The DB Family
Anytime you can go from 28th in the league in passing defense one year to 2nd in the league the next, then you’ve not only made a lot of changes but, you’ve gotten a lot of those changes right. So here, the whole defensive backfield is the first honorable mention and rightfully so.
- Only the reigning Super Bowl Champions allowed fewer yards passing per game than the Chiefs DB “family.”
- Only those Seahawks allowed fewer completions. Five fewer completions for the whole season. Or, another way of putting that is, 0.3 receptions per game difference.
- Only the Seahawks allowed fewer points passing.
- Only the Cleveland Browns allowed a lower pass completion percentage (57.1 to 58.3).
Beginning to see a pattern here? Yes, the Chiefs defensive backfield was top shelf in 2014 and if I could have put them all in the top ten I would have. That includes, Sean Smith (see above), Husain Abdullah, Kurt Coleman (INT leader with 3), rookie Phillip Gaines, Jamell Fleming, Chris Owens, Kelcie McCray, Daniel Sorenson, Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker. The first half of the season Parker looked like an All-Pro. Especially against the Buffalo Bills. However, he also found a way to keep me shaking my head on too numerous plays to mention. If the Chiefs coaches can get Parker to play more consistently they’ll have one of the better DBs in the league. It should be noted that Parker was first on the team in tackles with 84.
There are several important takeaways from the defensive backfield’s dramatic one-year turnaround:
- the Chiefs know how to evaluate and sign good DBs.
- the Chiefs can coach their DB’s up and maximize their potentials.
- the Chiefs defensive scheme fits their DBs well.
- the quality of pressure the Chiefs are able to put on the QB is directly related to how well their DBs perform.
Now, if the Chiefs can apply their same DB acumen, to the offensive line, then they should be in the Super Bowl next year.
The Fit in 2015: Cooper, Owens, and Fleming could be on the chopping block. The Chiefs have shown that they like to go young and then throw them to the lions. So, expect the Chiefs to draft 1 or 2 quality biggie-sized DBs this year. Sorenson will continue to flip flop on and off of the team roster.
Knile Davis has become the Robin to Jamaal Charles’ Batman. However, you know how many movies don’t feature Robin at all? Same goes here. Davis has become Mr. Incredible when JC goes down. In weeks 3 and 4, Davis stepped in and had 48 carries for 239 yards for 5.0 yards per carry. Knile has had runs of 15, 21, 25 and 48 yards long this season with 610 total yards from scrimmage. His 829 return yards and 28.6 yards per return, gets him an 8th in the league ranking. Not too shabby. He still has some fumble issues to tidy up but, he has proven to be an excellent 3rd round draft choice from 2013 and offers an excellent alternative to Jamaal Charles.
The Fit in 2015: KD is knocking on the Chiefs top ten door but he’s not there yet. He has two more years on his rookie contract so expect to see him more and more.
For the better part of two seasons I’ve been waiting for the transition from Tyson Jackson to Allen Bailey. Bailey is the real deal when it comes to a player the Chiefs drafted (3rd round, 2011) and then consistently developed him. Bailey turned out to solidify the RDE position and turns 26 years old in March.
The Fit in 2015: The Chiefs thought enough of Bailey that they gave him a $25 million extension in November. The contract runs through 2019 so the RDE position is in excellent hands until then.
Dwayne Bowe was responsible for over 40% of the Chiefs wide receiver production in 2014. That doesn’t speak so much as to how good he is, as it does how pitiful the rest of the wideouts have been. Bowe doesn’t make the top ten list here because his production has gone steadily and significantly downhill in the past few years. 801 yards in 2012, 673 yards in 2013 and 754 in 2014. Bowe was targeted 96 times this year, with 60 receptions for a 62.5% reception rate. Add in the lack of time to get open because of a pathetic offensive line and because QB Alex Smith is having a harder time getting the ball to him and Bowe finds his value to the Chiefs ripe with diminishing returns. Even though some will argue it’s not all his fault. However, even in Bowe’s best year (1,162 yards in 2010) his completion percentage was 54.5%. So, even though Bowe’s catch percentage has gotten better, it’s still very bad.
The Fit in 2015: Bowe should be the first to restructure and the Chiefs will try to keep him. He’s still the best WR they have.
This would potentially be Anthony Fasano’s 10th year in the league and he turns 31 in April. His production the past three years has been minimal: 332 in 2012, 200 in 2013 and 226 in 2014. Yet, Fasano is mostly used as a blocking TE. Fasano is a leader and good teammate.
The Fit in 2015: With Travis Kelce ascending and the Chiefs needing to cut into the cap, his days are likely numbered.
The road grader is still in the house. I recall when Reid and Dorsey traded Javier Arenas for Sherman and how so many people were upset with the move, including myself. Now, it’s one of the best moves R&D have made. There truly aren’t that many men who can move heaven and earth and the massively mobile linebackers of the NFL but Sherman is one of those men. Just ask Jamaal Charles. With the shape the Chiefs OL is in, if JC doesn’t have the Sherman Tank to blow up LBs along the way he’d probably be dead by now. Perhaps that’s a little bit of an over reaction… but maybe not. After all, the OL nearly got Alex Smith killed.
The Fit in 2015: Anthony Sherman is locked in until 2018 and I wouldn’t expect him to leave before then because he just turned 26 and he’s in the prime of his youth.
ILB Josh Mauga
When Derrick Johnson when out Josh Mauga stepped right in and for the most part the Chiefs defense didn’t miss a beat. Yes, the run defense wasn’t quite as good but not so much of that can be laid at DJ’s feet as it should Mike DeVito’s loss. Mauga was 2nd on the team in tackles with 82.
The Fit in 2015: Mauga is a UFA and made close to the minimum with the Chiefs this season. His performance was crucial to the team’s success. I’m predicting his return but, it will take more than a minimum range bid to tie him up.
LT Eric Fisher is going to have to make a big jump in his progress to qualify for the Top Ten or the Honorable Mention lists. Many are hoping he does make that kind of progress but, Rodney Hudson is the only offensive lineman so far deserving of making any of these lists.
Also, Eric Berry who was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma this season remains in the hearts and minds of his peers and his fans alike. Our good thoughts and best wishes continue to go out to Eric and his family. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be making comments about Berry’s contract at this time.
What do you say Addict Fans? Have your own Top Ten List? Did I leave someone off that deserves to be on? Do I have anyone who is totally out of order?