Kansas City Chiefs: 3 positives to be found


Well that was horrific. Even after the dust has settled from the Thursday night loss, many in Chiefs Kingdom are still venting their anger, and quite rightly so. Committing five turnovers is simply unacceptable, especially from such senior players. The penalties on special teams were criminal, and the performance of Jamell Fleming was downright awful. The result is clearly bad news for the Kansas City Chiefs and the aspirations of winning the divisional rights AFC West. The performance, however, is a mixed bag. For all the negatives that can be drawn from the game, there are some positives to focus on for the upcoming season.

Defensive Front is elite

For most of the game, the Chiefs’ defense looked frighteningly good. The front seven were very impressive. Led by the defensive front consisting of Mike DeVito, Jaye Howard, Allen Bailey and Dontari Poe, Bob Sutton and his defense were able to limit a talented, however disjointed it may be at this time, Denver offense. The best of the lot was defensive tackle, Jaye Howard, who was phenomenal on Thursday night. Leading the team with seven tackles and a PFF rating of +5.3, Howard was a menace to the Broncos offensive line. His run stuffing ability has significantly improved from last season, and his ability to play at nose tackle allows Bob Sutton to spell Dontari Poe.

The linebacker core is quite possibly the strongest aspect of the roster. After recently signing Justin Houston to a monster contract, Justin Houston lived up to it with a monstrous performance. He recorded six quarterback pressures and a sack last week against the Texans and matched it this week with five quarterback pressures and two sacks. Houston is living up to his value, and the elite pass rush of Kansas City has wreaked havoc in the first two games of the season on the back of Houston’s impact.

Although Jamell Fleming had a disastrous time up against Demaryius Thomas, and Bob Sutton again decided to play soft coverage once in the lead (Did the Colts game not teach him anything?), the Chiefs’ defense still looked good, and the front seven is key to this success.

James O’Shaughnessy impresses

Entering the draft, Kansas City looked sparse at tight end. After releasing Anthony Fasano in the offseason, the Chiefs had stud Travis Kelce and then a bunch of unproven players including injured basketball convert Demetrius Harris and veteran Richard Gordon. John Dorsey did what many expected and drafted a tight end in the 5th round. The small school prospect was not expected to impact play immediately, but his pass catching ability was on show in the home opener.

O’Shaugnessy was able to haul in two passes for 24 and 30 yards, respectively. The small school prospect was touted as a pass catching tight end with blocking issues. In training camp and preseason games, O’Shaugnessy lived up to such reports. He struggled in run blocking but did show talent and potential in the passing game. This talent came to the fore on Thursday, and the rookie showed great athletic ability in the open field. Built in the mold of the modern tight end, O’Shaugnessy causes match up problems for opposing defenses, and pairing him, Harris and Kelce in 2 and 3 tight end sets is an exciting prospect looking forward.

Marcus Peters

Wow! This kid is an absolute stud. Kansas City were only able to force six interceptions last year, and three of those were from Kurt Coleman, who is no longer with the team. Peters already has more interceptions this year than all of the Kansas City corners did last season. His anticipation of underneath routes is excellent, and in press coverage, he looks like he could be a true shutdown corner.

Peters was targeted 14 times on Thursday and surrendered 6 receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown. While these aren’t exceptional numbers, he was also able to defend 4 passes, including 3 against star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Compare this to Jamell Fleming’s troubles, and it is clear to see the potential that the no. 18 overall pick has. He was also able to make 5 tackles and helped in run support throughout the opening 2 weeks. Peters looks like one of the best rookies in the NFL this season so far, and if he continues to play at such a high level, this Chiefs’ defense will not only have one of the best defensive front lines, but also one of the best secondaries when Sean Smith returns. Look for many more interceptions to come, and the Chiefs’ defense to dominate opposing offenses, with Marcus Peters at the center of it.

So, the game was a gut-wrenching loss, and there were many poor performances, both players and coaches, to focus on. But, there were plenty of positives as well. The fact that the Chiefs’ were able to concede 5 turnovers and still be disappointed to have lost the game perhaps shows that they weren’t that bad.

Are you as impressed with the defensive front 7 so far this season? What did you think of the play of Jaye Howard and Justin Houston, and are you confident in the defense as a whole, especially when Sean Smith returns? Are you excited by the rookies James O’Shaugnessy and Marcus Peters, and do you think they will impress throughout the year? Let me know in the comments and as always… GO CHIEFS!!!