This week, the Kansas City Chiefs finalized their 2019 defensive staff.
The process — which new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo described as one that was “long for a good reason” in a conference call with media on Wednesday — resulted in a change at every single coaching position.
Among those on the list of new acquisitions is former New England Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly, who will serve as the Chiefs’ new defensive line coach and run game coordinator.
Given his history, his role as defensive line coach doesn’t come as much of a surprise; he served in that position with the St. Louis Rams under Spagnuolo from 2009 to 2011, and with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 and 2013 before joining the Patriots in 2015.
But his additional responsibility as run game coordinator makes things a bit more interesting.
The Chiefs can use the help with their run defense — considering that they finished 2018 27th in rushing yards per game, 24th in points allowed per game and 26th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA — 12th against the pass, but 32nd against the run.
So we looked into Daly’s most recent run defense numbers with the Patriots to see if there’s something more to be excited about.
Patriots Run Defense 2015-2018
|2015||4.0 (11)||397 (10)||1580 (9)|
|2016||3.9 (8)||368 (3)||1417 (3)|
|2017||4.7 (31)||390 (7)||1836 (20)|
|2018||4.9 (29)||367 (6)||1803 (11)|
While the Patriots 2017 and 2018 run defenses weren’t as successful as they were in 2016 and 2015 — falling more in the middle to upper-middle tier in overall rankings — one thing that remained consistent across all four seasons is the number of rushing touchdowns conceded. New England never allowed more than eight and even ranked first (2016) and second (2017 and 2018) in three of the four seasons.
Statistics aside, two Super Bowl victories in four years — 2016 and 2018 — is definitely something to hang your hat on as a coach.
Also, remember the important role that the Patriots run defense played in their 13-3 Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams. While their ability to stop the run was just one component of their victory, it was a critical one. New England’s defense was able to shut down one of the league’s most prolific run offenses, limiting Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson to just 57 yards and no touchdowns on 17 carries — only 3.4 yards an attempt.
This achievement is noteworthy when you consider how poorly their run defense was performing at the end of the 2018 season.
So, in conclusion, the Patriots turned in solid performances against the run during his four seasons there — and their success was highlighted in the most recent Super Bowl, Daly’s final game as Patriots defensive line coach.