The Lie: The defense will suck
The verb usage here is key.
The Chiefs defense has sucked. No one would or should deny that much—that goes for the players and coaches involved, too. Chris Jones had his sacks in Week 1. Tyrann Mathieu had his picks in Week 2. Beyond those individual performances, no player should be feeling good on any level of the defense about his level of execution.
So far we’ve watched an expensive (and assumedly deep, at least in the preseason) front line turn into a turnstile for opposing running backs and fail to generate anything meaningful in the way of pressure.
We’ve watched the second level take poor angles and struggle with tackling against the run, and the linebackers have looked even worse in coverage.
In the secondary, the tackling issues have only multiplied and somewhere between communication and reads, players out-of-place have allowed multiple big plays.
That’s a lot to be concerned about.
The lie, however, is saying that they will suck. The Chiefs defense hasn’t legitimately been horrible for any long stretch since the start of the team’s championship season. The reason for that is the level of talent, the presence of leadership, and the intelligence of coaches. All three of those things are still very much in place, if not more so, on this present team.
The whiplash of Spags criticism has been overwhelming online the last couple weeks, but here’s the same D.C. who has been on the sidelines for two consecutive Super Bowls. It’s as if the majority of Chiefs Kingdom thinks Spags and company are riding on the offense’s coattails and nothing more. However, to go back and rewatch those postseason runs is to realize just how effective the defense was in adjusting and then stopping very, very good teams—teams with real Super Bowl hopes of their own.
The Chiefs just played two championship contenders back-to-back to start the year while they’re growing into their own skin. New players need time to settle. Rookies are going to look like rookies. Teams are coming out with new ways to try to attack (or defend) the Chiefs, and K.C.’s coaches will go to the tape to adjust.
Willie Gay will return and Nick Bolton will get better. Chris Jones will gain experience outside, and Jarran Reed will learn the system. Let’s not forget just how young the entire cornerback position is, where Charvarius Ward is the elder statesman at 25. We can also assume others will improve from a group of Turk Wharton, Juan Thornhill, Mike Danna, Josh Kaindoh, and Khalen Saunders.
In short, the Chiefs defense will get better. You can count on it.