Kansas City Chiefs defense: Trending toward toughness


With the 2015 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, the Kansas City Chiefs are loaded for bear, for the next phase of the offseason program, with nine draftees and roughly a dozen undrafted free agents. This roster continues to take shape and we now have a clearer picture of the makeup of this football team. This year’s draft class has athleticism in spades, but also appears to have a certain attitude on the field. John Dorsey’s picks in this draft seem to match a recent trend of acquiring hard-nosed players who bring tenacity and toughness to the table. If the Chiefs roster has lacked for anything in recent years, it’s been grit. That may soon be changing.

Kansas City is well on its way to becoming a truly elite defensive team. Between Justin Houston, Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson, and the maturation of players like Ron Parker and Sean Smith, the Chiefs have highly-skilled and productive players at every level of the defense. Pepper in relentless young players like Steven Nelson and Marcus Peters and you begin to develop an identity as a fearsome unit that can dictate pace and energy to opposing teams. Franchises like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers field teams with an air of toughness annually. Kansas City could soon join those ranks.

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The new-look Chiefs are trending toward the gutsy defenses of the ’90s in Kansas City. Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, and Ramik Wilson all have one thing in common—they’re all adept at bringing a ball carrier to the ground. What’s interesting about them is the way they do it. The trio’s not simply looking to wrap-and-drag, if the opportunity presents itself, they’ll try and de-cleat a player. The plan last season was for linebacker Joe Mays to bring that element to the Chiefs’ defense. Injury derailed that plan. Eric Berry is likely the only player on the defensive side of the ball who can strike fear into opposing players, but until he’s healthy enough to return, I’m not sure anyone else has that intimidation factor.

It’s no coincidence that the Seattle Seahawks have qualified for the last two Super Bowls on the back of physical and aggressive defensive play. John Dorsey appears to be constructing a similar model in Kansas City. Seattle general manager John Schneider also has roots that go back to the Green Bay Packers organization so it makes perfect sense. The “Legion of Boom” is the centerpiece of Seattle’s defense and marked for its aggression. The two new faces of Kansas City’s secondary give defensive coordinator Bob Sutton latitude to be similarly hostile to pass catchers around the league.

Some would argue that a tougher Chiefs defense wouldn’t have allowed the Indianapolis Colts to mount one of the biggest playoff comebacks in the history of the NFL postseason. Kansas City held a three-touchdown lead going into the half. T.Y. Hilton posted 224 receiving yards in the game and had his way with the Chiefs secondary. In fact, he split a pair of defenders with a game-winning 64-yard touchdown grab.

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

That’s a painful reminder of where this defense was when the new regime took office. Today’s a new day in Kansas City. The 2014 defense sans Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, and Mike DeVito finished the year as the league’s No. 2 defense. Two of those players are set to return in 2015 and a talented group of young players has been added to the mix. This is an exciting time for this organization.

Do you like the direction the Chiefs defense is moving in? Are you in favor of hard-nosed secondary play? Share your thoughts on the defensive players the Chiefs drafted over the weekend. Use the comment section below to chime in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!