C.J. Spiller & Ryan Fitzpatrick
With two games in the books on the 2012 season, the Kansas City Chiefs are showing they’re far from the team many felt defensively they’d be at this stage of the season. So who gets the blame?
To answer that question off the bat, everyone. With an 0-2 mark heading into New Orleans next weekend, the Kansas City Chiefs defense appears to be sinking fast.
As preparation began for Sunday’s Bills game this week, all the Chiefs had to do in order to defeat Buffalo was contend with the enormous talents of running back, C.J. Spiller. The rest of the offense led by Head Coach Chan Gailey doesn’t have that much overall talent. Certainly not more than the Chiefs offense.
In the first half Spiller torched the Chiefs defense, ran around them for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he added 47 yards catching three screen passes from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. And all the Chiefs defense could do was let him do it until they finally shut him down in the second half.
So why did it take so long to adjust to Spiller? That’s because, Chiefs Head Coach Romeo Crennel, could not convince his players to stay in their lanes defensively.
But what is concerning right now after back-to-back blowout losses, his players aren’t adhering to his pleas.
If this continues, the questions I dismissed so adamantly weeks ago that indicated that maybe the job of head coach and defensive coordinator might be too much for Crennel, could change. I’d say for the moment - he gets failing grades for both jobs.
But what can he really do with an average group of defenders who aren’t playing well at any position. In fact, this defensive unit reminds me of the ones that former Head Coach, Dick Vermeil, rolled out during his tenure in Kansas City. Now I won’t go as far as giving this unit that nickname. But when you give up 75 points in two weeks of play, they’re quickly gaining ground.
But when you have horrific play at Safety, and I’m referring to Eric Berry in that criticism. He’s yet to make a single play in two games that has made an impact for this defense. In front of him, it’s clear Derrick Johnson isn’t 100%, Jovan Belcher is too slow to do anything but gang tackle and it appears to me that - Tamba Hali is not at an ideal playing weight.
To make things worse, the front three have all but disappeared. With no pressure up the middle, because Crennel continues to tinker with his nose tackles, the line isn’t stable. I know some have criticized the selection of Dontari Poe but he’s the teams best nose tackle and it’s time he plays three downs not one or two here and there. Just start the kid and take your chances.
If Poe can make the leap to productivity, then maybe the awful play of Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey, who continue to get blown off the ball on every snap, might be worthy of their perch atop the depth chart.
To me, and I’m not going to be swayed in my thought process on this debate, Jackson’s not a 3-4 defensive end. He’s an interior defensive lineman better suited for a 4-3 scheme. And Dorsey, who is playing as of he doesn’t deserve a contract extension, has yet to show signs of life in 2012.
Ok maybe I’m spilling sour milk or grapes. But this kind of defensive football is unacceptable for a coach as respected as Crennel. Let me put it this way. KC’s defense a year ago, decimated by injuries and lack of talent, is better than the group that the head coach has worked with since April of this year.
I’m really not sure what the answer might be to change the fortunes of this defense because there are no superstars available.
But that doesn’t mean the team should stand pat on their roster. The refusal, unwillingness or lack of interest with a trunk load of cap space in the bank to add any street guys, like defensive end Shaun Smith or Linebacker Shawne Merriman, needs to be questioned.
Still before I get on my tangent, it’s unlikely either would have helped the Chiefs win the last two weeks. However, it might have lit a fire under some of the veterans who aren’t living up to their draft accolades or their current performance on the field.
In reality, there are still two more games to play in September (New Orleans on the road and San Diego at home). And one would appear that next Sunday’s contest against the hapless Saints, might not be as daunting as it once appeared when the schedule came out last April.
But then again, the Chiefs defense isn’t exactly swimming with confidence nor is it very well coached right now. So it’s easy to assume based on what the Falcons and Bills have done to KC’s defense the last two weekends, the Saints offense may get healthy next weekend in the Big Easy.
And should that occur, the Chiefs defensive doldrums may not expire anytime soon.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Does Head Coach Romeo Crennel have too much on his plate?
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