Kansas City Chiefs: Three Moves That Need To Happen

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Sep 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) runs past Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker James-Michael Johnson (52) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Chiefs won 34-15. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

3. Joe Mays Should Be Playing Over James-Michael Johnson

The Kansas City Chiefs run defense is horrible. That’s not hyperbole or putting a negative spin on things. Yes, KC has shown the ability to stuff the run when they sell out to do so, but out of their base formations it has been abysmal. The Chiefs entered Sunday’s games ranked number 22 in rushing yards per game allowed. While that’s not great, it’s not what makes their run defense so bad. That would be the 5.0 yards per carry that they are allowing, which is the worst in the NFL. As the weather continues to get colder and the opponents get tougher, a team simply can’t win big games if they are giving up the most yards per carry in all the NFL.

That’s where Joe Mays comes in. Mays was signed this offseason to be the starting ILB next to Derrick Johnson. While DJ was KC’s “do all” LB, the spot next to him was more one dimensional. Regardless if it was the late Jovan Belcher or Akeem Jordan last season, that spot has typically been filled by a “run stopper”. That is what Joe Mays is known as and that’s the role he was brought to KC to fill. He missed most of the season due to injury, but he’s now back on the 53 man roster, but only seeing time on special teams.

So the question is, why would you not play your best run stopping inside linebacker when you are giving up the most yards per carry in all the NFL?

That’s equally as stupid as starting the worst run blocking lineman in the NFL on a run first team or taking Travis Kelce off the field on a passing down to send in the 100th or 105th rated WRs in the NFL.

So who is Mays currently losing snaps to? The answer there is James-Michael Johnson. While Josh Mauga has done a decent job trying to do the impossible (fill Derrick Johnson’s shoes), JMJ has been a disappointment this season, especially when it comes to stopping the run. JMJ’s PFF run stopping grade is -10.4. That’s the second worst run stopping grade for an ILB in the NFL. So KC is playing a LB that is the second worst in the NFL at stopping the run over a player that they brought in specifically to do that job, DESPITE the fact that they are failing MASSIVELY in that area.


If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the added fact that Mays has the reputation for being one of those nasty, hard hitting, chip on his shoulder kind of players. The kind of guy that you want out there when the opposing offense is gashing you in the run game. The kind of guy that fires up his teammates and can deliver a crushing blow that makes the stop that a team needs. I simply can’t understand why the Chiefs wouldn’t get him out on the field in the base 3-4 when the opposing team is running the ball with success. It makes no sense.

When the Chiefs take the field on Sunday to face the Broncos Joe Mays and Josh Mauga should be the two starting inside linebackers.

So there you have KC fans, three easy steps to improving the Chiefs for the home stretch. I think these are all very reasonable and logical moves that need to be made. It’s not like I’m advocating for them to bench Alex Smith and start Aaron Murray or to switch their base defensive formation from a 3-4 to the 4-3 mid season. None of these three moves would be such a big change that it should throw the Chiefs “out of wack”.

I believe that this team will make the playoffs. I believe that this team still has a chance to win the division. I believe that they can beat the Broncos on Sunday. However, I do recognize that KC has some flaws and some holes on their roster and I believe making these three moves can help those issues. Do you agree? Would you be in favor of making all three of these changes? I simply can’t find any argument NOT to make them so if you have opposing ideas I’d love to hear them. Are there any other moves that you feel need to be made? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!