The Kansas City Chiefs Still Can't Get It Right on Defense

If you can recall last season (or if you actually want to), you'll remember that the Kansas City Chiefs defense was plain terrible, giving up nearly 400 yards of offense to opposing teams each week. The Chiefs took it on the chin in the running game as well, ending up ranked 30th in the NFL against the run. 

Unfortunately, this year isn't turning out to be much different. New coaching staff and scheme aside, these Chiefs are producing the same results on defense. I can't believe I'm typing that this year's team is worse against the run. That is just ridiculous. 

In fact, Mrs. Arrowhead Pride has taken to watching the Chiefs game each week just to hear the inevitable, "The Chiefs gave up a record...." And when that happens, she laughs uncontrollably while I sulk. 

To try and figure out if this Chiefs' D is worse than last year's, we're talking ranks and improvement (or lack thereof), after the jump.

 

Last March, I looked at the two worst defenses in each year during the last decade and compared them to where they ended up ranked (in yards per game) the next year.

I wanted to see what we could expect a reasonable improvement to be for the Chiefs' D.

  • 1998: Indianapolis Colts (29th to 15th), Carolina Panthers (30th to 26th)
  • 1999: Washington Redskins (30th to 4th), Cleveland Browns (31st to 26th)
  • 2000: Arizona Cardinals (31st to 28th), Seattle Seahawks (32nd to 20th)
  • 2001: Atlanta Falcons (30th to 19th), Carolina Panthers (31st to 2nd)
  • 2002: Detroit Lions (31st to 24th), Kansas City Chiefs (32nd to 29th)
  • 2003: Houston Texans (31st to 23rd), Atlanta Falcons (32nd to 14th)
  • 2004: Kansas City Chiefs (31st to 25th), New Orleans Saints (32nd to 14th)
  • 2005: Houston Texans (31st to 24th), San Francisco 49ers (32nd to 26th)
  • 2006: Washington Redskins (31st to 8th), Tennessee Titans (32nd to 5th)
  • 2007: Buffalo Bills (31st to 14th), Detroit Lions (32nd to 32nd)
  • 2008: Kansas City Chiefs (31st to ???), Detroit Lions (32nd to ???)

I averaged out the improvement in rankings and the average improvement was an increase of 11 spots in the rankings after being the worst or second worst defense.

With the exception of the 2001 Cardinals, the 2002 Chiefs and the 2007 Detroit Lions, every team improved their defensive rank by at least five spots. 

Unfortunately, the Chiefs look like they're going to be one of those exceptions again this season. I've compared the 2008 Chiefs defensive ranks with the 2009 ranks:

 

2008 2009 Difference
Yards/Game 31 30 +1
Rushing yards 30 31 -1
Passing yards 28 19 +9
Sacks 32 31 +1
1st downs/game 31 21t +10
Points/game 29 31 -2

Pretty sad, huh? 

There are some improvements but I don't think any one here will argue those are because of talent or coaching. It's relatively easy to be a low ranked run defense and have a relatively high pass defense when you're going by yards per game.

The Chiefs are almost assured of being another one of the exceptions I mentioned above, where their defensive rank doesn't improve by more than five spots from year to year. 

To get us going this morning, is this year's D worse than last year's?

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