The Defensive Blueprint
Here are the primary things that the Chiefs should take away from this game going forward when it comes to the defense.
The Chiefs finally started Thornhill over Dan Sorensen and Willie Gay logged his highest snap total since coming back from a preseason injury. Those two players bring much needed speed and athleticism to a defense that is really lacking in that area. You can live with an occasional mental mistake from these guys because you were getting those when they were on the bench too. These two should both be a central part of this defense the rest of the season.
2. Find ways to keep using Nick Bolton between the tackles
We can debate if it was a good idea to use a valuable second round draft pick on a linebacker with limited athleticism and coverage skills, but the fact is that Bolton is a solid tackler that works through traffic well and wraps up consistently and this defense can use a guy like that. The Chiefs just need to scheme up ways to keep him in situations that play to his strengths and minimize his weaknesses.
The Chiefs arguably had their best week of play from their defensive ends without their biggest name defensive end even being active. The Chris Jones defensive end experiment just hasn’t been good enough to warrant taking him out of the interior where he is one of the best at creating interior pressure. Clark and Danna weren’t amazing today, but good enough to get the job done, especially if you add Jones production on the interior into the mix. I’m not saying they can’t ever slide Jones outside to mix things up, but both Clark and Danna should out snap him on the outside from here on out.
4. Make Rashad Fenton a fixture at cornerback on the outside
Hopefully the Chiefs will be getting Charvarius Ward back from injury sooner rather than later, but when they do, it should be Mike Hughes that loses playing time not Rashad Fenton. You can make a pretty strong case that Fenton has been K.C.’s best corner so far this season and that’s including L’Jarius Sneed. A fully healthy Ward and Fenton on the outside, with Sneed in the slot where they can also utilize his blitzing upside, is likely their best combination with Hughes providing depth.
Following these four steps won’t turn the Chiefs defense into an elite unit, but I believe it does lay the foundation for them to turn the page from the complete disaster that the first five games of the season were. Now let’s talk about the blueprint for the offense.