Contrary to the water cooler conversations currently happening around Chiefs Kingdom and throughout the blogosphere, there’s no singular area of opportunity. This football team has far too many issues for any one scapegoat. The early-season version of Alex Smith is a shadow of his former MVP-caliber self, Andy Reid’s play calling has trended in a conservative direction, the pass rush has all but disappeared and the Chiefs defense as a whole isn’t forcing the turnovers that made it an effective unit a year ago.
Over the past month, the chunk plays that defined the first quarter of the season are in shorter supply. Kareem Hunt is no longer the talk of the NFL despite a fantastic rookie campaign. Defenses have had success in taking Hunt away as a rusher and have consequently cracked the code of Reid’s re-designed offense. It’s no secret that the offense was arguably the best in the NFL through the team’s first five games. Coincidentally, that’s when Hunt did the most damage to opposing defenses on the ground.
The loss of Eric Berry has proved daunting to a defensive unit that doesn’t have dynamic safety options behind him on the roster. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has become everyone’s favorite whipping boy, but a part of what ails this defense are the defensive options he has to work with. To some extent, a chef is limited to the quality of ingredients they have at their disposal. Eric Murray and Daniel Sorensen are talented players, but simply don’t have the kind of versatility to allow the Chiefs to do the same things defensively it did with Berry in the fold.