I'm not quite sure I understand this myself, so bear with me as I process this out loud.
Chris Thorman asks a great question about the Chiefs defense this year. It's a good and simple query: Is the defense worse than last year? The understanding that last year was historically bad. Historically. That's never a good adjective to attach to anything remotely negative because it's a polite way of saying "absolutely pathetic." We all know the record sack totals (or lack thereof) and the corresponding two win season.
So upon first glance, it does seem that we have some playmakers. It seems Glenn Dorsey is coming into his own. Tamba Hali is adjusting well and becoming a potential pass rushing force. Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr continue to catch some footballs thrown their way and create some turnovers. And the first-day draft picks of Alex Magee and Tyson Jackson hold out hope for the future. But I go back to Chris's question again and wonder if these stats are lying to us.
In other words, are these guys just putting up stats on a bad team? After all, even Kevan Barlow, Chris Brown and Tyrone Wheatley have run for 1,000 yard seasons in recent years. Yet that doesn't mean we look back on such players as all-world running backs. Sure we didn't have any sacks last year, but the schemes have changed. Could that be the reason for Tamba's newfound presence? Or is he really that talented and has been properly misused up until this point?
The reason I even wonder about such things is this: Typically a great player elevates the level of the players around him. And I see absolutely none of that on the Chiefs defense.
More after the jump:How many Denver RBs crashed and burned after leaving the system and o-line? Alvin Harper leaves the Cowboys for free agent money in Tampa and becomes absolutely nothing away from Aikman, Emmitt and Irvin. It happens again and again. Some good stats are one level, but a true playmaker is another. You watch what Troy Polamalu does to the Pittsburgh defense and you realize that the rest of the players simply aren't as good as you thought they were. Same thing when Brian Urlacher goes down; when he's good, guys like Lance Briggs cash in and Hunter Hillenmeyer becomes a familiar name for NFL fans.
But I'm not seeing that. I'm seeing promising players give up rushing records to the Browns. I'm seeing our talented secondary still get picked on with five 300+ yard passing games this season (a number that would be much higher if we didn't play losers like the Raiders QBs twice, Brady Quinn, Jason Campbell and the ghost of Jim Kelly in Buffalo). I just don't see a playmaker making decent guys look good and good guys look great - and that's after high round draft choices have been spent on our line and secondary.
It seems what's needed most is an absolute beast on defense. You know, the one we had and then traded away in Jared Allen? You know, the one we thought we were getting with our top-five draft picks the last two years? Of course, there's no formula for these things and I certainly think Dorsey and Jackson hold good-to-great promise. But the Chiefs need it sooner than later and of all teams, the Browns revealed the true state of our defense.