We polled the FanSided experts from our AFC West rivals to get an outside perspective on the Chiefs. Today’s subject: the defensive makeover.
Given that teams in the AFC West play each other twice each season, it’s easy to get to know various faces on rival rosters. For the Chargers, Broncos, and Raiders, fans and front offices alike are going to have to get used to an entirely new defensive unit for the Kansas City Chiefs.
After years of watching Justin Houston and Eric Berry suit up against the offenses of the West, they have not only been replaced but some numbers have been given away. Dee Ford not only emerged but was traded away. Other familiar players like Allen Bailey and Steven Nelson are also gone, part of the complete overhaul undertaken by Brett Veach this offseason after the team decided to replace longtime defensive coordinator Bob Sutton with Steve Spagnuolo.
With so many imports, we wanted to get a read on how outsiders are viewing the defensive moves. All this week, we’ve asked experts from sites covering the Chiefs rivals for their answers to various questions (see questions on Mahomes’ expectations and Tyreek Hill’s drama). Today’s entry looks at the defensive makeover in K.C.
The defense has been rebuilt from top to bottom for the most part. What’s the feeling about the Chiefs defensive moves? Do they feel desperate? Do they look dangerous? Is it a wait-and-see thing?
Sayre Bedinger (Broncos): I love what the Chiefs did at safety despite losing Eric Berry. Tyrann Mathieu has long been one of my favorite players, and I think Juan Thornhill is going to be a very solid instant contributor there. It can’t get any worse at corner, can it?
I hated the Chiefs’ pass rush moves. I thought one of the main reasons they were able to win so many games last year was ironically because of their pass rush. The offense certainly put them in position to win a lot of games but you don’t just outscore teams in the NFL. You have to make big plays. I look at their shootout with the Rams as evidence of that. The Chiefs’ defense made some huge plays in that game.
Dee Ford had seven forced fumbles last year. That’s a ridiculous number. I don’t like that the Chiefs replaced Justin Houston and Dee Ford with Emmanuel Ogbah and Frank Clark, especially considering the draft compensation and money they gave to Clark.
Travis Wakeman (Chargers): I think it’s a wait and see thing. If the team’s defense was just this much better last year, they would have been in the Super Bowl. I do think the signing of Tyrann Mathieu was a solid move.
Brad Weiss (Raiders): When it comes to the Chiefs defense, and this is from the outside, they lost a lot of veteran leadership this offseason in guys like Dee Ford, Eric Berry, and Justin Houston. However, I absolutely loved the safety out of Virginia (Thornhill), and wanted the Raiders to target him in the second round. In addition, guys like Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu are proven players at the NFL level.
The one wild card I think for this Chiefs defense is going to be Darron Lee. Being from N.Y., I have seen this kid play almost every Sunday, and he is very inconsistent, although very physically gifted.
[Note: Our appreciation goes out to Sayre Bedinger of Predominantly Orange (Denver Broncos), Brad Weiss of Just Blog Baby (Oakland Raiders), and Travis Wakeman of Bolt Beat (L.A. Chargers) for taking the time to answer our inquiries.]