How will the Kansas City Chiefs fare without Dee Ford

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Guard Rees Odhiambo
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Guard Rees Odhiambo /

As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the Washington Redskins coming to town they will have to do it without starting pass rusher Dee Ford.

The Kansas City Chiefs will be without starting outside linebacker Dee Ford when they take on the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. The Chiefs have been struggling with injuries week-to-week and this is another that could hurt.

While Ford has 7 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble on the season, he has been mostly quiet. Some of this has to do with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton deciding to drop eight defenders into coverage most of the first three-quarters of games. When Ford is rushing the passer, he has looked quicker since coming back from his injury last year, but still not quite getting there.

Regardless of how I feel about Ford, the Chiefs will be missing a key rusher as they take on the Redskins. Last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, outside linebacker Frank Zombo came in to fill that role for most of the remaining game while second-round pick rookie Tanoh Kpassagnon only had two snaps with the defense.

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The Chiefs are going to have to figure something out because Zombo is usually brought in to relieve guys for a break and catch their breath. I highly doubt Sutton is looking to have All-Pro outside linebacker Justin Houston and backup Frank Zombo take on 100% of the defensive snaps.

While longtime Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list, the Chiefs are left with Zombo and Kpassagnon. Most Kansas City fans are not interested in seeing more of Zombo though and are hoping to see Kpassagnon get more snaps.

I feel like Zombo has become an undervalued player in the fans eyes. While he is not great at anything, he also isn’t a liability either. He has stepped in for injured guys and had good games. Your fourth outside linebacker is not going to be an elite one but fans have gotten used to the elite talent on the defense. I feel that Zombo is a pretty good backup that can step in and has played in the system since 2013.

While I am interested to see what the rookie can do in some real game situations his talent is still extremely raw. Now, I would like to see him get some more opportunities to work on his new techniques in real time games, but I’m not sure how much he should get against the Redskins.

The Redskins running back Chris Thompson is coming off an explosive game against the Oakland Raiders last week. The problem is, he was highly explosive in the passing game much more than in the run game. I don’t know that I want to see Kpassagnon covering Thompson in this game while he has had very little coverage snaps in his career, NFL or college.

If we were preparing for a team that didn’t have that weapon in their passing game I would be much more comfortable with Kpassagnon getting more snaps to let him get some development. However, with Thompson being that weapon out of the backfield, I have more confidence in Zombo covering him.

Not to mention, like I stated earlier, Sutton is still dropping eight into coverage most of the game. If Sutton decides to become more aggressive this week and stop with dropping his outside linebackers into coverage, I’m hoping to see Kpassagnon get a good amount of reps. If Sutton continues his conservative play calling, however, I would feel much more comfortable with Zombo on the field.

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I think that we will see a little bit of both players come Monday night, but expect for Zombo to get most of the reps and Kpassagnon to be a relief guy. This would not be an issue if the Chiefs had Hali on the line-up, but my guess is they are really saving him for late in the season. I hope we get some opportunities to see what Kpassagnon has learned so far since the preseason, but expect to see mostly Zombo.