A complete guide to fixing the Kansas City Chiefs run defense

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 6: Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 6: Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson /
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One of the most well-known weaknesses for the Kansas City Chiefs is it’s run defense. What is the real issue with the run defense that makes it so bad?

Over the last month, I have been getting a lot of questions, especially on Twitter, about what is going on with the run defense. I have seen just about everything when it comes to where the problem is. There is no one thing that makes the run defense bad, but there are multiple things that build up to one big problem.

Here is a look at how much rushing yards were given up by the Chiefs in first eight games. This does not include QB scrambles.

Week 1 – @ New England Patriots: 124 yards

Week 2 – Philadelphia Eagles: 52 yards

Week 3 – @ Los Angeles Chargers: 104 yards

Week 4 – Washington Redskins: 73 yards

Week 5 – @ Houston Texans: 113 yards

Week 6 – Pittsburgh Steelers: 196 yards

Week 7 – @ Oakland Raiders: 73 yards

Week 8 – Denver Broncos: 157 yards

It’s not like the Kansas City Chiefs defense is just now giving up big numbers against the run. It’s been towards the second half of the league for most of the time since 2013 when Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton came to Kansas City. The only year it wasn’t towards the bottom of the NFL in yards per game was in 2015. The bend-but-don’t-break defense is more focused on the big pass than it is against the run.

I think the overlying issue is that fans expected a huge improvement by additions to the team in the offseason meant for helping against the run. It has been the exact opposite as the Chiefs run defense has gone from 26th last year to 28th this year in average yards per game.

Let’s take a look at all the things that make up this big problem.