first round pick. They also ended up with a middle-of-the-pack pass defense.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In short, I’m on the Geno bandwagon. The Chiefs need to get a pass offense before they think about improving the pass defense. I’m all for bringing in some new bodies to the secondary and the team has no need to keep any of their current CB’s not named Flowers, Arenas or Brown, but I don’t think we need to commit a high draft pick or major free agent signing to the cause.

We could clone Brandon Flowers twice, have him play three positions in the defensive backfield and still win only two games in 2013.

Only a QB can save us.

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  • chiefin’ainteasy

    I think they do need a legit number 2 CB, other than that I think the secondary is very good. I don’t think people realize just how historically bad the coaching was we just witnessed this year. Of course the numbers and some of the normally pretty good(Lewis for example) players are going to look shabby.

    • cyberry

      I agree but a safety in 3rd(comp pick) or 4thish would be a good idea. Kendrick Lewis just can’t seem to stay healthy..

      • superman_25_58

        Agree but thier is a good safty that we should be able to pick up in 5-7 round in DJ Swearinger from South Carolina Gamecocks! DJ recorded 70 TACKLES – 2 INT – 5 PASSES BROKEN UP in his senior yr. He is physical against the run and can ball hawk against the pass. DJ’s motor always seems to be running which is what I like in players! He is 6’0/210 lbs. Sooo what ya think bout this pick?

      • chiefin’ainteasy

        That is true, I was excited about Menzie when they drafted him last year as very solid depth but I dont even know what happened to him, moved to CB and IR right?

        I was very impressed last season with Lewis when Berry was out. Seemed to really anchor the defense and has good leadership ability, but yes health is his issue.

  • Sarah Thomas

    Ok guys…I don’t know football forwards and backwards,that being we still have a Center..and if we do..who is he? Thanks

    • Priest4Prez

      Rodney Hudson, He’s pretty solid

      • Danny W

        Yah if he can stay healthy he will be solid for sure.

    • ArrowFan

      I dont doubt we get a center slash guard around round 3 or 4.

  • Derek Jamison

    Offenses and defenses feed off each others energy. Probably more so for defenses. When the offense can barely score a field goal….I’m sure it’s pretty hard to get up on the defensive side of the ball.

    I agree 100% on the QB argument. They have to get the offense rolling if they want to have a chance. I wouldn’t be scared to bet a lot on the 2012 defense roster if they figured out the offense.

    • disqus_zsIzXv1wue

      See the 2002-2005 Chiefs and see if the Defense fed off the offense scoring 28 points a game

      • Ron White

        What defense?

  • Danny W

    I think we need to get someone in free agency. Brent Grimes has been an All Pro, before, Aqib Talib gets in trouble from time to time but New England is getting big time production out of him, and may resign him but doubt it. He would be a great pick up. DRC would be an upgrade to the outside too and would do fine as well.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      Pacman Jones and Sam Shields are both free agents and have the highest Pro Football Focus rating among FA CB’s. I’m not crazy about Jones and his baggage but Shields would be good if we can snag him for not too much money.

  • bill w

    The defense was just as bad as the offense. No pass rush, gave up points on opening drives. The few times we had them 3rd and long, teams would throw to whoever arenas is covering or the tight end for a first down cause Berry couldn’t cover them. Couldn’t even record a hurry. This defense is terrible, bout as bad as the Vermeil defenses but not quite…but very close

  • Chief Hokie

    I’m all for taking a QB as well, but if we went for another position I’d rather take a lockdown corner with our first pick than a LT.

  • Will

    While I agree we don’t necessarily need to go cb high in the draft, drafting Geno no 1 overall is not the answer. He is not even a top 20 player in this years draft so to to take him no 1 overall is crazy. I think if we don’t try to trade down we need to go DE. Taking Damontre Moore no 1 overall would certainly help our d. Then we could hope that maybe Jonathan banks falls to us in the second round and draft a qb like Glennon and let him develop behind an Alex smith or even a Michael Vick.

  • ArrowFan

    I couldn’t agree more. I would add that Arenes has one more year to prove he has it. Or is he under contract for two more? Brown did improve and I would say he probably has the greatest up side of the the two.

  • Adrian Morales

    ive been saying this for the longest chiefs need to trade the 1st get some extra picks and get 2 game ready corners a safety or 2 and a couple of backup lb that can produce… the quality of players matches our record which is not very good with players like brown daniels thorpe among others that should not be on the field…