Chiefs defense is finding identity at right time under Steve Spagnuolo

Kansas City Chiefs Bashaud Breeland (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs Bashaud Breeland (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs /

The Kansas City Chiefs defense has found it’s identity when it matters most under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Coming into training camp in 2019, the Kansas City Chiefs had one goal on their mind. Reaching the Super Bowl in 2019 following an overtime loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship was all that mattered. Of course, every team has the goal of making the Super Bowl coming into any season, but the Chiefs were an offsides penalty away from realizing their dream.

General manager Brett Veach spent the offseason working hard to bring in the right pieces to make this goal possible. Not only did Kansas City have to overhaul talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they started over with new coaching staff on that side as well. Shortly after the Chiefs cut ties with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, Steve Spagnuolo signed as the new man in charge of the defense.

Defensive line coach Brendan Daly came over from the New England Patriots. Former Kentucky head coach Matt House was brought in as the linebackers coach. To finish up the back end, Dave Merritt was brought in as the defensive backs coach who spent time with the New York Giants during their Super Bowl seasons. Sam Madison, a former NFL cornerback for 12 years, comes in as the cornerbacks/defensive backs coach.

Optimism flooded Chiefs Kingdom with a new coaching staff that was known for being aggressive and willing to make changes. Sutton was criticized for his inability to adapt or disguise his coverages. He also lacked the ability to put players in a position to have success. Mix that with some big names through free agency, and an exciting draft class, it was easy to be excited about what this defense could do in 2019.

Unfortunately, the optimism wore off rather quickly for much of the fan base. Given the lack of immediate success, the defense took shots from the media and fans. With some frustrating games early in the season, many fans started to lose confidence in the fact that it would take time for this defense to look better.  Such a radical reconstruction cannot happen overnight.

These last three games have been a showcase of that turnaround for the Chiefs defense. Fighting through adversity, the defense came together and found its identity at the right time as we enter the final stretch.