Don't expect wholesale changes with the Kansas City Chiefs defense. OTAs are a time to learn the scheme on offense and defense and right now the Chiefs defensive coordinator is teaching many of the same things he did last year.
"Bob [Sutton] will throw in a wrinkle here and there," Chiefs DE Mike DeVito said this week, via quotes from the Chiefs, "but I think for the most part it's been about keeping the same stuff that we were doing from last year which is good. It gives everybody a chance to get your ‘master's degree' if you know what I mean. Now you can play a step faster and you can learn the minute details of the defense."
What problems from last year do the Chiefs need to address? The pass rush and the deep safety come to mind.
The pass rush problems last year came down to Justin Houston and Tamba Hali getting hurt. Both pass rushers going down in a defense that really, really needs its pass rushers? Bad luck. The Chiefs hope they addressed this with the addition of first round pick Dee Ford.
The other is the back-end of the defense, the safety position. The Chiefs were torched there in the playoff loss to the Colts. Kendrick Lewis is now gone and in is Husain Abdullah and Sanders Commings who are competing for the job.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton recently had some interesting words on the Chiefs safety position that helps explain what they're looking for.
"We try to play both safeties equally -- we don't really have a strong and a free, so both guys have to know both jobs," Sutton said, via quotes from the Chiefs.
The safeties do have to know both jobs. Eric Berry, for instance, has played some of the single-high safety this offseason that we've been talking about. Berry lines up everywhere but most often it's closer to the line of scrimmage.
Go back to the playoff loss to the Colts and examine Husain Abdullah's role. He played man and zone. He lined up near the line like a linebacker but also in the slot covering TY Hilton (when he wasn't dropping bombs on the Chiefs secondary). He lined up deep. He's a good example of playing multiple positions (and he did a nice job of it, too).
"Free safeties can do a lot of things," Sutton continued, "a lot of it goes unnoticed but you can cap off a play. A play that maybe was run or caught for 20 yards but that guy is there to stop it at 20 yards. That's a big part of being successful, anytime you can limit the explosive players and keep them down the better off you are. You're asking a lot, you've got to be a center fielder, you've got to have good knowledge of the defense, like every team is asking out of their safeties."
Some of the Chiefs problems last year seemed to do more with personnel than scheme. The playoff loss, for instance, was about personnel. The Chiefs win that game if Brandon Flowers doesn't go down and Dunta Robinson is forced into a position where he'll get torched. Same with the pass rush last season. There's only so much the scheme can do when you spend a third of the season without a pass rusher who is about make a boatload of money. Part of being good is being lucky with injuries.
I'm sure there will be some tweaks to what they did on defense last year. The Chiefs just aren't broadcasting that to the world yet.