KC Chiefs: Let’s talk about defensive line coach Brendan Daly

Brendan Daly Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Brendan Daly Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

On a sorrowful Monday evening following yet another demoralizing Chiefs’ loss to the Tennessee Titans, I decided to watch the New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

Towards the end of the game, I saw Tanoh Kpassagnon, the former Chiefs defensive end, get a clutch sack late in the 4th quarter that swayed the momentum and led to an eventual Saints win. I even went as far as to check in on Kpassagnon’s stats from so far this season and sure enough, he has three sacks which would be tied for the team lead on the Chiefs.

After witnessing this, I started thinking about all the players that have left Kansas City and flourished more than they ever had with the Chiefs or came to the Chiefs after succeeding elsewhere and badly regressed. Oddly enough, most of the names I thought of were on the front four: Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah, Jarran Reed. The list goes on and on.

So, what gives? Why is a defensive line that has a quarter of the team’s cap space invested in it arguably the worst position group on the team?

Is Brendan Daly holding the defensive line back?

There’s this perception out there among NFL fans that Bill Belichick assistants generally fail when they take jobs outside of the Patriots organization. Well, the Chiefs employ Brendan Daly as their defensive line coach who was with the Patriots prior to joining Kansas City’s staff. How would fans say he’s done so far? Probably not great. Maybe I’m trying too hard to push a narrative here.

Either way, I think it really depends on how much you think a position coach impacts the way players play and develop.

I’m a pretty firm believer that good players make coaches look good to an extent. If you give a coach bad talent, there’s not much you can do to scheme around players who simply can’t get the job done. That being said, talent is not an excuse for Daly. The Chiefs have given him pieces. The list of players whose careers have faded into purgatory after joining the Chiefs or after Daly took the job is too great to ignore.

Frank Clark hasn’t sniffed anywhere close to what he was able to do in his Seattle days, and by the looks of his actions, he knows his time is done in Kansas City. The Tanoh Kpassagnon who I watched last night was probably more disruptive than I had ever seen him in Kansas City.

Alex Okafor is another example that frustrates me. Part of the reason is injuries, but he’s another guy who has declined every year since joining the roster prior to 2019 after having a really solid career with the Saints. I’m honestly not sure how he even made this year’s roster.

How about the super underrated free agent signing Jarran Reed? He legitimately looks like he’s never played the defensive tackle position before. Speaking of players playing out of position, I really hope for Daly’s sake he wasn’t the one who pushed for Chris Jones to play more defensive end.

If you look at the Kansas City Chiefs and their ability to get pressure over the last several years, their team sack totals have gone down every single year since 2018 and their ability to generate pressures and QB hits have dropped off significantly. The team also possesses the league-worst sack rate at 1.1 sacks per game and that’s going up against some rather poor offensive lines, too.

Many Chiefs fans are already calling for the team to fire persons in the organization, but it’ll likely be smaller moves before they go as far as firing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo or anything like that. That’s where Brendan Daly might feel his seat getting a little warm. If anyone were to be fired, he could be first in line given how disappointing the defensive line has been.

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