The Kansas City Chiefs defense has two big problems right now: they’re not forcing turnovers and they’re not sacking the quarterback. There are a bunch of stats we can go to but I think those are two pretty basic things about a defense and the Chiefs are struggling at both.
Let’s look at turnovers first. Brandon Kiley noted the Chiefs turnovers by year here. Can you guess the one season the Chiefs didn’t make the playoffs under Andy Reid? They’re headed towards that same fate this year.
The Chiefs defense has forced one turnover in the last four games. The Chiefs have obviously given up big yards under Bob Sutton. It was about the turnovers. The 2013, 2015 and 2016 seasons they were among the league’s best. The Chiefs are still plus-six in the turnover margin this year (tied for seventh in the league) but here are the number of turnovers forced recently: 0, 0, 1, 0, 5, 0, 1, 1, 1.
The Chiefs need to force more turnovers? Hey, you know what could help force more turnovers?
The Chiefs have 21 sacks this season which is 27th in the NFL. The Jaguars lead the NFL with 45 sacks. It’s even worse when you isolate it to this losing stretch.
They brought back Tamba Hali, they spent a first round pick on Dee Ford and they paid Justin Houston ... I know injuries happen but with that investment you don’t expect Frank Zombo to be lining up on key downs as the Chiefs hope for a pass rush.
I’m not sure the solution here. The solution seems to be to send more rushers to get to the quarterback which of course means fewer defensive backs in the secondary. Andy Reid has mentioned the in-style thing lately around the league is dropping eight and rushing three but perhaps the Chiefs need to send more than other teams do to affect the quarterback. They have to find a way to pressure the quarterback.
I would put edge rusher as a bigger concern this offseason than cornerback (this is your invitation to start fighting about free agency and the draft in the comments).