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Andy Reid on Bob Sutton and the Chiefs suddenly troubling defense

It only takes glancing at one number on the stat sheet—the Oakland Raiders’ net yardage at 505—to realize that the defense was an obvious problem in the Chiefs’ 31-30 loss Thursday night.

Derek Carr with more than 400 passing yards. Amari Cooper with more than 200 receiving yards. Tight end Jared Cook, who had no more than 56 yards in any game this year prior to Thursday night, he went for 107.

So if you’re Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, what do you do?

“I think you look at it,” Reid said, simply. “Are you close? Do you have people close to receivers in the run game, close to the ball carrier, all those things you look at, and then you have to go, ‘OK I could have done something a little better here.’

“This is all play-calls. This is what play-callers do. ‘I could have done a little better here. Am I putting the guys in the right position to make a play? And do we have to make the play?’ and that’s what the team part is all about here. When everybody takes accountability for that, normally you can flip things around. To tell you that (defensive coordinator) Bob (Sutton) is not going to go back and look at things, he does that. I mean that’s what he does. He’s a great coach.”

To be fair to Sutton, he has done a nice job through seven games given the circumstances. The hand he thought he would have (Eric Berry, Steve Nelson, a healthy Tamba Hali) was not the hand he was dealt (Dan Sorensen, Terrance Mitchell, sometimes Frank Zombo), and if there’s is any ace in the hole (how about a little poker talk) missing, it’s been Berry.

“You’re talking about the best safety in football,” Reid said.

That’s very true, and at least up until last night, Sorensen and Eric Murray had been getting the job done. But Murray was exploited Thursday night, and it feels like the Chiefs suddenly need help.

And that’s coming, not in the form of Berry, but Nelson. And by the sound of Reid’s voice on the conference call, it could be sooner rather than later.

“You have a chance of getting [Nelson] back potentially now,” Reid said. “You can’t have enough of those secondary guys, whether it’s corners in that position there, guys that can cover. You see how this league is and these receivers are, so you need to have as many of those guys as you can in there. We welcome him back in there as long as he can go.”

While Nelson is eligible to return to practice as of now, he can’t return to a game until Week 9 against the Cowboys.

So the Chiefs will once again have the heavily-targeted Terrance Mitchell at starting right cornerback against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. If there’s any solace, the Broncos are a little banged up at the receiver position at the moment, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Raiders made a habit of exploiting Mitchell in the loss.

“We tried to change things up, mix it up the best you can,” Reid said.

Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree beat Mitchell on the game-winning play.

“That last play, any outbreaking route, it really doesn’t matter the coverage. You have an outbreaking route or a stop route, it’s tough to double a guy that way. Bob (Sutton) had doubles on most of those calls down in there to help out with people, but when you’re outside there, you’re on a bit of an island in particular with stop routes or outbreaking routes. That’s just how that works.

“The one thing we got is we’re getting tight coverage for the most part. We just have to make sure we start making plays at that particular point when given that chance.”

The calvary is coming, but whether it comes next week against Denver remains to be seen. Until it does, the Chiefs’ current defenders will just need to play better.

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