From the FanPosts -Joel
Being 6-0 feels great, doesn’t it?
Oh yeah. This Chiefs defense has exceeded expectations so far this year. Just to give you an idea of just how dominant the "Chiefense" has been so far (as if you didn’t already know) take a look at the categories that the Chiefs D ranks 1st in:
--Points per game (10.8)
--Yards lost on sacks (198)
--Interceptions (10, tied with Detroit & Buffalo)
--Passes deflected (48)
--Pick six’s (3, tied with Chicago)
--Fumbles recovered (8, tied with Seattle & Chicago)
They rank top 10 in many other categories, but I think you get the picture. This Chiefs D has been entertaining to watch through these six games. For many fans the epic duo of Hali & Houston has been the talk of the town on the D. Others can’t get over the fact that rookie Marcus Cooper has played so well (you don’t need me to tell you that this guy has been outrageously good so far, even despite the touchdown he gave up to Moore over the weekend). But so far I’ve been focused on the job that our newly acquired cornerback Sean Smith has done so far this year.
In my opinion, Smith has been, hands down, our best CB this season. And he’s done his job quietly, it seems. If he keeps up this kind of play, he should surely get selected to the Pro Bowl this year.
Let’s take a look at the numbers, because numbers are good. Our boys over at Pro Football Focus have Smith graded at a 7.7, which is good for the 5th best grade at the CB position. Through the first six games this year, QB’s have a 41.3 QB rating when throwing Smith’s way, which is also good for 5th best in the league (for guys that have played at least 112 snaps).
How did the QB’s get such a low rating? Well, Smith has been targeted 37 times this year, and has allowed 15 catches (that’s a 40.5 completion %) for 148 yards (which makes 9.9 yards/catch). To round out the stats, Smith has allowed 0 touchdowns, while grabbing an interception and deflecting five passes.
I’d say those are pretty damn good numbers for a "number two" cornerback. But to get a little visual with this post, I’ll go ahead and post up a few plays of Smith’s that stood out and impressed me.
(Note: Sorry about the not-so-great quality of the pics below. My internet connection hasn’t been the greatest lately, so the videos aren’t the best of quality when paused to grab screenshots.)
This pic above me shows Sean Smith (marked by a red X) going up against the Titans’ Kenny Britt (circled in yellow). The situation is 1st & goal on the 7 yard-line, Chiefs up 13-7 in the 2nd quarter. The Chiefs seem to be prepared for the pass, running a 3-3-5 formation. Sean Smith is playing man coverage, and he knows what the deal is on this play: Fitz is going to attempt a goal line fade to Britt.
As the play breaks, Smith’s job is to face towards Britt and use his hands to jam him towards the sidelines. He’ll have to watch to make sure there isn’t too much contact though, or the flag-happy refs from this game will call pass interference.
As you can see, Smith completes his job of disrupting Britt, causing enough trouble for him to not be able to hang on to the ball.
So yeah, Smith defended this play once, but can he do it again? Yes he can, and he did on the very next play:
The Titans went out on the next play and tried the same thing, only this time to 6-foot-4 receiver Justin Hunter. On this pic, I’ve circled the ball with a yellow circle. As you can see, Smith again is using his hands to get in the face of the receiver. Smith is challenging these guys to jump over him to go after the ball.
Again, Smith was able to disrupt the receiver and successfully defend the play. Hunter wanted a flag, but since the play moved so quick it’s hard to tell whether the Smith’s defense was clean or not. I’d say it was clean, but then you’d call me a homer (in which I am).
Want another? Of course you do! This one was over the weekend against the Raiders, and was another play showed me Smith’s ability to stay with his receivers and make plays on the ball.
On this play, Raiders receiver Andre Holmes runs a quick slant that goes for about five yards. Holmes’ release wasn’t very quick though, and Smith was able to stay in phase with Holmes without making too much contact with him (Smith has only had 1 penalty called on him this season).
I loved this right here. Smith dives right over Holmes’ back and gets his hand on the ball, knocking it away, setting up a third down for Oakland. Smith’s man coverage has been outstanding so far this year.
(Another Note: NFL Game Rewind releasing coaches film is the best thing that has happened to Arrowhead Pride and our breakdowns. The quality of in-depth material on here has been superb).
Well, that’s all I got for ya. Hopefully, if you didn’t before, you now realize how good Smith has been for us through our (so far) undefeated season. With Flowers battling multiple injuries (like he seems to every year), it’s almost like we haven’t even noticed his absence with Smith’s play and Cooper stepping up.
(Yet Another Note: A little about me -- I’m a long time lurker here at AP and in the past have made a few posts under the name "WezKC." Since I’m working to become a sports writer at Mizzou’s J-school now, I figured it would be better to use my real name from here on out. I hope to make more posts like these in the future if time allows it.)