Sep 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton watches against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 17-16. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Is this a make or break season for Bob Sutton?
After the Chiefs blew a 38-10 lead to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs last January, many wanted Bob Sutton’s head on a spike. The inability to generate a pass rush in the second half of the season, the constant big plays allowed by the secondary, and not being able to slow down the offenses of Denver, San Diego, and Indianapolis was enough for some fans to want to look elsewhere for a new coach.
In defense of Sutton, the Chiefs never had the personnel to run the defensive scheme he and Andy Reid agreed upon. Beyond Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, the Chiefs really did not have any other pass rushers on the team. It was clear even before the Houston injury that the pass rush was losing steam because Hali and Houston were each gassed from being the only players who could get to the passer.
In an attempt to create a second wave of pass rushers, Sutton was forced to be more aggressive with Eric Berry in blitz schemes which left one-on-one situations with Dunta Robinson and Kendrick Lewis. Add in the lack of cornerback depth, zero pass rush from the defensive line from players not named Dontari Poe, and the eventual injury to Houston and it would makes sense why Sutton’s defense lost steam in the second half.
But when the system was operating at full capacity through the first nine weeks, the Chiefs defense was the best in the league. Until their lack of depth was exposed no other defense was as threatening to the quarterback or generating as many turnovers as the Chiefs defense. The scheme itself works assuming the personnel is in play to run it. Did John Dorsey do enough to create the extra pass rush waves and sure up the secondary? We’ll find out, but we should give Sutton some time to work with a roster that is better suited for what he’s trying to accomplish.