Five things we’ve learned about the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs Don’t Have Enough Quality Cover Corners
While the individual pieces of the run defense have given Chiefs fans reason to believe they will have what it takes this season, I don’t believe the same can be said for the pass defense. In the preseason the Chiefs have given up the third worst completion percentage (67.9%), the third worst yards per attempt allowed (8.2), and the very worst quarterback rating allowed (113.0). It’s been really, REALLY, bad.
Last season Tom Brady completed 66.3% of his passes for 7.9 yards per attempt and a 102.8 quarterback rating. So basically the Chiefs pass defense has allowed the combined group of Deshaun Watson, Brandon Weeden, Joe Webb, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Kurt Benkert, Garrett Grayson, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray to look better than Tom Brady.
Again, I know that some of that is because the Chiefs were playing simplified coverages and not blitzing as much as they will in the regular season. I know that some of those numbers were allowed by guys that aren’t going to make the team. I get it, but they still allowed Chase Daniel to complete 15-18 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns in one half going against KC’s starters in their “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. That’s not good.
I’m still holding out hope that the Chiefs pass rush will be able to crank things up a little once the regular season starts. That will help some. However, what really concerns me is the inability of the Chiefs cornerbacks not named Kendall Fuller to cover anyone. We’ve been down this road before. We’ve seen quality quarterbacks beat the Chiefs in big games time and time again because they find the Marcus Coopers and Phillip Gaines in our secondary. Right now David Amerson looks like the next guy on that list.
I don’t want to pick on Amerson, but he better get used to it because as long as he is starting for the Chiefs he’s going to get picked on all day long. Maybe Steven Nelson gets healthy and can start outside and Orlando Scandrick can play well enough in the slot to keep Amerson on the bench, but it still doesn’t look like enough. Scandrick got torched in his first action with the Chiefs. It’s too early to write him off, but he’s over 30 and on the decline. Nelson is solid but he’s more of a guy you want contributing as a valuable 3rd/4th corner not a guy you feel great about starting on the outside.
If Bashaud Breeland is healthy I believe the Chiefs should sign him even if it means paying him what the Panthers had originally agreed to earlier in the offseason. I even polled Chiefs fans to see if they would be willing to part with another starting defender to make it happen. The results were pretty clear as you can see.
An overwhelming majority of Chiefs fans think we’d be better off without Allen Bailey if it meant we could sign a proven starting cornerback (not even a Pro Bowl-caliber one). Part of that may have to do with the emergence of some guys on the defensive line but it also says a lot about the need for a better corner on this defense.
I like the upside of Tremon Smith and Arrion Springs (and would rather they play than Amerson) but if K.C. wants to win the AFC West again this year they desperately need another starting caliber cornerback. Period. Also, I know some of you are more worried about safety than cornerback. I disagree. I don’t recall a lot of times where I felt like the Chiefs lost because our safeties were getting picked on.
If your safeties our seeing that much action it’s because either the corners or the front seven aren’t getting the job done well enough. If the Chiefs front seven stops the run and gets pressure on the quarterback and the corners cover well the defense will be fine with the safeties we have. I can’t say the same thing about the corners.
Now that we got the bad news out of the way, let’s end on the most important thing that we’ve learned this offseason.