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I am converting this thread to one to carry into the season. Post defense related stories or observations that don't fit elsewhere.

We fully expect Mahomes to lead one of the top three offenses year after year. Our defenses have been more problematic. 

During Alex Smith's last season and Mahomes' MVP season, the defense was bottom ten. For the Champions, it was middle of the league. Last season it regressed by many metrics. The Super Bowl saw the offense fall apart under a relentless pass rush, but it also saw the defense picked apart. 

To be blunt, last season the team was not as good as its W/L record indicated. Scoring differential can be used to predict a record, and the Chiefs projected between 10 and 11 wins, not 14. Here's Nate Silver's 538 on the subject.
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/can-the-kansas-city-chiefs-keep-getting-this-lucky/ 

For 2021, much attention was lavished on the OL. Otherwise, offensive changes amount to tweaks. Defensively, not so much. Starting players signed with other teams, notably Tanoh Kpassagnon and Bashaud Breeland. Four players from the draft went to offense and only a 2nd round LB and a 4th round DE for the defense. At this point, neither appears ready to step in and play significant snaps.

However, in spite of the losses and with no impact from the draft, optimism about the defense is radiating from training camp. Why?

To a large extent it comes trade acquisitions--Darren Reed, Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker. Reed is an acknowledged talent. Hughes and Baker were 1st round picks who have injury history. To those you can add another 1st round pick, Taco Charlton, who is returning from a season ending ankle injury. Possibly as important is the development of second year players--Willie Gay, L'Jarius Sneed, Mike Danna, and Turk Wharton. Of those eight, only Sneed and Wharton were significant in last year's playoff run and both will be asked to take on larger roles this season.

So, the question is, how good are they? It's not how good will they be because the first two games are against Cleveland and Baltimore, with Buffalo lurking in game #5. How good will they be when Baker Mayfield comes to town?

J

Edited by onejayhawk
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Posted (edited)

It's the day before Preseason game #1. 

Camp has shown some eye-openers. Chris Jones lost weight and has been a beast. Jarren Powell makes moving Jones to DE look like the right idea. Willie Gay gets it. Mike Hughes has stepped into the Bashad Breeland role with barely a hiccup while L'Jarius Sneed looks like a Pro Bowler at slot. Depth looks significantly better. 

Last season they finished #16 in yards allowed and #10 in points allowed, but #19 in sacks and dead last in RZ%. A significant step up will make them elite. Will it happen? will the pass pressure step up a notch or two?

J

Edited by onejayhawk
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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, HolmesPriest said:

Top 10

They were top 10 last year in points allowed. Middle pack in yards allowed. 2019 was better.

If you mean improved on 2020, I get you. Improved how much?

J

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Yeah a bit improved on 2020.

Quite a bit better in run defense, maybe similar or marginally better in pass defense both in terms of yards given up. This would make us around 8-10 overall?

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11 hours ago, onejayhawk said:

They were top 10 last year in points allowed. Middle pack in yards allowed. 2019 was better.

If you mean improved on 2020, I get you. Improved how much?

J

That new linebacker, Nick Bolton, we drafted seems like he will uptick them guys, I heard he likes to hit people.

Our front 4 will be better, even if Frank Clark misses some time, especially with Chris Jones sliding out to the edge.

The run defense might be a bit better, dunno about that one yet.

With better pass rush, it will help our secondary, who I think Sneed will ball out this year.

If they can manage to work as a complete unit, I could easily see a top 10 defense, especially if teams are stuck throwing the ball trying to keep up with our offense.

But it is preseason, and all dreams are possible.

 I would like to think they will be the best defense in the league :D 

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I think they’ll sit between 10-15 in yards allowed.

8-12 in 3rd down% and points.

I think we’ll see a much more consistent D,   With a powerful yet frustrating offense at times.    Offense will finish with better statistics,  but I think the consistency of the D will be better,  

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Chris Jones on the edge is looking like the future. Quickness, power, and fewer run defense responsibilities. Whether he's opposite Danna or Clark, there is a good run guy across from him and they can both get upfield. Replacing Jones at DT with Jarran Reed is huge for the run defense. Reed and Nnadi are both stout. The pass rush guy DT is Turk Wharton. Backing them up are a couple of guys who had big camps, Saunders and Ward. We will see how much game time they earned, but it appears both will make the roster.

This is without question the deepest DL of the Andy Reid era. In true Spagnuolo fashion, expect DE to slide inside and DT to come out. Several are well suited to this sort of duality--Jones obviously, Danna, Wharton, Ward. Reed can play either 1T or 3T, so he's versatile in a different way. A rotation heavy on Reed, Nnadi and Wharton will be much better for the LB.

Speaking of LB, Gay had a huge camp and Hitchens looks quicker than he's been. Bolton is still learning the ropes, but he adds instincts and hitting to the mix. Mostly we will play two and 5 DB. 

The secondary is as deep and versatile as the DL. Both of the new CB have shown well in camp and both play good press coverage. With Mathieu and Thornhill patrolling deep, expect to see a lot of press coverage. Sneed is a CB version of Mathieu. He can do whatever the play calls for--slot, press, off-ball boundary, run support, blitz. Sneed has the look of a many time Pro-Bowler. 

In short, the defense looks much better against the run, faster, more athletic, but still able to rush the passer and stellar pass coverage. I'm not going to compare it to the Rams or Steelers, but this defense should rate with the Ravens and Colts. 

J

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3 hours ago, mayanfootball said:

Kaindoh is a big guy. I'd like to see him  keep improving. He looks like he belongs.

Saunders looks to have put on some weight/muscle. He's a mini-tank. Can he stil do backflips?

I think that was Tim Ward. 

It may be me, but Saunders looks quicker. Regardless, everyone says he's better and more confident.

Kaindoh is still learning the basics of the position. There is a lot of raw material, but he has never had any real coaching. Hopefully he's ready for real playing time in the second half of the season. 

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Tim Ward is the most pleasant surprise to me on D. He looks the part and can be very disruptive. Our D combined with the potential explosiveness of our O look to catapult the Chiefs into the Super Bowl again.

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33 minutes ago, KCsb said:

Tim Ward is the most pleasant surprise to me on D. He looks the part and can be very disruptive. Our D combined with the potential explosiveness of our O look to catapult the Chiefs into the Super Bowl again.

For me the pleasant surprise on the DL was the number of players making significant steps forward. Ward and Saunders were just bit players. Wharton and Danna were rotation guys and Chris Jones was a star. All five of them stepped up. Then you add Gay, Hitchens, Thornhill, and Sneed. Returning players all through the defense are noticeably better this year. To that add Reed, Baker, and Hughes and it looks like real depth.

There is an article from a Willie Gay interview. It sounds like the whole defense is having fun this year.
https://www.arrowheadpride.com/2021/8/28/22645621/willie-gays-newfound-scheme-understanding-makes-chiefs-defense-dangerous 

All that said, Ward may have made the most improvement. In one of the many post game articles, Ward was defensive play of the game. Like Gay, Ward always had athleticism, but he never seemed to get it before this season.
https://www.arrowheadpride.com/2021/8/28/22645618/chiefs-vikings-instabreakdown-offense-is-ready-red-zone-defense-passes-first-test

 

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This is For-What-It's-Worth. Three stars of preseason game #3 are all deep depth--Ward, Kaindoh, Bootle
https://chiefswire.usatoday.com/lists/chiefs-preseason-defense-standouts-week-3-tim-ward-joshua-kaindoh-dicaprio-bootle/

Bootle can go to PS. If we try waivers with either Ward or Kaindoh, they get snatched. The Jets might give us more than we paid for Kaindoh and something fairly nice for Ward. That's how well they played against the Vikings. 

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