We’re now four games into the regular season and, for reasons beyond us, the Chiefs still can’t consistently line up on both defense and special teams. We’re four games in, and we’re still seeing guys making last-second changes in their defensive alignments at a point where it’s too little, too late. We’re four games in, and guys are still not getting off the field fast enough or looking out of position, or being caught completely off guard by what the offense presents to them.
This is not good, not good at all.
There are new faces, to be sure, on this Chiefs defense, and there are reasons to expect hiccups. The beginning of every season seems to bring with it the roughest version of a Steve Spagnuolo defense. We’ve seen this for two other seasons now and the end result has been a Super Bowl appearance both times.
It also doesn’t help that key players of the defense are out due to injuries. Defensive end Frank Clark has played one game in the first month of the season. Linebacker Willie Gay hasn’t played at all. Cornerback Chavarius Ward has missed the last two games. That’s three starters who are out. In addition, the team is experimenting with Chris Jones outside and we’ve all watched the growth curve up close—with moments both good and bad.
That said, it’s also important to note that this is not a new defense. These coaches have been in place now for years and there was zero turnover on that side of the staff this offseason. The team also has a solid defensive core of vets like Clark, Jones, Tyrann Mathieu, Anthony Hitchens, and Dan Sorensen. These are guys who’ve all been around the block together for years now, and they’ve all seen what NFL coordinators have to throw at a team.
So how in the world is this team continuing to mess up in their communication? These are sloppy mistakes marked by poor execution. Some of these penalties have been laughable, coming at the absolute worst time to allow the other team to finish off a drive or even win a game.
For weeks we’ve heard that they know what to fix and that the players and coaches are working on it. But it doesn’t look like anyone has a firm grasp on what exactly is wrong after all. If so, then it would look different than it did the last three weeks.