One of the questions we answered on this week’s episode of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory:
Who deserves most of the blame for the Chiefs defensive issues? Is it the front office scouting, the coaching or the players?
The truth is, and we all settled on this, they share equal blame.
The 2018 draft has been largely silent as far as the impact felt on this team. While the Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick, you would have liked to see more of an on-field impact from the players that did end up being available for the Chiefs to select. Trading up for Breeland Speaks has not looked encouraging to this point. The best players so far in this class have been Derrick Nnadi and Tremon Smith. Throw in the performance to this point of Pro Bowl Alternate Anthony Hitchens, and the personnel decisions haven’t looked great.
That being said, the coaching staff shares blame as well. Hitchens didn’t look this bad last year. Ron Parker wasn’t demoted (and it cool be merely a short-term decision) until this last week. The players on the team have not been consistently put in a position to succeed. They’ve had 16 weeks to figure things out with that side of the ball and look worse. Where’s the disconnect here? Is the message stale? Is the coaching just bad?
Finally, the players share some blame as well. The effort level by some players, including the highest-paid players on that side of the ball like Justin Houston.
Yes, Hitchens is hesitant, gets sucked inside and eaten up by a block. Yes, Sorensen's tackle attempt is weak.— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) December 26, 2018
But what is Houston doing on this snap? Blocked by a WR, then sheds the tackle...and stops. Why is there this effort level in such a crucial spot on the field? pic.twitter.com/UXpIef4p7n
There’s a lack of accountability and effort from the players. It could be the coaching staff has been tuned out. That would be another reason to blame the coaching. But this team is 11-4. They have the most exciting player in the league lighting the scoreboard up on the other side of the ball. If your defense can’t be motivated by the potential of a Super Bowl, you’ve got a player a problem too.
We laid out all of our opinions on this and more in this week’s episode of the AP Laboratory. If you haven’t listed yet, click here.