Kansas City Chiefs Front Seven Evaluation: Preseason Week 2

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Here we go, back in action again for Week 2 of the preseason. Kansas City played the St. Louis Rams this past weekend, and after the first two drives, the Chiefs were feeling a little burned. Big plays on the first drive and a short field/4th down conversion on the second drive resulted in the first team defense reeling a bit. Just how bad did they play, though? I've got the numbers tabulated after the jump.

A short week this week resulted in me skipping the usual bullet points to get all the information out to the readers. I did watch closely, though, so anything you would like clarified/elaborated upon, hit me up in the comments, and I'd be more than happy to answer.
  • 76% of the time, the Chiefs lined up in the 3-4 defense.
  • 24% of the time, the Chiefs removed a linebacker and a defensive lineman for a Dime defense.
  • St. Louis was really active with their offensive linemen on the early drives, opting to isolate the Chiefs defensive linemen and pull block to create mismatches in the second level. On top of that, the Chiefs linemen were not getting off of their blocks, leaving big holes with nobody to fill them.
  • The Rams also utilized very precise timing on their routes/dropbacks. The Chiefs were unable to put much pressure on the starting offense due to short dropbacks and quick slants. Adjustments have to be made in the regular season to take those passes away with the linebackers and force the quarterback to look elsewhere.
  • The Chiefs secondary seemed to overpursue, and to be a step slow in coverage this game. Eric Berry particularly had an off game. That (I'm sure) will be a rarity.
  • Poe and Ropati came into the game to replace Toribio and Jackson to try to get reps with the first team. Gordon then came in with Toribio and Jackson to replace the three of them after awhile.
  • Poe and Bailey were the first team sub package, and did some good things together. They were much improved over last week.
  • The first team defense as a whole was very vanilla. No movement on the front lines, few stunts, and little attempt to create mismatches. I would imagine this was by design, but I'd hope that these guys would turn out a bit better performance than they did.

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As you can see, Gordon turned out the best performance of the evening, facing two plays and average a negative yardage in the first half. One was a run play that both he and Tamba blew up, and the other was a zero yard gain that he and Tamba did well to stuff. Tyson, DJ, and Houston were solid as well, and Ropati got burned on a play for the only time he was run towards.

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As you can see, the time that the Rams ran away from Toribio this game, Tamba ate his lunch. It was also healthy for the Rams to run away from Belcher, as that resulted in a positive result for the Chiefs. Dorsey's high(ish) number shows the success that the Rams had running at Ropati and Poe when comparing the numbers above.

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Not much to go on here, except that the front line didn't do a very good job with all the snaps they saw.

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And that proves it. 8 free men in the first half. Three by last week's stud, Toribio. The defense just didn't do a good job of identifying the pull blocking and infiltrating/absorbing the offensive line. That sort of performance isn't going to keep this team in games against potent running offenses.

Other Items of Note

Dontari Poe led all players in the first half with two QB pressures, one that resulted in the quarterback escaping and rushing for a 22 yard gain, so that's a double edged sword. Houston and Hali each had one pressure.

DJ and Poe both recorded a batted/broken up pass.

Jovan Belcher allowed the most coverage yards and averaged 18 yards on two dropbacks. He was burned twice over the middle. DJ was the only other front seven player to face one, and it was the broken up pass.

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The Final Word

These types of games are tough to adjudge. The front seven had enough to do, but not a lot to do in the first half. The Rams went after the secondary early and often, throwing on the Chiefs base defense with success using quick strikes and exploiting coverage mismatches. They mixed in the run well, and Steven Jackson is a really hard guy to bring down. This is the type of gameplan that will beat a vanilla Chiefs defense. Luckily, Romeo's likely going to mix it up when the regular season rolls around.

I'll be back next week with more plays by the starters, and therefore closer to what I'll get to do in the regular season. See you then!

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