15 Days to Camp: Bob Sutton

Last year we all witnessed the Chiefs second half defensive meltdown. In its aftermath, we all came to the same conclusion, Bob Sutton, the man in charge of the unit, didn't seem to have enough answers to fix it. In year two on the job, no one coach on Andy Reid's staff has more pressure to succeed than KC's battle tested defensive coordinator.

Make no mistake about it Bob Sutton is a football man. He's logged in a lot of years in both the collegiate and professional ranks. He's more than paid his dues and had success at various levels of coaching.

In Kansas City, he came to the Chiefs a year ago shortly after Andy Reid took over as head coach. Though there were other potential candidates the former New York Jets defensive coordinator and Army Head Coach, certainly brought an impressive resume to Kansas City.

After the Chiefs marched out to a 9-0 start, which was a direct result of Sutton's sack happy unit that was on pace to set an NFL record, everyone thought they'd be able to continue that type of play once the schedule got tougher.

But injuries to Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and lack of playmaking in the secondary, doomed his unit that ultimately began to resemble the 32 ranked defenses that ruled this franchise for many years.

Unable to sack quarterbacks nor create turnovers in crunch time, Sutton was unable to do anything but watch in horror. Sure he could have made some adjustments but he didn't have the horses to play the style of in your face defense he wanted once the injuries mounted and confidence was lost.

Still Sutton never adjusted any of his schemes and the results on the field were disastrous. He kept playing the same style defense even knowing his players couldn't execute it.

I admit, after he failed to change his defensive approach during the playoff loss to the Colts last January, I was stunned Reid gave him another year in Kansas City.

That coaching performance was certainly worthy of a firing but Reid isn't that type of head coach. He knows Sutton was somewhat hamstrung last season because he understood KC's defense was more mirage than substance.

Heading into 2014 Sutton won't garner any extended sympathy from his head coach. He gave him a free pass last season but swimming in the waters of defensive mediocrity won't be tolerated in year two of Reid's rebuilding project.

Sutton has more weapons on defense this season and a solid understanding of the shortcomings he inherited from former Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator, Romeo Crennel.

Playing defense in the NFL is challenging. However, the philosophy for a dominating defense isn't complex. If you put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, tackle the opponents in front of you, trust your defensive mates on the field and create turnovers, any group of NFL defenders can build themselves into a cohesive unit.

Last season KC's defense simply fell apart in the second half. The team won only two of their last seven games and ultimately hit rock bottom after blowing a 28-point second half lead in the post-season to the Colts. It was the lowest point of the season for Sutton and he should consider himself darn lucky he gets another year on Reid's staff.

The good news for Chiefs fans is that Sutton has decades of experience. That means he should understand what has to be done in bringing KC's defense to a level it can make plays in the fourth quarter.

At some point though, despite the coaching efforts of Sutton (good or bad), the individual players have to step up. We can blame Sutton all we want for what happened last winter but at days end, nobody defensively stood up.

So Sutton doesn't deserve all the blame, just a part of it. Still either way he'll ultimately take the fall if his unit fails.

Nest Up: Dwayne Bowe




WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Is Bob Sutton the answer in 2014?


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