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How the Kansas City Chiefs secondary lined up in base, nickel and dime defenses

The Chiefs have a bevy of moving parts in the secondary, but pieced together another great effort on Sunday.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs came into the season with their secondary as a perceived flaw. With Brandon Flowers gone, many thought the Chiefs would struggle to cover with Sean Smith and Marcus Cooper on the outside, Christopher Owens in the slot, and Eric Berry and Husain Abdullah behind them.

As it turns out, everybody was wrong. Kansas City leads the league in passing yards allowed per game with a secondary that has changed more often than a woman before a first date. The Chiefs benched Cooper for Jamell Fleming, then started Phillip Gaines for an injured Owens. At safety, Berry missed five games with an ankle injury, pressing Ron Parker into duty along with Kurt Coleman as the third safety.

Base defense

On Sunday, Kansas City finally got Berry back while Owens and Fleming remain out with injuries. The result was a base defense of Smith and Gaines on the outside with Abdullah and Parker in their safety roles. Both Smith and Gaines had terrific games, sans the deep ball to Percy Harvin in the fourth quarter allowed by Smith.

Nickel defense

In subpackages, the thing to remember is that the Chiefs were extremely multiple. The players listed in these formations weren't exclusively in these positions -- Bob Sutton switched things up.

Kansas City brought Berry in for nickel packages, playing him on 51 of 69 snaps. In this formation, Parker moved to the outside corner while Gaines slid inside, something that drew the ire of many fans. Parker has struggled mightily as a corner, but the coaches still favor him on the outside over Marcus Cooper, who only saw seven snaps. Frankly, color me astounded.

Dime defense

In the dime, the Chiefs brought in Coleman and allowed Berry to roam at times. Berry was often responsible for the running back out of the flat, letting Coleman, Abdullah and Parker play traditional safety roles. In other words, Bob Sutton enjoys being a mad scientist with the safeties.

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