The Chiefs Defense Looks Faster
During the Patrick Mahomes era in Kansas City the defense has been viewed as a unit that needed to do “just enough”. This has been a team that relies on its offense to win and their defense to not lose. Yes, the Chiefs have had some fantastic defensive players during this recent run of success, but the overall unit hasn’t been one that teams fear.
I’m not ready to say that NFL teams should fear the Chiefs defense yet, but it does look like one of the long standing problems with this defense has finally been adequately addressed. For years the Chiefs have used a lot of veteran players that “know the system”. These players had the faith of the coaching staff, but simply lacked the speed and athletic upside you want at the NFL level. I won’t throw individual players under the bus here, but any Chiefs fan could probably name 5-6 guys that fit that description from the last four years.
For the first time in the Patrick Mahomes era, it looks like the Chiefs will have the speed and athleticism that has been lacking. This appears to be especially true at the linebacker and safety positions. Those positions in particular have been an issue in that department. At safety, the top four safeties (Justin Reid, Juan Thornhill, Bryan Cook, and Deon Bush) all look like they can hang at the NFL level from a size/speed/athleticism standpoint.
At linebacker, it looks like the Chiefs are finally ready to trust Willie Gay as an every down player. Gay has always flashed incredible speed/power/athleticism when he’s been able to get on the field and he did that again on Saturday. The combination of Gay and Nick Bolton being on the field for most of the defensive snaps could give the Chiefs one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.
Up front, Chris Jones looks like he’s poised to have another great year. Frank Clark did look like he was moving the best he has in years and George Karlaftis (more on him in a moment) looks like he’ll definitely add some juice to the pass rush. You throw in a slew of young cornerbacks and you’ve got the makings of a defense that will play with a ton of speed, athleticism, and energy and that is something we haven’t seen from this defense in recent years.
I do think Chiefs fans need to be ready to embrace some mistakes from this defense, especially early on. When you are playing a bunch of young players and they are playing fast and aggressive, there are going to be mistakes. I can live with occasional blown plays if the rest of the time the defense is bringing some intensity.
Now let’s talk a little about KC’s rookie class.